Ever since he was a kid, all Balt Vana wanted was to be a world-renowned Jekua Summoner like his grandmother, battling other Summoners in front of audiences of thousands. But from where he stands now, living up to the Vana name feels impossible.
When his best friend Alani, an initiate at the local Church, is sent on a pilgrimage to find her path in life and the god she will follow, Balt sees the perfect opportunity to launch his career by escorting her across the archipelago and its purple seas. The islands are filled with monsters to imprint and Summoners to battle, with every victory bringing him one step closer to his dream.
It will take more than just his family name to reach the same heights as his grandmother, but Balt won’t stop until he does.
On Lavender Tides caught my attention immediately with its beautiful artwork, designed by Baj Singh and Deranged Doctor Design. I love the colours, especially the blue/purple contrast. Then you’ve got adventurers in a little boat being overlooked by some kind of giant snow gorilla. It’s a brilliantly designed book and a sure fire way to get attention to your self published story.
This is a Pokémon inspired novel and I say this with every meaning of the word. I love Pokémon as many of you do and Travis has taken the best bits of the idea and applied them to his fantasy world. There is a Poké watch, a Pokédex, legendary Jekua called Jenu and even a location called Route 4. (If GameFreak ever read it then there might be some legal questions being asked)
You have to make enough changes to make it your own and I think that Travis has done that, just. There are eleven different types of Jekua (Pokémon) and these aren’t your standard types. The way that these are caught and summoned, controlled and ‘evolved’ (hybrids) are also unique. There are also ‘gyms’ but not in the same way, there are tournaments and other bits that many Poké fans will smile at.
So, if you love Pokémon then you might be able to forgive this book it’s negative parts. There is a lot of tell and not show. There is also a lot of random writing that could be cut and after 50% I decided to just skim over or skip which ironically increased my enjoyment because the best part of this story is anytime the Jekua are involved, even if the battles and occurrences are a little predictable.
The characters are okay but don’t fully capture your attention. At times they go off on their own little tangent and because information is repeated it can get a bit tedious and sucks the enjoyment out occasionally.
I’m not sure what age range you would suggest this is for. It’s fantasy but not quite YA and not quite adult. I think this is something that will appeal to many people, especially because of the cover but I would just be warned that while this is a fun story, you are going to have to wade through a story that, to me, could have done with another edit with a professional editor to really streamline it. It has bags of potential and just didn’t get executed properly.
This is a progression fantasy story though so maybe the other stories in this series will evolve.