Verdict: LOOKING FOR DEI is a promising and entertaining introduction to a well-thought-out and intriguing new fantasy world.
Nara is a young girl living in the quiet rural backwater of Dimmitt, with her adopted father Bylo and her best friend Mykel. But Nara has magical powers beyond those her world is accustomed to, and her father’s efforts to keep them secret can’t be sustained forever. When her nature – and Mykel’s – are inadvertently revealed, the three must flee their home and find help elsewhere. A mysterious old woman offers training and guidance, but can they learn fast enough to deal with the threats facing them – including Nara’s only equal in the world?
LOOKING FOR DEI is an entertaining fantasy set in a world with its own system of magic, religion, and society -the world-building here is clear and consistent, using old tropes but giving them new color and new life. The context is revealed naturally, in conversations and actions, rather than tedious explication, and the magical/religious system makes reasonable sense on its own terms. The story shifts perspective in a way that, without being confusing, allows us to see the characters, both heroic and villainous, from their own point of view, and to understand their motivations, which make complete sense given each character’s background and personality. There’s no boring motiveless malignancy here – the villains are firrmly convinced that they’re behaving in perfectly sensible, rational. justified ways, and from their perspectives, they are.
The good characters are a bit flatter in tone – Nara and Mykel, in particular, while quite likeable, are a bit too perfectly, stainlessly good to be as interesting or as complex as they ought to be. The plot spends a great deal of time on buildup and training, which serves the purpose of revealing more about the magic of the world and allowing the reader to explore its intriguing little details, but doesn’t further the action much. The final confrontation, too, is perhaps a bit too quick for all the effort devoted to setting it up. However, the book does set the stage very well for what promises to be an even more energetic and exciting sequel, with a rival who will challenge our heroes to their limits. There are enough tantalizing threads left to promise more stories to come, and what’s already been written is more than enough to make those threads worth following.
LOOKING FOR DEI is a promising introduction to a well-thought-out and intriguing new fantasy world.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader