THE ELEVENTH AGE is a gripping work of fantasy that combines the eerie prophecies of the modern age with ancient folklore. By placing classic fantasy characters in the present day, author, Luthien T. Kennedy creates a new take on the fantasies of old.
For Elli Foote, life has always been “abnormal.” Raised by an eccentric father alongside two equally interesting adopted siblings, Elli has led a life filled with advanced education encompassing a wide range of subjects, including the mystical. Her life, while abnormal, is predictable, and she is perfectly content “living in the shadows” of her intelligent, attractive siblings. Then, with one mysterious phone call from Tanzania, her entire world changes. Despite her belief that is unremarkable, Elli must face her fate as a member of the magical populations of Earth. But does being special mean more danger than it’s worth?
One of the most notable qualities that contributes to this work’s appeal to a broad audience can be found in the universal themes dealt with by the characters. Though many characters, such as Elli, Ash, and Tierney, are just teenagers, they must grapple with complex issues applicable to mankind as a whole. One such theme is that of the power of hatred. While the world of “The Eleventh Age” is replete with ancient magic, all magical creatures know that “the worst of all evils is hate.” By giving such influence to such a human problem, Kennedy draws attention to the inherently spiteful nature of humans.
Another theme dealt with in this work is that of equality. All of the conflict experienced by the mystical creatures comes from the ancient struggle for equality that, ironically, led to inequality. Kennedy directly addresses this idea that equality is both desirable and unattainable by stating that “there is no such thing, really, and even if one could have it, it wouldn’t please anyone.” These themes of hatred as the root of evil, as well as the search for equality, are more easily understood through the relatable characters presented by Kennedy.
While the world of ” THE ELEVENTH AGE is undoubtedly fantastical, Kennedy creates a realistic feeling as well through vivid description. Such passages as ” thick, steamy air tinged with the pungent stench of green” and “blood soaked the earth, staining her red” appeal to the senses. With such detail, it is easy for the reader to experience even the most outlandish settings.
In order to lend a sense of modern realism to the work, Kennedy also employs use of colloquial language. Words and phrases like “Lucky Devil” and “shut yer gob” create a more informal tone, and help remind the reader that this fantasy takes place in modern-day.
Another literary technique that Kennedy uses to retain a realistic feel is that of deeply developed characters. In THE ELEVENTH AGE even the smallest characters break free from the archetypical molds that often prevail in fiction. Ash stands out as one such character, since she is both beautiful and stylish, as well as intelligent. Elli is also free from archetypes, as she does not conform to the classic protagonist. Instead of always seeming special, she considers herself somehow both abnormal and average simultaneously. This is another example of Kennedy eschewing the expected in order to give the characters more complexity.
Kennedy uses a plethora of universal themes, vivid description, interesting writing style and complex characterization to create a fast-paced, compelling work of fantasy sure to appeal to a wide range of readers.
Reviewed by Claire Colburn for IndieReader.