Kelfor, The Orthomancers ISBN: 0788469756539, a sci-fi fantasy e-book written, copyright and published by Gillian Andrews.

The story’s protagonist is Remeny, a 13-year-old girl who is a member of the planet’s original inhabitants, the Inmuri. She must work along with her mother daily at a menial and very dangerous task of cleaning the supports of the huge specially constructed dome structures that cover the cities on this planet. The structures are necessary because the planet’s invaders, the Rath, could not abide its intense heat generated by its two suns. Some of the Inmuri, the Scoriates, have been genetically altered by the rulers so as to be completely at their service and are used as brutal guards of the workers in the Domes, highly productive mines, or in the fields. Remeny and her mother formerly were in much better circumstances because her father, although of the conquered race, had a particular ability highly prized by the Rath and lost his position and his life when he acted to save co-workers and caused the Rath a huge loss. The Raths do not care how many Inmuri are sacrificed even though the supply is dwindling fast and Remeny’s mother speaks with the last of the Imuri’s leaders and decide it is time to attempt to find the long lost Kelfor which is the place from which the Imuri can launch a new life. The following day her mother slips to her death from high in the dome. Remeny, now as a girl without any family, is imprisoned to be used to produce more Scoriates. She is rescued and the story unfolds as she discovers she is the last of the all-powerful orthomancers who is the only one who can save the colony providing they can find Kelfor and of their journey to attempt to discover this place so she can provide her service of saving the race. The journey is long and treacherous moving through huge flooding at Albalors Rift, the barren Plains of Teygar, the Great Chasm, Karstik Pass and Karstik Desert which is even drier and hotter than the Plains, the Rift of the Timeworn and other lesser obstructions before reaching Kelfor. And here at Kelfor is an even greater surprise with respect to the Inmuri race itself and throughout the journey, the fleeing group are followed, and occasionally caught by the Scoriate soldiers and constantly under the threat of a monster created mistakenly by the Raths.

The author has provided a well-written fantasy sci-fi thriller with enough action and suspense to adequately appeal to the younger level of YA readers.

4* Suspenseful fantasy sci-fi thriller no doubt of interest to younger level YA readers.

The Labyrinth Wall

The Labyrinth Wall ISBN: 9780991531219, Obsidian Series – Book 1, Luminous Word Press, a fantasy e-book by Emilyann Girdner.

The protagonist is Ariana, a product of the ‘creators’ who bring seemingly large numbers of individuals to life. They are brought forth, given a basic supply of food and water and their choice of weapons and released into a surrounding labyrinthine area where they toil to collect obsidian for which they are paid with minimal supplies when brought to the collector/guards. Their compensation always is inadequate, so most kill each other in fighting literally to survive. The reigning powers could not care less, for they just create more. Ariana was created two years ago but with the development of an older teen and has been able to avoid killing because of adroit management and a seemingly well-developed ability to attain the necessities and avoid confrontations. The story progresses as she encounters one who frequently has killed along with others who are part of a group formed to work collectively so as to lessen/eliminate the need and this strange collection of individuals attempt to find a way out of their all-encompassing maze after encountering a stranger from ‘outside’. The tale presents closure to the action but also most appropriately provides entré to the next book.

The author has set forth a young adult fantasy that would appear to be more suitable for the younger portion of this scale for several reasons; most sentences are short, the verbalization seems more appropriate to this level, the characters are inconsistent in thought and action patterns and the activity level is sufficient to overcome the uneven pattern of presentation. A plus is that a glossary is provided at the end which a prospective reader would find helpful to peruse before starting the story.

3*    4* Interestingly devised plot; 3* flawed presentation as described.