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Jewel of Shaylar (Kingdoms of Chandra, #1)…
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Jewel of Shaylar (Kingdoms of Chandra, #1)

by Laura Eno

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With hints of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, crossed with Game of Thrones perhaps, Laura Eno’s The Jewel of Shaylar introduces readers to a beautifully imagined magical world, where women weave powers for men to wield, and satyrs are just one of the strange creatures yet to be met.

Shaylar itself is a fallen kingdom, its jewel and its magic long lost. The kingdoms of men strive to keep the magic going, while neighboring realms waver between wanting more power for themselves and wanting balance restored. Enter David, via a curious portal from earth, seeking to recover or escape the memories of his lost father. And just maybe, enter David’s father, many years before.

When dreams of superpowers threaten to come true, and when the path ahead is unclear, will David return to the known world or continue into mystery? Two girls love him, one magic binds him, a jewel beckons, and mysterious strangers seem bent to twist his path. Some seriously sensual scenes might suggest this book’s for mature readers only. But it’s beautifully intriguing, set in a wonderfully well-wrought world, and the smooth clean writing offers only a very occasional glitch to slow you down. Highly recommended adult fantasy, my only complaint is I want to read book two!

Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy by the author and I’m just sorry it took me so long to get around to reading and reviewing it. ( )
  SheilaDeeth | Mar 10, 2014 |
Jewel of Shaylar is the first novel in Laura Eno’s new fantasy series, “Kingdoms of Chandra.” I greatly enjoyed reading this book. Eno has once again created a compelling alternate world.

Humans as well as other intelligent but exotic characters inhabit this one. Some of the humans have fallen into Chandra from earth. One of those is a 25-year-old archaeology student, David Alexander, who steps into a cave he suspects will take him there.

He’s on a quest to find his father, who’s been missing for the last seven years. That man, John Alexander, was a prestigious archaeologist who came to believe he was the heir to the throne of Shaylar, one of the five kingdoms of Chandra.

Unfortunately, Shaylar ceased to exist as a kingdom many years ago. The twin sons of the reigning king and queen fought for the right to the throne, killed one another, and left the kingdom in the hands of warlord thanes, much as the collapse of the Roman Empire led to the Dark Ages. The four other kingdoms have increased their power, including the power of their magic, at the expense of Shaylar.

The highborn, including the thanes and the nobility, possess magic. The lowborn don’t. Many of them, chafing under the rule of the thanes, hope for the restoration of the kingdom. All is as it would be on earth, excepting only the magic.

Having survived his fall, David, bearing an amulet his father gave him, soon acquires followers, human and otherwise, in his journey to the truth. The amulet is the ancient symbol of Shaylar and possesses magical powers, including the power to translate the languages his followers speak into present-day English. (Google, among others, seems to possess that power in the here and now.)

I especially enjoyed the followers, each of them an outcast, each of them with a unique and sympathetic back story, each of them capable of selflessness to an astonishing degree.

I’m also fond of Eno’s writing: “The voice had a lyrical quality, reminding David of a musical score in a movie filled with fear.”

Is David an Alice? Consider this: “David followed her in silence, afraid he’d just stepped through the looking glass and fallen into the rabbit hole.” Is Chandra an Oz? For a long period David’s group consists of three befuddled male creatures and one strong female.

Chandra, though, isn’t Wonderland or Oz. It’s far more interesting. I’ll gladly return to it as soon as Laura Eno publishes her second book in this saga. ( )
  RonFritsch | Apr 29, 2013 |
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