“And thence from Athens turn away our eyes
To seek new friends and stranger companies.” ― William Shakespeare
Author: John Goode
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Pages/Word Count: 244 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: Kane used to be a normal boy with normal worries. Now he fights alongside his boyfriend, Hawk, and an unlikely group of allies as they attempt to reclaim Hawk’s throne and save the Nine Realms. With time running out, Hawk decides to raise an army against the evil shapeshifter, Puck, and his army of The Dark. The adventurers split up in search of a force that will join their cause and help restore order to the Nine Realms.
New allies aren’t as easy to find as they hoped. Kane, Hawk, and their friends face unforeseen danger as centuries-old grudges threaten their quest. Nothing is what they thought it was, and Kane and Hawk must find the truth in time to defend against Puck’s encroaching army. But the truth about who their true foe is will change everything.
Review: Sometimes the best word I can come up with to describe a book is fun. That’s what The Unseen Tempest is, a cracking good time wandering through a world and a story that borrows from the likes of Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, and even some biblical canon, just to do a little name dropping, then weaves it all together into an original story that has delivered two young heroes—one a fairy prince, the other a typical teenage boy who, as it turns out, is anything but—to a land filled with magic and characters that run the gamut from dastardly to dashing.
Readers follow the road of yellow bricks straight down the rabbit hole and into danger in John Goode and J.G. Morgan’s collaborative adventure, act three of the Lords of Arcadia series. The flesh and bone characters work with and against the impossible, characters that are impossibly animated and have a personality and presence that make it easy to forget they shouldn’t exist. There is so much imagination in this book, and the series, that it’s almost as much fun to try and animate every scene in your head as it is to read the words on the page. This series is following all the rules, unspoken, unwritten or otherwise, of great fantasy: heroes on a noble quest in a fantastical world, who are only as strong as their allies and whose courage stems from the desire to do what’s right rather than to do what’s easy.
Narrated in parts by the more than just a little snarky guy who followed Hawk to the Nine Realms, Kane is poised to discover he holds far more power than any human should have a right to. Shifting to the third person to follow the supporting cast and the action they meet in their epic task to stop a sinister plot that’s been put in motion and will affect every one of the realms, gives the reader the advantage of seeing each facet of the intrigue and danger, and gives the book its sense of the play-within-a-play. Rather than a jarring transition, the point of view shifts keep things moving along fast and furious, as each scene change brings on something new for the reader to get caught up in. The Unseen Tempest is not only funny but is a little bit heartbreaking, a little bit breathtaking, and is also touching in a way that only new love, one that’s reinforced by a mystical connection, could possibly be.
King Oberon, Queen Titania, the irascible and devious Puck, along with clockwork beings, sentient gems, a white rabbit operative, a grieving assassin, and beings able to manipulate reality are a few of the characters tossed together in a literary soup that’s a joy to feast on. The authors have written a book that is part fantasy adventure and part cautionary tale of the inherent traps and pitfalls of religious fervor and the lust for power. The book and the series may borrow from different canon, but this is a one-hundred-percent original that left me cheering our heroes on and hoping, by the end, that I won’t have to wait too long for Act Four in this enthusiastically recommendable chapter play.