Days of Old (Book I)
Written by: Callan G. Souza
Published by: Publish America
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
The Days of Old (Book I) by Callan G. Souza is a book that follows the adventures of William Brennan, a young Irish boy of seventeen from New York City who was mysteriously and suddenly thrown into the strange, magical world of Cyrnest. Willy and his little sister Caitlin lived with their father who, after the death of his wife, had become an abusive drunk that they both feared. Willy protected Caitlin as best he could, but when his father comes home one day, in a fit of rage, Willy blacks out and awakens in a forest, alone and with no knowledge of how he’d come to be there.
He is befriended by a group of mystical beings known as Drallaks—in particular by a man named Duncan—and joins them in their travels through this beautiful, strange world. During his travels, Willy meets the White One, a mystical, holy figure who tells him that he has a mission to accomplish to save this world—that he has grown to love—from a dark evil. The White One also tells Willy that his sister—whom Willy was desperately trying to find his way back to—was safe and that he had to make the choice of either completing his mission or continuing his search for her.
Along the way, Willy meets a rogue stranger named David, who has his own destiny and mysterious past that is entwined with Willy’s. The two become friends and together they fight through a host of creatures and obstacles in the pursuit of a common goal.
Over all, the story was a mixed blessing of sorts, because it had positive and negative aspects. Among the positives was the relationship between Willy and his sister Caitlin, which was deeply loving and clearly illustrated; it carried well in the story and made me care for them right off the bat.
Among the negatives was the quick, almost washed over way in which Willy adjusts to having everything he knew taken away from him in the beginning of the story. Though I suspect the contrast was intentional to show how terrible Willy’s life had been that he could accept this new world so easily, I could not help but feel that a great opportunity to explore the confusion of such a transition had been missed.
The weakness in the story lies not with the characters—who were endearing and layered when necessary—or the plot—which, although cliche, was enjoyable—or the writing—which is strong and at times too good for the story. The weakness rests on the structure—the fast pace nature of a story that should have been delivered slowly over time and with greater detail—and the author’s attempt at originality—example, describing dwarves and calling them Drallaks, but later referring to them as dwarves anyway.
While it is not a must read, it is a good read, one that I enjoyed despite the aforementioned flaws and one that definite hooked me enough that I want to buy the sequels. My interest was particularly piqued at the end, when the author made a bold choice—and I love bold choices—in the direction of the story. It’s was a choice that really left me wondering what will happen in the future books, no matter how it plays out.
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