I am pleased to share my review of Journey to Aviad, Book 1 of the Wind Rider Chronicles, by fellow blogger and author, Allison D. Reid.
Allison D. Reid is a Christian Fantasy author with a fondness for Medieval history. Her first published series, the Wind Rider Chronicles, embraces traditional fantasy elements but is also infused with deeper spiritual themes.
“Real, three-dimensional, lovable characters are a must. A good story also has layers of meaning, so that you can read the same book more than once and catch different things each time. There should be an element of beauty and hope, but also plenty of mystery and suspense. I want to be moved by a story without being traumatized by it. I don’t deal well with dark, graphic, or tragic stories—they haunt me without mercy to the point where I wish I had never read them. The real world has enough trauma of its own!”
If you have ever read Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, you will enjoy Reid’s fantasy tale of two sisters who embark on a journey of survival and spirituality. This is an allegorical tale set in what may be medieval times. Whether it is in our Earth’s ancient past or far future isn’t clear, but the world and setting Reid builds is consistent and believable.
Reid’s writing is eloquent and riveting—I was drawn in to the mystery after the first few sentences. Her female main characters are interesting and multi-dimensional, with the capacity to grow and learn as the story unfolds.
Reid deftly weaves in scriptural themes and concept such as— “you must drink from my cup, for it is filled with living water, and you shall never thirst again”—without alienating the reader’s existing faith or lack thereof. She introduces the “Ancients” much later in the story as the counterparts to the Biblical Jesus, Satan and the Holy Spirit. Of course, Aviad is God, the Creator. You will begin to see the parallels as you read deeper into the story.
I recommend this book and series to young adults and those of us adults who have been around the block once or twice.
Young Elowyn, content with gardening, exploring the outdoors and climbing trees, is drawn to a shiny medallion lying in the shallows of the river. Upon closer inspection, she comes upon a tragic and frightening sight in the Shadow Woods not far from her home in Tyroc.
At the gruesome scene lies a slain bowman. Terrified of the wolf-like creatures only steps away, she snatches up the bow and medallion and quickly runs home. A severe storm erupts in the night feeding her unsettled visions of the bowman coming to her door. Upon awakening, she vows to return the items thinking she has unwittingly disturbed his haunted spirit.
The next day, back at the grisly scene, she sees the bowman’s body is gone, amidst large footprints and damaged underbrush. She encounters one of the wolf-like creatures but is saved by a stranger named Einar, who eventually proves to be a friend and mentor.
Elowyn’s adventure and ultimate journey begins as she realizes that a dark evil is slowly descending on Tyroc and into the Shadow Woods. Even at home, she feels unsafe, under the tyrannical influence of their greedy, over-worked mother, a weaver by trade.
Instructed by Einar to meet him deep in the woods, at an ancient shrine dedicated to Aviad, Elowyn waits for him, spending several nights alone. Here, she dreams and has visions instructing her to “wash in the temple basin to be ready for her journey.”
The story continues to unfold using narratives and back-stories to discuss the history of the Ancients, the coming evil, and the prophecies to which Elowyn and her sisters are linked.
Meanwhile, her older sister, Morganne, works endlessly with their mother to sew and weave fine, royal clothing for the Sovereign’s bride-to-be. Once their royal contract is finished, Morganne wants nothing more than to escape her life. Finally fleeing the abuse and disinterest from their authoritative mother, the girls take their baby sister and set out to escape the evil that is manifesting in their city of Tyroc.
As they journey over hundreds of miles, Elowyn confides in Morganne about her visions. Morganne, who studied the Ancient Scrolls briefly as a young girl, knows something of the scriptures, legends and prophecies, and confirms Elowyn’s visions likely come from Aviad.
In one dramatic turning point near the end of the novel, Elowyn is led to an abandoned shrine in which the basin has been dry for millennia.
She cleans the basin and places Morganne’s old drinking cup and some herbs in the basin, as reverent awe wells up inside her, remembering the words “If only this basin was filled with living water, I would gladly drink.”
With nothing more to be done, she quickly leaves to finalize their preparations for the next part of their journey.
As they leave the next day, people are shouting the news that the once-dry shrine is alive! A monk tells them that it is a “wondrous sign from the Ancients…the restoration of the shrine was foretold in prophecy, and I never thought I would see it fulfilled in my lifetime.” But Morganne cautions Elowyn not to tell anyone about her part in this.
Once Elowyn understands who Aviad is and her place in the prophecies, she asks Morganne to read more from the ancient texts.
“They were no longer simply ancient tales meant to be quietly kept in leather-bound volumes on dusty shelves. They were lessons in history that had begun to merge with the present in ways (Elowyn) could not have imagined.”
The more Morganne reads, the more she believes the words are written on her heart where they shall live and grow, and cause her to grow.
Like many chosen heroines, touched physically and spiritually by their Creator, the sisters are led to the point where they can begin to fulfill the ancient prophecies. As dark forces conspire around them at every turn, so do the forces of Good as Aviad sends visions and spirits to gently guide them on the right path.
Whatever your spiritual beliefs are, you as the reader will easily empathize with Elowyn and her sisters as they continue their mysterious and mystical journey upon which Aviad has set them.
I hope I have intrigued you to visit Allison on any of the sites listed below.
I encourage you to sign up for her newsletter. Currently, Journey to Aviad is free to new subscribers and she may still offer a coupon for the second book in the series, Ancient Voices: Into the Depths.
Allison is also a photographer in her own right, as you can see by the images used in this post. In fact, she donated a huge folder of wonderful images of trees and forests to my shared folder where all bloggers can use free of attribution.
You can check this out here: Free Photos for Your Blog. Click the DROPBOX LINK then look for the file “Donated Images.” These are all free to use and other files were recently updated!
As I begin the process of writing my next book “No Excuses Fitness” I am developing a mailing list and newsletter with a focus on fitness. I think her newsletter and posts serve as a great example for other authors of how to engage readers, new and current, to keep them interested in her books.
I am one lucky blogger to know so many of my peers who are writing and have written books in a variety of genres. Are you a blogger with a story to tell? Let this blogging community be an encouragement to you!
I am a leisure educator, self-published author, blogger, and retired recreation and parks practitioner living in Northern California. Second Wind Leisure Perspectives is my blog about living a leisure lifestyle. I have a lot to share and I will appreciate your indulging me by reading occasionally!
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