Reviewed by John A G Smith for Readers' Favorite
Kayne: Crown of Dominion is Adrian L. Juhl’s story of the adventures of the eponymous hero, Prince Kayne, son of King Jim and Queen Shannon. Kayne lives in a world where religion is controlled by powerful Apothecaries, magic and necromancy are rife, and monsters patrol the dark places. Even Kayne himself is secretly a Subjugator with his own set of special powers. His planet is one of a group that previously orbited a star, but which were thrown apart by ‘magic gone wrong.’ In order to qualify as a future king, Kayne needs to go on a quest, so he sets out on the good ship Oleander, accompanied by 180 men-at-arms and his mentor and friend, Jack. He also has the services of an Elemental – a powerful magician able to control the natural environment – and a Ranger – a magical hunter. Soon he is encountering hallucinogenic fog, silver wolves and flying snake gods, all in an environment of volcanoes and giant waves. Of course, his quest involves maps on ancient scrolls, magic crowns, and a sword that miraculously turns into a war hammer.
Adrian L. Juhl’s roller coaster of a novella, Kayne, certainly requires the reader to leave his or her disbelief and incredulity outside the door, but if this is your genre you will not be disappointed. Each character is finely, if on occasion a little stereotypically, drawn. Situations are developed well and Juhl’s prose takes the reader on a magical mystery tour to satisfy the most demanding fantasy fan. Is it perfect? No, but it comes close. At just over sixteen thousand words, Kayne is a very long short story or a very short novel and I would have loved it if Adrian Juhl had taken a few more words to develop the story even further. But, on the whole, this is a fine and enjoyable introduction to what is obviously the first in a series. Adrian Juhl’s imagination could put Prince Kayne through many more trials and tribulations. I hope so. With the genre, lack of sex or graphic violence, and short length, it is an ideal read for young (probably male) adults.