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Book Review: Battle Scarred by Kylen Pattermann

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Brave, skilled, but badly beaten and unconscious, Dera awakens in a deep wood. Severe blows to his head and body have left him barely alive – dazed with no memory of whom he is, where he is, or where he is from. After awakening then falling unconscious several times, the young man musters enough courage and strength to stand and stumble forward. At the forest's edge, he collapses again, but not until a young maiden has seen him.

In Battle Scarred, the young woman and her father, Mela and Fra, carry the injured Dera to their humble farm home in West Maytheia to begin a long period of recovery. Since he has almost no memory, he identifies with Mela and Fra, telling himself these two humans might as well be family.

While recovering his strength, Dera spends many hours with beautiful Mela. The two become infatuated with each other. Dera regains his muscular strength by helping Fra work his farm.

Dera learns of a treacherous civil war playing out between East and West Maytheia, which has raged for years. As word spreads of an impending attack from the East, the inhabitants of West Maytheia are aware of their weak position. Dera is conscripted into the West's army, deeply troubled by leaving beautiful Mela, and the threat the army will burn Fra's farm if he refuses to enlist.

The West's army knows it will be defeated unless it receives help from a large number of elves who dwell high in the trees along the western coast of Maytheia. As an emissary to plead with the elven queen and king for support, Dera is sent to Maytheia. His journey forces him to cross the Ceies Mountains where his is captured by dwarfs. Their kingdom is an intricate series of perfectly formed, rectangular tunnels inside the Ceies Mountains. The dwarfs do not harm Dera but take him prisoner. They have pledged to prevent all wars with humans.

As Battle Scarred continues, with cunning, Dera eventually escapes the dwarfs and arrives at the kingdom of the elves. These peaceful creatures live high above the dense forest floor in the canopy of trees where they have interwoven gigantic limbs and branches to support their walkways and buildings. The elves reach the ground via elaborate steps carved inside huge forest trees.

At first the king and queen refuse to support any war effort until Dera convinces them that war could eventually ruin their society and peaceful way of life. When Dera helps expose a traitor among them, the rulers agree to assist in ending the civil war. They will send several hundred elves to fight on the side of West Maytheia.

Dera returns to the army and prepares for battle. He fights courageously with a weapon given to him by Fra. The sword had belonged to Fra's son who died in a previous battle. Although wounded, Dera fights daringly.

His most pernicious battle in Battle Scarred is with an Easterner. After much parrying, both Dera and the Easterner have lost their helmets. Dera recognizes his opponent as one of his three evil brothers who had beaten him and left him for dead in the first pages of the story. Practically insane now with anger and hatred, Dera slays his brother. But before expiring, the evil brother has written a warning on the ground in his draining life's blood that Dera is still alive.

The story ends with the inevitable conclusion that Battle Scarred is the first in a sequel of books. Surely the Eastern brothers will find their dead kin's warning and plan treachery to kill Dera. The author, Kylen Pattermann, notes that this epic will be continued in War Wounds.

Battle Scarred is an extremely exciting and well written story from its Prologue until the very last word. The narration of sword fights and battles can be followed easily by any reader.

The description of the squared-off tunnels with perfectly smooth surfaces inside the rocky Ceies Mountains not only highlights the dwarfs' skills as masons, but highlights the descriptive ability of young author, Kylen Pattermann.

Equally imaginable is Pattermann's description of the elven empire sitting high atop the forest canopy. It is fascinating trying to picture ancient trees so large and so dense at the top, that their branches can be woven into flat surfaces not only capable of supporting the weight of a single person but an entire organized population of happy elves.

What is most mesmerizing is Dera's ability as a swordsman and as an archer. Because he has lost his memory, he is just as puzzled as the other book characters to discover the depth of his physical prowess. Unable to remember how he learned his skills, he is as astounded as the reader when he is first forced to use them. His sword in hand seems to imbue Dera with the ability to use it deftly, almost miraculously. When asked how he learned his tricks, he simply replies, "My father taught me … he was a medic."

I would recommend this book to anyone seeking an adventure story; where romance, courage, and honor — where myths about dwarves and elves — come magically to life. If you enjoyed the Harry Potter stories and the Lord of the Rings series, Battle Scarred will keep you on edge awaiting Kyleen Pattermann's next book: War Wounds.

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