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KARIK’S FIRST BATTLE

By Evan Oliver

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IR Rating:
5.0
In a short span of less than 90 pages, Evan Oliver’s KARIK’S FIRST BATTLE succeeds in creating a comprehensive fantasy world led by a worthy hero supported by a diverse cast of well-rounded characters; the book’s only flaw is that it ends too soon.
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In Evan Oliver’s fantasy novella KARIK’S FIRST BATTLE, a small village is struggling to harvest enough food for all its residents for the long, harsh winter to come. The townspeople decide they’ll ask five people to volunteer to leave the village for one year so that the others may survive. Young Karik, who recently lost his brother to malnutrition and illness, has grown curious about the legends claiming that their ancestors traveled from a land across the treacherous sea to settle in the place they now called home, and he humbly volunteers, alongside his close friend, Igil, and three others, to exile himself with a dual goal: save the villagers from starvation by sacrificing himself and discern a method of crossing the perilous Black Isles in search of the land from whence his ancestors came. After much arguing about where to go, the group travels north and stumbles upon a strange village that has flourished despite the land’s disadvantageous conditions. Karik soon discovers the leader of the village is keeping a dangerous secret: the village is so successful because he has made a deal with a dragon. Karik knows the deal can’t stay sweet forever, and he tasks himself and his newfound friends with resolving the issue in spite of the potential fatal risks.

Karik’s deeds build upon his thoughts to reveal his nature as a courageous, humble person who thinks things through before making an important decision. The immediate task at hand becomes his focus, as he cares deeply about the commoners of the villages in his land, even the strangers, but his curiosities about the world beyond the Black Isles is never far from his thoughts. His friends may question his decisions, such as Revik, whose stubbornness bends but does not break when he and Karik disagree on whether to travel north or to the capitol where the king may desire them as warriors, but Karik’s tempered words and kind disposition help him convince the others his logical approach to decision-making is best.

In the short span of less than 90 pages, Evan Oliver has constructed and established a striking, memorable world populated by a diverse cast of well-rounded characters. The book’s only flaw is that it ends too soon. It is commendable that in such a small space, the land and its people come alive to tell an engaging story of heroism with built-in themes of courage, critical thinking, and avoiding casting blame on others and oneself. Karik contemplates whose “fault” it would be if the dragon were to destroy the village as revenge if he does not succeed in his mission, both showing Karik’s compassion and posing questions about the morality involved in making decisions that affect others. KARIK’S FIRST BATTLE is the first in a series of tales following the courageous titular character, sure to attract readers of swords-and-sorcery fantasy and to leave them impressed.

In a short span of less than 90 pages, Evan Oliver’s KARIK’S FIRST BATTLE succeeds in creating a comprehensive fantasy world led by a worthy hero supported by a diverse cast of well-rounded characters; the book’s only flaw is that it ends too soon.

~Aimee Jodoin for IndieReader

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KARIK’S FIRST BATTLE

By Evan Oliver

Evan Oliver’s fantasy novel KARIK’S FIRST BATTLE is full of adventure and descriptive scenes. The story moves quickly with well-rounded characters and realistic dialogues. The first installment in its series, this book is a gripping tale of self-discovery and brotherhood that makes the reader yearn for more.