As a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and the fantasy genre in general, I’ve heard of hobbits, dwarfs, elves, and... of course, humans. But what about the shawl, yurine, siah, kuruu, and rothe? These races are unique only to Shadow Haven: Battle Across the Sands by N.P. Michaels. This book combines the familiar with the unfamiliar to create a world of epic adventure, magic, and hundreds of years of sordid history.
Battle Across the Sands — the first entry of the six-book Sci-Fi/Fantasy series Shadow Haven by Michigan-raised Michaels — takes place in the vast world of Esura where many of the races have heard rumors of the return of the democs, creatures created six hundred years before by wizards of the Suran Order. Now a human wizard named Kami of the Autar Order, his friend Draven, and several others must fight against the unspeakable evils rising in their lands.
The world of Shadow Haven is very creative. Michaels has formed a believable social society with detailed history, prejudice, everything down to elfin card games. The plot of Shadow Haven is well formed as well. Michaels does a good job of initially grabbing your attention.
While the novel pulls you into a world that is unique only to Michaels’ imagination, I felt, however, that as a whole, it fell short of some basic story-telling elements. The characters remain one dimensional throughout, without much distinction in personality between them. And, in general grammar and sentence structure, this book needs serious revision.
Also, after reading the back of the book (and ignoring some of the misspellings), I was excited to see where this epic adventure would take me. But while the plot seemed captivating, this work was full of more unnecessary description, scenes, and characters than actual storyline.
Michaels has such a great imaginative world that I would like to see him continue to develop his writing skill and solidify the story of Shadow Haven in his next five books. Maybe after some good revision and input from a fresh pair of eyes, the series of Shadow Haven will turn out pretty good.