Book Title: The White Dragon: Omnibus Edition
Author: Stefan Bolz
Publication Date: September 2, 2018
Available on: Amazon as an eBook and as a paperback
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Kasey Byrne is an 18-year old who has been chosen to save the world from the apocalypse hitting New York. Even though she never knew it, she’s been on a path to destiny since she was a young girl, given a medallion of a white dragon by a stranger on the beach.
Living a normal life, she’s grown up on Long Island, has divorced parents and a group of close friends. However, she also harbors some secrets. When she was eight, a stranger walked up to her on the beach and gave her a mysterious black amulet with a white dragon coiled up in the center. After that, over the years she would see strange images and nightmares that she didn’t understand.
Now, her destiny is calling to her and she must jump down a hole into a mysterious and unusual realm, told she must begin her training there in order to find the white dragon, bring it back and save the world. What she finds there is surprising and she’s unprepared for it. However, she must return to where she left her friends and allies, still under siege by demonic forces!
Burdened with her newfound power and no idea how to utilize it, they go on the run, trying to figure out a plan to defeat their enemies who attack them at every turn. Can everyone make it out of this alive and end the apocalypse once and for all?
This thrill-a-minute roller-coaster ride puts the pedal to the metal and doesn’t look back. There are constant surprises, unexpected mysteries, and terrific character development. Kasey is a fully-fledged heroine of the first order, never giving up hope on achieving her mission while remaining true to herself, her optimism and her desire to help others. Despite the magnitude of what she is facing and with no possible escape in sight, she doesn’t flinch in the face of this evil now permeating the entirety of Long Island.
Faced with a destiny already pre-ordained for her, the big question was whether she could defeat the malevolent evil she’s facing and whether she would be required to make the ultimate sacrifice. After really breaking down her character and building it back up, this novel splendidly explores her character more as she copes with the burden of responsibility she now must carry.
Her utmost evolution by the time I finished this omnibus was perfection to witness and brought her character arc to a perfect ending. This internal struggle was the most fascinating part of the novel for me, as the author beautifully illustrates this with each chapter as the situation grows ever more dire.
Kasey’s fascinating journey from teenager to warrior is a painstaking trip on a perilous path, being remade from the ground up one puzzle piece at a time. As a result, the reader is invested deeply in each failure or success that Kasey experiences. It’s a superb illustration in character building and gives her a real psychological depth.
The dark demonic forces are led by a giant spider, who marshals her minions to kill Kasey and her allies. Those forces include armies of smaller spiders and the blood riders, who attempt to overwhelm them by sheer numbers. Each one of the scenes where they are featured elicited a sense of horror and revulsion by me. Not just because of their monstrosity, but because the author’s description created terrifying images in my mind and brings the story to the next level.
The action is non-stop, the antagonist is filled with a truly vile malevolence and the characters are richly drawn, all of them especially well-developed with their own histories and idiosyncrasies. The prose is simply smooth and inviting, as the author’s visceral style compels you to keep turning the pages with just enough hints as to what is really going on here while also making this book very difficult to put down.
The continuity over the course of this entire omnibus is very tightly woven. It is especially relevant when we unexpectedly learn the fates of some beloved characters that we met and came to know from earlier in the omnibus and wondered what happened to them. This attention to detail is something I always appreciate.
This novel has passages that are epic in scope and beautifully poetic in its description. This is especially true of the finale. If this was a movie, you could almost hear a single person singing a haunting solo with solemn music in the background as Kasey struggles with the crucial decisions she has to make. The results of these decisions will have ramifications for herself, those she cares about and those she wants to save.
It’s been said that the hero of the story must have a strong villain to face in order to best define the strength of their character. This highlights the fortitude that is needed for Kasey to defeat a difficult adversary. Indeed, evil incarnate is a tough enemy to overcome. But when faced with apocalyptic struggles both in the world and within herself, this makes for a gripping thriller that works on multiple levels.
Kasey is on a classic heroes’ journey throughout the course of this entire omnibus, knowing she has a destiny to fulfill and precious little knowledge on how to accomplish this herculean task. The allies she meets, the skepticism she must try to overcome, the difficult challenges she faces continuously and the bonds she forms with others are the true joys of this novel.
There was never any time where I thought I could predict what would happen next. There are moments of heartbreak and sadness, the exultant feeling of relief as well as the tang of bitterness in defeat. This was an emotional rollercoaster ride from start to finish, exceptionally compelling me to see what the next chapter would bring.
The author, whom I have read before, brings a refreshing take to each novel he writes. He breathes life into words on the page that never fails to grab my emotions and demand that I pay attention to the story. It challenges me in such a way that if I thought I was feeling something intense now, it also promises that I hadn’t seen anything yet. He finds a way to incorporate those strengths of his into an exquisite novel and a breathtaking trilogy that tells the complete story of an eighteen-year-old young woman with a journey and a destiny that is richly told.
If you think this is just another end-of-days scenario that you might have read before, put aside those low expectations. This is not your usual weird apocalypse. Prepare to be bowled over by the unique insights and strong storytelling skills of an author who knows how to tell a tale that blends science fiction and fantasy into something that you’ve never read before.
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