Wednesday 8 July 2015

Zarkora, The Fyrelit Tragedy

Zarkora, The Fyrelit Tragedy by Nicholas and Alison Lochel (Lothian/Hachette)
PB RRP $16.99 Ebook: $9.99
ISBN: 9780734416421

Reviewed by Hilary Smillie

The first book in a 4-part series, Zarkora, The Firelit Tragedy, is set in a fantasy world within which is the Kingdom of Delmor. Here live three orphaned farm children, living independent lives since the parents were stolen from them, their father being murdered by a shadowy, cloaked figure, Versalos, and their mother snatched away by him, leaving no trace. The two boys, teenagers Neleik Fyrelit and Ervine, have vowed to protect their small sister Skye from all harm and danger, especially from Versalos. 

However, while Neleik is on the river defending his title as winner of the storm-boarding Crystal Cup competition, he sees Skye overshadowed by Versalos, plucked into his voluminous cape and carried away.

Thus begins the quest to rescue Skye despite the challenge of a dangerous journey into the unknown.

Brisbane authors and siblings, the Lochels first created the Zarkora series seven years ago as a self-published work and successfully sold 7,000 copies of the first two books by releasing them into several bookshops and promoting their work relentlessly. Now their series will reach a far wider market with the benefit of a full marketing and publicity campaign by Hachette which has also given the work a respectful edit.
Without a doubt, a quest within the popular fantasy genre is a favourite among young teenagers and older primary school readers. Although I found the writing in parts to be somewhat laboured and the dialogue did not always progress the story, the characters are well rounded and the action scenes display great imagination. On occasion, the attention to detail wavers, e.g. surely the horses required more than a pat at the end of the gruelling ride? (No sign of a rub-down/nosebag to assure animal-lovers.) However, the obstacles placed in the path of the questers and the way they are handled demonstrate the authors' outstanding creativity and provide a very satisfying and exciting storyline for fantasy readers.

This first book in the Zarkora series is sure to whet the appetite for the subsequent novels and attract a wide readership.

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