Series: Legends of Lightning #1
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Hidden Realm (Legends of Lightning Book 1) by T.R. Slauf
Hidden Realm by T.R. Slauf
“The next Realm Walker will bring with them a storm. Lightning must fight the Crimson Shadow, or the lands will be cast into eternal darkness.”
When she was a child, Esther was plagued with vivid nightmares. Now they have returned to haunt her. Bloodthirsty monsters chase her through a forest of dead trees while a mysterious hooded figure stalks her. After waking with fresh wounds from her dreams, Esther searches for the truth about who she is and the Hidden Realm she is destined to save.
Join Esther on her journey of self-discovery as she travels into a world long forgotten. Unsure if she can trust her hooded guide, she is hunted by unknown enemies and smothered by expectations of grandeur. Deciphering friend from foe she travels the lands, trying to unite kingdoms torn by pride.
I’ve been a fan of the original Brothers Grimm fairy tales since I was a youngster. Having grown up listening to the ghost and goblin stories my Welsh Granny would tell, I’ve always been more comfortable with the dark tales rather than the happy, watered-down versions shown on the movie screen. Hidden Realm (Legends of Lightning) by T. R. Slauf gives me those shivery feelings I’d get while reading the gothic fairy tales, while also blending in the very best elements of epic fantasy and tossing in a dash of horror.
Esther is an ordinary girl, living a predictable life as a librarian when things begin to change. She begins having vivid dreams that carry over to real life, and when a strange edition of the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales comes into the library, Esther soon discovers that she’s anything but ordinary. Deciding to discover who she really is, Esther is propelled into another realm, where she learns that the Brothers Grimm were also more than what they seemed and the stories they had written were, in fact, based on reality. As Esther learns about her new world and her importance within it, she meets many friends and foes, not really knowing who she can trust. But it becomes clear that if she’s going to survive and fulfill her destiny, she needs to learn to trust herself.
Unlike many fantasy stories, rather than focusing mostly on world-building, the author has done a spectacular job of developing the characters. That’s not to say that the new world that Esther now inhabits is in any way flat or one-dimensional, but I really appreciate the backstories and emotions that the characters experience as the story progresses. The perils the heroes experience feel real and I was completely drawn into their struggles, as each of them deals with the outcomes. Even the “villains” are complex and not easily put into a box as being completely evil. I love the way each of the kingdoms reflects the ruler and their story. Again, the author had done a stellar job of making the characters and the individual tales they inhabit familiar, yet fresh.
This is not just your ordinary fairy tale story, but instead is an unflinching, sometimes brutal, story about a woman coming into her own. As she travels, she learns that she is courageous, strong, and stubborn and she’s willing to take risks to do what she feels is right. Esther is a heroine for today, and I cannot wait to see what her next steps will be. T. R. Slauf has excellent writing skills and an extraordinary storytelling style and voice. If you are a fan of dark fantasy, Artisan Book Reviews recommends Hidden Realm (Legends of Lightning) by T. R. Slauf and gives this fantastic novel 5 BIG STARS. Book reviewed by DL Smith for Artisan Book Reviews.
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