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Reviewed by Timothy R Baldwin for Readers' Favorite
When King Kaison is poisoned, his wife Alanna is on the run in hopes of protecting their unborn child, Alric. It is prophesied by the Oracle that this boy will possess a power no other before has ever known. In one final act of her own gifts, Alanna exchanges the unborn Alric within her womb with the stillborn boy of a woman carrying twins. This woman will become Alric’s surrogate mother and her daughter, Elainea, will become his sister. Both will be raised by this woman, Wleia, to believe in “The One” and live good and virtuous lives. Thus, King Kaison’s and Queen Alanna’s child is preserved until he and the sister of the womb are able to take on and hone their gifts. Meanwhile, with no good person ruling in their stead, evil takes hold at the hands of Alric’s aunt Devona who dabbles in dark magic and uses it to place her son, David, in power. Only, her dark magic works far better and far less predictably than she, or anyone, could ever imagine. Charged by Wleia to work together and protect each other in the battle to come, the siblings will soon meet an ally in the most unlikely of persons who they will need more than they could ever imagine in the trials soon to come.
Author Nicole Thomas creatively captures a tale of prophecy, treachery, and magic in her fantasy novel, Tales of Elhaanai. Thomas’ tale of betrayal and the fulfillment of a prophecy related to Alric is reminiscent of so many stories. Yet, lest one thinks it lacks originality, Thomas puts her own spin on the motif, incorporating Judeo-Christian mysticism that points to a higher purpose in this fantasy world where there is a true battle between good and evil. Middle-grade readers will identify with the sibling rivalry and banter between Alric and Elainea as they grow and come to maturity. They will also be immersed in the adventure when Alric and Elainea venture off to hone their gifts while around them evil is mounting. Overall, I liked the story and I think it could be a real hit with middle-grade readers.