REVIEW: Son of Ereubus (Guardians of Legend, #1)

Son of Ereubus (Guardians of Legend, Book 1) - J. S. Chancellor

After reading Son of Ereubus, I can't help but think of it as kind of a "fluff" read. By "fluff," I mean, it's an easy read and not very intellectually stimulating. Although there are parts of the story that are pretty dark, and there are also some interesting moral questions that the book made me contemplate (which I will talk about in a bit), I personally think that you'll enjoy this book more if you go into it thinking of it as "fluff" rather than taking it too seriously. Similarly, unless you enjoy the occasional "fluff," I don't think that this book will be right for you.

It's also worth pointing out that Son of Ereubus focuses a lot on the romance between Garren and Ariana. I think that there is a time and place for romance in a fantasy book, especially on *my* bookshelf, but if that isn't something that you enjoy then you should be warned right off the bat. Although not much actually *happens* between the two characters, at least not yet, their feelings for each other are the catalyst for most of the events that take place in the story.

All in all, I found the book relatively engaging - a quick and fun read - and I'll probably read the next installment in the series. (Of course, it helps that the series is available in the Kindle's lending library right now!) But, with that said, the book has a lot of flaws that I feel are necessary to mention.

For one, I think that the book centers around too many characters. Son of Ereubus isn't a George R. R. Martin-esque epic fantasy, it's a young-adult fantasy, and in YA fantasy, there is just no need for a laundry list of characters. In my opinion, by having a cast of too many secondary characters, the book doesn't focus enough on the handful of *main* characters, which in turn, makes me less invested in them. Even the secondary characters that *were* well-developed (like Micah) should have gotten more book-time in favor of some of the more snooze-worthy characters (like 90% of the Adorians).

Secondly, there just isn't much depth to be found in Son of Ereubus. Having come from recently reading Tigana, a book in which all of the characters were full of interesting ambiguities, this flaw was especially glaring. The good guys (Ariana, Michael) are SO good, and the bad guys (Aiden, Tadraem) are SO bad. Furthermore, Ariana is a bit of a Mary Sue as well. She can fight, she's beautiful, multiple characters are in love with her, and she can even sing, to boot. Yet, the characterization wasn't the only element in the book that was missing depth. For example, the struggle between the realms of Adoria and Eidolon is an obvious struggle of good versus evil. In Sons of Ereubus, there is so much black and white, but not much gray.

If gray exists, though, you'll most likely find it in Garren, who is the most interesting character, by far. The problem is, Garren does such an incredible 180 as the book progresses, and I'm just not sure it's completely believable. I know that I *wanted* to believe it, since I liked Garren so much, but I'm not sure that my brain followed my heart on that one. Also, my other issue with Garren is... was he actually redeemable? The book posed some interesting questions, or at least led me to pose them to myself, about whether a character who has committed such truly atrocious acts could be redeemed. Since he was raised in such an evil environment, can you really hold it against Garren for turning out the way he did? And when he truly repented, is it fair to keep holding his past sins against him? For me, the jury is still out on that one. In some ways, I think that he got off too easy, and in other ways, I wonder if I'm just being too harsh. Nevertheless, I enjoyed that the book made me ponder about such things.

Now Arianna, on the other hand, didn't really interest me much. This is mainly a problem because I don't understand why Garren would fall so fiercely in love with her, and do a complete 180 because of her. I'm also not sure why she didn't go on the mission at the end of the book, when it was mostly for her sake, and it had already been established that she could clearly defend herself? In this day and age the damsel-in-distress breed of female leads are a bit passe, so the fact that Ariana didn't go on the mission (and that it wasn't even brought up that she could or should?), I think that was a mistake.

My one last nitpick with this book is that it ends really abruptly. Yes, I get that it's the first book in a *series*, but there should have been at least *some* semblance of an ending, surely? I really thought that the ending (or lack thereof) was poorly handled. Couldn't there at least be some sort of pretense that the book wasn't abruptly stopped in the middle of a longer story, so that the publishers would have an excuse to charge readers another $5 for a second book?

So yes, the book certainly had its flaws, but really, none were game-breakers for me. Ultimately, I enjoyed Son of Ereubus, and am interested enough to keep following the series for now. But, if you're more fussy than I am, you may be less forgiving and may want to pass on this one.