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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
The Eternal Struggle: The Black Phantom Chronicles, book 2 by Esther Wallace is an exciting YA fantasy novel with a riveting premise and magnetic characters. Arnacin has been banished from Mira and is trying to return to his home on Enchantress Island. Valoretta witnesses the destruction of Mira and the dissolution of its inhabitants. Both are imprisoned and need to find each other again, but how can they with so many obstacles? And if they do manage to reunite, what will they say? What will they do? Can there ever be a chance for forgiveness and a second chance? Amidst pirates, danger, and hardship, they try.
Most people like a good story about redemption--it gives us hope and reaffirms our faith in humanity. It lets us know that we too may have a chance at forgiveness and reconciliation. But few can tell the story in a truly satisfying way. Wallace has done this job, and well. With her strong but vulnerable characters, well-constructed plot, and heart-pounding suspense, she has built a world that you can lose yourself in. You'll be lost in the action, the jeopardy, the yearning, and commitment to honor that these two have. They are both powerful in their own way; stubborn, honorable, and have misinterpreted each other. The battles they fight are internal as well as external. You'll yearn for them too and their situations, and you'll want both of them to succeed in overcoming their roadblocks in order to save each other. The author doesn't shy away from honest, frank scenarios, but delivers them in a palatable way.
Wallace's style is poetic, her descriptions elegant. There are no cheap thrills here. Each emotion wrung from the reader is honestly earned and well-deserved. On a side note, the character guide at the beginning of the book is helpful, and one of my favorite scenes is when Arnacin is dreaming about Valoretta. I also personally like the descriptions of the fallen Mira. The ending is moving and hopeful, with the promise of more stories to come. Fans of George R.R. Martin and epic pirate stories would appreciate The Eternal Struggle by Esther Wallace.