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Book Review – Final Passage Book 3 in The Prisoner and the Sun Series

Final Passage – Book 3 in The Prisoner and the Sun Series; the Epic Series Conclusion!

Rating: 4.5 of 5
Author: Brad Magnarella
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Years after so many had sacrificed so much to unite the Fythe and Garrott, Iliff finds life with Skye and Troll’s son Tradd to be more than he would have imagined possible.  However as the years march forward, it becomes clear to Iliff that Skye is aging and soon she too will join the fallen who have gone before her and then is no way to stop it.  Or is there?  The Sun – his journey to the Sun, which has been distracted to so many times may be the answer.  Convinced this is the only chance to save Skye as well as her fallen people, together the search the lads to find the path.  But their travelings lead them unfulfilled.  Both their physical journeys and reaching out to places with their awareness provide no clue until an aged traitor returns with the answer.  But how can they journey to The Far Place where the fallen go, if they themselves have not fallen?

Brad Magnarella’s Final Passage is the Third and final book in the Prisoner and the Sun Trilogy.  From the first book’s opening pages I was immediately hooked into this unique fantasy world.  What was this journey to the Sun?  What did it mean?  Who was the old man Salvatore?  If the journey to the Sun was so impossible yet fulfilling, how and why had he ever come back to the prison?  And, for that matter, what was the prison?  So many questions.  Questions that drove my curiosity to continue reading and follow Illif’s quest.  I will admit I feared reading the final chapters.  Two concerns came to mind – the first was what if the author punted and I never got answers to these questions, the second was worse yet, what if the answers were there but were not worth the journey? Well, they answers are there and to me I was very satisfied when I finished the final pages.

The Prinsoner and the Sun is a unique series with wonderfully unique and complex characters.  This is one series, I wholeheartedly enjoyed.

Note: A complimentary copy of this work was provided in return for an honest review.

Book Review – Lights and Shadows

Lights and Shadows – Book 2 in “The Prisoner and the Sun” Series

Rating: 4.5 of 5
Author: Brad Magnarella
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Trapped for months on his swampland island, Iliff knows he must leave or die.  But where to go?  As he considers his fate, Iliff notices a creatures hump that emerges and submerges in the surrounding  water. Hoping it to be some type of sign, Iliff follows the creature eventually encountering the Fythe – a tribe that have been exiled to the forest after having lost a battle to their bitter enemies – the Garott.  Taken in by the Fythe King, Iliff pledges to protect the Fythe and he offers to use his finely honed stone and mortar skills from his years in prison to build a protective wall around their community.  But as the wall grows taller, wider, and stronger over the years, Iliff wonders if he is keeping the Garott out or trapping his people and himself in yet another prison.

Brad Magnarella’s “Light and Shadows” picks up where book one – The Prisoner and the Sun – left off and takes readers back into this fascinating fantasy world as well as inside the mind of Iliff who continues to flounder on his journey to the Sun.  What I enjoyed most about this chapter in the story was Iliff’s inner struggles questioning his own motivations.  Iliff finds ways to rationalize his decisions and behaviors as a way to protect others when in fact they may be more self serving than he would like to admit. The walls he creates are both physical and emotional and one can’t help but wonder if in the quest to protect one’s self from pain both physical and emotional, the cost of losing life’s joys and personal freedom is too high.

This second book starts a little slower than the first, but the speed picks up considerably about a quarter of the way into the story and the climax is perfectly paced leading the door open to the concluding book three.  I remain extremely curious where the finale will take Iliff and what the Journey to the Sun will eventually reveal.  Bring on the final chapter!

Note: A Complimentary copy of this novel was provided in return for a review.

Book Review – Escape: The Prisoner and the Sun Book #1

Escape (The Prisoner and the Sun Book #1) – Could Not Put It Down!!

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Author: Brad Magnarella
Format: Kindle

With trowel in hand, Iliff labored daily in his underground prison to repair the ever increasing fissures forming on the prison walls  Not knowing any other existence than the confines he lived within, a strange old man approaches him and tells him the unbelievable – that there is life beyond the walls.  Not only that, there is something called a sun.  Journey to the sun – the old man tells him.  It is life’s true quest.  At first, Iliff thinks the old man is crazy, but the truth of the man’s words slowly seep into Iliff’s brain.  If there are walls, there must be something beyond the walls – it only makes sense.  But is it worth risking everything and all you know to leave especially if there is no way to come back?

“Escape – The Prisoner and the Sun Book #1”, by Brad Magnarella, is a one of the best books I’ve read this year.  I really enjoyed this book and honestly could not put it down.  I suppose if falls in the fantasy genre with some magic, trolls, and talking stags.  But these are not what anchor the story.  It is Iliff and his journey to find what life really is – not the prison he was confined to.  Is Iliffs journey an allegory for life? What of his relationship with Troll – what does it represent?  Will he reach the sun and what significance is it?  If he returns to his prison and tries to convince others of the outside world, will they look upon him as they did with the old man?  All these questions and more were eating at me as I devoured the pages wanting to know the answers.  As I read Escape, I was reminded of “The Allegory of the Cave” in Plato’s classic – The Republic.  Would Iliff suffer a similar fate?  As I neared the end of the book, my excitement built but so did my dismay as it would soon be over.

So why only 4.5 stars and not 5?  Because this is only book one in a trilogy.  I never did get my answers from the end of book one so hooray, more for me to enjoy!  But would it meet my expectations and resolve all these questions satisfactorily?  If yes, this is easily 5 stars, if not still a good solid 4 stars.  Given the strength of book one, I’m optimistic.  At $0.99 on Kindle this is one heck of a deal.  Definitely one of my favorites this year.