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Reviewed by Maria Stoica for Readers' Favorite
Zephyr the West Wind by R.J. Tolson is the first book in the young adult fantasy series, Chaos Chronicles. Zephyr has the gift of understanding other people’s emotions, but he never managed to understand its use while growing up alone, isolated and hated by the other villagers on the small island of Dentro. Years ago, his mother had broken the village law by having a child with an outsider. Zephyr’s father had disappeared before his birth and his mother had died when he was young so the entire village's rage and disgust for his parents was aimed at Zephyr. Only the old village chief had the kindness to look after him. Now at seventeen years of age, Zephyr is ready to take his Trial of Adulthood which will get him off the island towards new lands in the world of Tye and, hopefully, towards some friendship. That is, if he survives it. The first and foremost task is to be selected by one of the five crystals: Sea, Ouranos, Void, Balance, or Dream which unlocks unknown powers within each individual.
The book is written in first person, following Zephyr’s perspective although there are a couple of chapters later on, written from another character’s perspective, also in first person. In the world of Tye, the king or chief is the strongest warrior of the people he is leading. Despite this apparently violent culture, there are those who do not think that brute force is the key to solving every conflict and they offer a moral balance over the entertaining and clean fighting scenes. R.J. has done an awesome job in creating a vivid world with amazing artifacts, giant lizard carriages, and flavored energy crystals which awaken one’s aura in different ways, thus enabling anime-like effects during fights. The plot twists are the best parts alongside the discovery of Zephyr’s powers, identity, and the use of his gift. There are bits of wisdom and introspection here and there which give depth to all the struggle and pain. I recommend Zephyr the West Wind to both young adults and adults since it is a great journey of self discovery in an exciting world.