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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Discovering the Legend of Damiano's Disk

My latest hunt was long and harsh.

After partially reading several different ebooks, and preliminarily reviewing a work not yet published (I'll tell you about that one as soon as the author publishes), I finally found the next great work for review.

At last!

This latest discovery was Tales of Aria: The Legend of Damiano's Disk, a fantasy written by Carl Russ, III.

Let's begin with the exceptional cover art.

image copyright Bryan Golden
Cover art by Bryan Golden, whose gallery
I spent way too much time perusing!
What made this cover so spectacular was that I was able to glean not only the general world and focus of the novel, but also a few additional points, due to the chosen art style:

  • This ebook would not stand alone. If the manga styled cover was any indication of what we'd find inside, this work would end with a clear lead into the next installment.
  • The world would break the standard rules of environment, producing a vivid image in the reader's mind that differs from the norm.
I wasn't disappointed. Both of these theories were proven correct.

So what's it about?

The land of Aria was overrun with vicious creatures. It was a sudden occurrence, and no one could explain where these beasts came from, or even how they came to be. Homesteads were overrun, and entire families were destroyed. The King's knights were losing the battle to protect the people from these monstrosities.

But then, seemingly from out of nowhere, the "Knowms" showed up, offering their protection to the cities of Aria... and they succeeded where the knights failed. Most people flocked to the cities, where they'd be safe behind guarded walls, but some stayed behind, where life was grueling and dangerous.

Lucas was one of them. This life became normal for him, and he had no wish to leave his rural home... but then he came upon a dying man, whose last wish was that Lucas deliver an object for him. Lucas accepted, and soon discovered that fulfilling this dying man's wish would change his life forever.

Sounds great, right?

It was.

The story flowed beautifully, and the scenery was vivid. I even had a few Ah ha! moments as I put pieces together, making sense of the various mysteries within.

And true to my cover art theory, Carl Russ III gave me something different

Russ created a realm between the living world and whatever it is that waits for us in the beyond. It was called, quite simply, the In Between. It's a realm lacking in color, though not lacking in beauty, and reminded me of something that could be found in some of the more visually appealing anime films. Color could enter the In Between, but nothing of the In Between held anything beyond what you'd see in a penciled sketch. The sharp contrast between the In Between and the world of Aria was striking. 

My imagination soared.

In this fantasy novel, magic follows specific rules having to do with a person's elemental center. A person is born with an affinity for some degree of fire, ice, light, or shadow, and can receive benefits in accordance with that affinity. There are also levels of mastery involved. This makes it quite easy for readers to imagine themselves in this world, giving themselves their favored form of magic.

Do ya feel lucky, punk? Huh? Do ya?

Yeah... I kinda did that...

You can certainly see why I'm reviewing this one. It sent my imagination free, and gave me a full world to play with.

So why isn't it a Treasured Tome, then?

Well, the characters were fleshed out very well, and it was obvious that a great deal of time and attention was spent on them. I really liked every single one of them.

But I didn't love them. 

I enjoyed traveling Aria with the characters, and I was very eager to find out what would happen to them, but I didn't laugh, I didn't cry, and I didn't become enraged if someone distracted me while on this adventure.

I thought long and hard about that, because it seemed like I should have felt this way. This ebook was brilliantly crafted. After banging my head against the wall a few times, hoping to rattle my brain enough to shake a reason free, I finally found one:

I think it came down to the dialogue. 

Some words spoken by the cast of characters felt clunky and forced, which caused the story to lose some of its emotional impact.

But the novel was still a great one, and status as a Treasured Tome was really only a hair's breadth away. Russ is writing a sequel, and I'm looking forward to it.

Tales of Aria: The Legend of Damiano's Disk is definitely worth reading. 

Unfortunately, it's not available at the Nook store, but you can download it at Smashwords and Kindle! Read it! It really is a fun ebook.

Cover image copyright Bryan Golden

And besides, who doesn't want to imagine themselves flinging magical orbs at nasty beasties?


  1. I read this book also, and I'm so grateful to you for highlighting it. Hopefully more people will become fans so we can all rave about the sequel! Lol


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