The Vial of Deziar by: Kevin Barrick

Synopsis

Alazar, a leader in the Rebel Network, disappears after venturing into the Forbidden Woods. His best friend, Liam, seems to be the only one of the other leaders to want to do anything about it. When any transgression against the Elder Law is met with a harsh sentence of death, the rebels must calculate their rescue mission carefully, but Liam is drawn by a deeper bond than rebel alliances as he enters the woods alone at night to save Alazar.

But the shadows whisper; vile creatures lurk. What was once a superstitious tale of the village now becomes a deadly reality as Liam forsakes the safety of the mountain pass road, drawn by an unknown, dark desire.

Secrets, addictions, failure, and fear all take grip on the hearts of the rebels as midnight deepens. Who will emerge from the shadows? What danger so grave could rest in the heart of the woods to merit a punishment of death for all those who enter therein?

Join the rogue mission into the Forbidden Woods, if you dare!

Deziar is a Villainous Villain

More often than not, the villains in books are way too human and their consciences keep them from truly acting their part in the story. But Deziar with his grandeur size and wicked nature satisfied my need to face a good antagonist. I especially loved the dual appearances: one minute a seductive siren luring his victims with the vial; the next minute a beastly demon of darkness. With all the power Deziar had accumulated in his element, I expected one hell of a battle…and Barrick delivered.

“It’s mammoth of a head was fixed upon shoulder that were neither human nor beast with hideous flesh protruded by bones.” (page 113)

Identifying the Villain

From the start of the story, we follow a rebel named Liam in a quest to rescue his best friend, Alazar, whom Liam believed was kidnapped. But we’re never certain if the Elders where Liam lives are the villains, or if the myths of the forbidden forest are the villains responsible for Alazar’s disappearance. The fact that Barrick kept me guessing the whole time, uncertain who’s a friend and who’s a foe was great twist I didn’t expect.

The Set Up

The end of the book more than established the plot for book two…it forced me to want to read it! I’ve never read a sequel bait quite as thrilling as this one. We rode the action of this book out all the way to the final page. It reminded me of Resident Evil: Retribution where all our video game characters stand atop the White House with Alice facing hordes of zombies. Kana and Eyu are thrust into action and survival again, this time the mission greater and more harrowing, and the action doesn’t stop until the book does. Closing the book, I said to myself, “Well now I obviously HAVE to read book 2”.

The Lack

The language in the book suited the genre. Barrick’s voice had a sort of magical aloofness about it that worked considering the fantasy genre, but at the same time it felt like something was lacking the whole story. There was just enough detail to provide a base image, but not a lot of scene dressing or physical description. It was more about the effect everything had on Liam. There was no real connection to the characters, especially not the right characters considering who ended up being the main ones.

But there were awfully beautiful pieces throughout that just make you pause and say, “Wow”. This one was my favorite: “A succubus in the shape of a flask.” (page 90)

I felt like I was floating through the story a lot of times. Never grounded with details, and I’m not 110% sure that’s a bad thing. I felt like it played into the theme of magic, but I also hungered to be more apart of the story and to know the characters better.

Summary

Overall the book was a thrilling read. I highly anticipate the sequel and recommend this one to all those who crave adventure!

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