Monday, July 28, 2014

Tentyrian Legacy review

    I've been too preoccupied with putting the finishing touches on my fourth manuscript, Cthulhu Apocalypse: With Strange Aeons, to update my site. So, now that I have some free time, I've decided to review something I really liked.  

    Tentyrian Legacy is one of the more enjoyable books I've read in months and is a stand-out for 2014's supernatural reading list. It's a book I'm going to go on forums to recommend and talk about with my fellow posters.

    That's how much I like it.

    Indeed, it's interesting, I usually plow through books in a single day but I had to mull through the Tentyrian Legacy over the course of a few weeks because I wanted to savor the book. It's not J.R.R Tolkien or even Interview with a Vampire but it's in the general vicinity of the latter. Anne Rice, if Anne Rice, was a little more Young Adult friendly.

    Tentyrian Legacy is a novel about two distinct time periods colliding. The first is the lifespan of schizophrenic teenager Arianna Parker and the second is the vampire covens ruling the ancient Egyptian city of Tentyris. How these two groups coincide does not become apparent for nearly half the book but when they do, the plot becomes a tale of revenge and redemption spanning two thousand years.

    I don't want to gush over the book for the entire review but since I spend a lot of time tearing other books down, I should take the time to say what a book does right when it happens. Arianna is an incredibly likable character. Not since Sookie Stackhouse have I managed to bond with a character so completely.

    I sympathized with Arianna's isolation, her distance from other people, and her helplessness in the face of a loveless family. Watching her grow out of this was entertaining even before the introduction of the vampirism element.

    The Tentyrians are also a great bunch of "new" vampires. They have some small similarity to Anne Rice's Akasha but are distinctly their own. Elise Walters doesn't ape Stoker's or Rice's undead but creates her own rules. There are born vampires, turned vampires, human servants,  those with special powers, and families all forming a complex hierarchy based on the Greek Zodiac. Watching how their society functions and disintegrates is a fascinating read.

    One of the things I hate about recent vampire fiction is the derivative nature of most stories. Everyone needs to add something to their fiction. It doesn't need to be much, but you have to at least try. Elise Walters creates vampires I haven't seen before. That, alone, is deserving of kudos. The world-building is something she's put a lot of effort into and I found the societal structure of the undead to be believable. There's even an artistic genealogical map at the beginning of the book.

    There's some elements which hardcore vampire fans might question. The Tentyrians begin as a collection of almost too-good-to-be-true immortals. They only feed from their willing worshipers, maintain a strict moral code, have technology higher than regular mortals, and are seemingly perfect.

    Elise Walters nicely subverts this first impression and illustrates the dark side of their society. While I tend to prefer my vampires as evil monsters, tragic at best, this is one of those rare occasions I make an exception. There's more than enough evil later on, anyway.

    The supporting cast in Tentyrian Legacy is excellent. We get to meet a wide variety of characters, good and evil, who all have expansive backstories as well as memorable personalities. I especially liked the characters of Raad and Laura. Sadly, I wasn't too fond of love-interest Maximos. Millionaire vampire playboy with a heart of gold is something I've seen many times before. Given the originality of heroine Arianna, I felt Else Walters could have done better. I bought the romance but not until after cheering her attempts to resist his controlling personality.

     The villains of Tentyrian Legacy are an eccentric cast of evil-doers with grandiose plans a little too similar to the aforementioned Akasha but which they go about in a far more subtle manner. I don't think their genocidal plans for humanity were necessary, really, because they're delightfully wicked without such a over-the-top goal. I love it when vampires play puppeteer and have big screwed up family dynamics.

     In conclusion, if you hadn't picked it up from my thoroughly gushing review, I recommend anyone who enjoys vampire fiction to purchase this. How much do I like this book? I got a free copy from a friend but I chose to buy the Kindle version anyway and after finishing it, am purchasing the hardcover copy.


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