- This was The Eternal Flame. Like I said, the outline of this story is one we’re more than likely familiar with, but the heart of the book manages to keep everything fresh and new. I really don’t want to say a lot about the plot for fear of dropping spoilers, because I’m guessing this is a series that most of you may not be familiar with. I will say that in the proud tradition of Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Prydain and other classic fantasy works, The Great Tree of Avalon revolves around the transformation of ordinary individuals into extraordinary heroes, complete with vivid, descriptive scenery, detailed backstory, a lush ensemble of characters, and insightful moral truths. Yes, this series is entertaining, but it is so much more than just that – it’s not forgetful, it’s not superficial, it doesn’t leave you feeling strangely empty...it has *substance*.
Setting/Imagery: There’s really nothing else I can say that I haven’t spouted off already. In a nutshell, the world of Avalon is made of up one great tree: the roots of the tree make up the seven realms, the bark of the tree are the mountains and valleys, and the tips of the branches hold the stars. So it is therefore very possible (and indeed, the goal of the main character) to climb to the stars. As always, careful attention was given to detail!
- Fantasy creatures? Dragons, faeries, elves, dwarves, gnomes, unicorns, giant eagles, dragons, etc. This series has them all! A+
- Magic? It’s there, but I was surprised with how little it played a part in the story, considering this is supposed to be a spinoff series of the Lost Years of Merlin…you know, only the greatest wizard EVER. B
- Awesome villain[s]? Kulwych and Rhita Gawr are pretty good villains for an intermediate series. I was happy. I could have done with a little more backstory on Rhita Gawr—he never seemed completely explained. B+/A-
- Unforgettable world/realm? A+!!
- Battle scenes?!?! Every good fantasy series needs battle scenes, and while the Battle of Avalon wasn’t Minias Tirinth, it was pretty decent! Good action, good fight scenes—I was very pleased. A
Amelialand Rating (I’ll explain the story behind Amelialand later)
- Language: Much less language than Child of the Dark Prophecy, and even then it was always PG-level stuff.
- Sex: no sex at all—that always makes me happy! PG
- Romance: the Tamwyn-Elli romance is one of my new favorites! Totally sweet couple-very good dialogue, but I would have liked a little more development. They spend so long apart, you wish they’d have some time together!
- Violence – nothing out of the ordinary for intermediate-level fantasy. I’d give it a PG-13
Final Rating: 5/5.