Book Review: Whispers - Book One - Yggdrasil Children by Allen Neil Ortizcategories: Book, Urbane Fantasy, Whispers, Yggdrasil, Children, Apparition, Science Fiction
Allen Neil Ortizabout this book: Legends about angels fighting demons carry through history. Fables of faeries, minotaurs and Valkyries are passed down through the generations. Stories about spell-casters and witches exist nearly everywhere in the world.
But, what if these legends, fables and stories aren't simply works of fiction, but based on actual human experiences?
Whispers (Yggdrasil Children) follows a group of people with abilities that allow them to speak to extra-planar beings--pure elemental spirits, mythological creatures and ethereals--and an ancient militaristic organization which strives to collect these individuals from normal society.
Veronica Cassidy, a captain in the ranks of the secret organization known as Apparition, is one of the best recon leaders around. She knows how to get the job done, and brings home results time and time again. But someone from her past has shown themselves, and is choosing to stand in her way. Veronica pushes back, but finds herself questioning Apparition's ideals when her own team is attacked by a dark force, possibly sent by her own leaders.
What will happen to a newly-discovered, rare whisperer when multiple forces fight to lay claim to their life?
Find out in the first volume of Whispers: Yggdrasil Children
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Review of Whispers - Book One - Yggdrasil ChildrenWhispers – Book One – Yggdrasil Children, by Allen Neil Ortiz, starts off with a bang. With the very first sentence of the prologue, the reader is drawn into a world of chaos and terror through the eyes of an unnamed child. As the book continues, we meet both members of a secret military organization and a group of seemingly normal college students, though we quickly learn that these kids are anything but average.
Between Veronica Cassidy's recon team, and Aden Kerr's students, the reader discovers a complex world where myth and magic are very much part of reality. Ortiz has created his own mythology based on Christian, Greek, Norse and Gaelic legends, wrapping together all the stories we learned as children into a new reality. With a few touches of pseudo-science here and there, we're introduced to people who can talk to phoenixes, machines, natural elements, plants, animals, angels and demons. Some can even alter reality with the power of dreams.
As a general rule, I don't like science fiction, but I loved this. Why? Because Ortiz's story is character-centered. He takes a motely group of young adults, each one unique in their own way, and he makes me care about every one of them. That's not something I see often enough in science fiction these days. More often than not, I'm find myself bored with robots and aliens. Space ships are cool and all, but they don't have much heart. And that's what Ortiz gave to his characters (even non-human ones): he gave them compelling backstories and personalities. In a word: soul.
By the end of the book, I'd laughed, been forced to the edge of my seat, and even teared up on several occasions, because the characters were so compelling. Any time one of them had something to celebrate, I found myself rooting along with them. When the recon members or students felt sadness, my heart ached for them. And that, I feel, is the mark of great story telling. You can have nice scenery and cool weapons or whatever, but if you can't make me care about your characters, what's the point?
Though Allen Neil Ortiz is a newcomer to the literary world, he's placed a solid foot in the door to greatness with Whispers – Book One – Yggdrasil Children, and this reader can't wait until book two reveals even deeper mysteries about these characters and this new version of reality. I wholeheartedly give it five stars, and I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something new and compelling.
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