“Modwyn’s lips thinned in a small, brief smile. “The only thing I have learned in my long years is that I have not learned enough. I have always been wise enough to know that I am not as wise I would like to be.”” – Pg. 134, The Realms Thereunder
“A homeless man is stalked by a pale, wraithlike creature with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth. Maimed animals and a host of suicides cluster around a mountain in Scotland,” was the beginning of the back of the book, but in truth only a few pages seem to be dedicated to Scotland. This is, after all, book one and so those few pages probably set the stage for a much bigger battle. It’s really the story of Freya and Daniel’s abduction as children set in individual stories with it’s own chapters colliding with the present as they struggle as adults to identify with the world around them.
Ross Lawhead did a fantastic job in showing the effects of battle in the children as adults. After Daniel and Freya returned to the world above, Freya suffers from OCD and Daniel is homeless. Lawhead did a nice job when he added the old language of the Britons to make the world thereunder real. Freya and Daniel saved the realm from the wraithlike creatures and their leader Gad as children, but in truth Freya did not slay the leader as she should have and has kept that secret from the rest of them. Even as I neared the end of the book Freya almost tells Daniel and the others the truth, but stops as an old friend reemerges as an officer.
When Freya was saved by a professor-tutor, we applaud until we discover he is the enemy. The confusion came when all of a sudden Freya is married to him and has a child by him. I kept going back in chapters to find out when this happened. There was no transition. It was only when her child aged rather quickly that you begin to think something isn’t right. Lawhead should have had some transition so it wouldn’t disrupt my reading experience.
Other than that problem, the book was wonderfully and uniquely done with chapters in chapters and two major story threads happening at once for the climatic end; the end that leads to book two.
Disclaimer posted in compliance with FAA regulations: In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.