"The War of Stardeon" is the fourth book in the five book series, "The Bowl of Souls" by author Trevor H. Cooley. This Kindle e-book was a 881 Kb download (approx. 444 printed pages) and sold for $3.99 at the time of writing this review.
Spoilers (general theme)
The battle academy has been besieged by hordes of orcs, goblins, trolls etc. as they bide their time awaiting the mutant forces of Ewzad Vriil before applying the killing blow. Justin and his group of bonded, along with an assortment of forces made up of some army personnel, bonding wizards and mages must make an attempt to break the stranglehold the forces of evil have on this most venerated of institutions and rescue those trapped within its wall.
Some thoughts on "The War of Stardeon"...
1.a) by far the best book of the four so far in this series. The prose was better and I felt there was an overall improvement in the style of writing that was easily noticeable.
1.b) also, I liked the relationship of Justin and his bonded allies better in this 4th novel than in any previous book. There seems to be a more maturity of the dialogue in this book that was missing in the previous tales.
2.) character development... overall improved in this book, with none better than Ewzad Vriil, the wonderful psychotic madman in the role of the main villain. His character was without a doubt the most memorable of the huge cast found in this fourth novel. Also equally well done was his subservient Queen Elisa, who is not quite as much under his thumb as she would lead him to believe.
3.) the scene with Antyni and Qyxal... a moment of exquisite beauty as Antyni preforms a touching funeral ceremony for her Elqala (Qyxal).
4.) this was one of those tales that had some faults (see Cons below) but the story was exciting and had an easy readibitlity. I found myself eager to return to reading it whenever I had a few idle moments.
5.) maps... two detailed maps of the area giving the reader a sense of direction, distance between sites and topography.
1.) Justin, older and more mature with the passing of time has become less annoying than in previous books. But he is still a tad too good, too understanding of everyone's point of view and rarely, if ever angers or does anything rash... maybe just a little too unrealistic.
2.) Jhonate and Vannya the two women in Justin's life... and just when I thought that this was going to turn into a great tale without any Young Adult squabbling. Two important characters who turn into jealous school girls fighting over their man, while the civilized world is about to crumble around them.
3.) a great tale, until the overdone end battle where the good guys took very little damage compared to the evil forces. An ending bordering the realm of superhero stuff. A case where a little less might have been much better.
4.) unfortunately Ewzad Vriil just seemed to disappear in the latter third of the novel.
5.) cover art... in a word, ugly! If you could pick an image to break the magic of a great story and an extraordinary villain, this would be found at the top of the list. For the author to use his brother as the evil Vriil just destroyed the image of all that I'd envisioned this character to be. Trevor, what were you thinking?
Despite my Cons, I thought that this book showed major advancements in almost all departments, but none more so than in the area of story-telling and writing skills .
A solid 4 Stars.