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Monday, October 31, 2011

80AD - The Jewel of Asgard by Aiki Flinthart

Blurb: What happens when you take a pair of ordinary, miserable 14 year olds out of their ordinary, miserable lives and throw them into another world and another time? Chaos, fear, magic and excitement - that's what. When Phoenix and Jade somehow end up in the bodies of their own warrior Avatars in the online fantasy game, 80AD, they have to play the game through to get home. Do they have what it takes? 

 Review by Dale:

Forgive my tardy return to reviewing, I have been unwell with a lingering flu for several weeks now. So without further delay I present the latest Chilli Tween Review for your enjoyment.

This story is very unique, and I think that Flinthart has a recipe here that should be easily reproduced as a series. I notice she has banged out one every two months. I'm not sure if thats how fast she writes or if she had written them previously and that was the time taken to get them through Smashwords' meat grinder?

The premise is immensely entertaining, the two main heroes get sucked into a computer game reality and discover that they have to play out the games premise in order to save themselves and their own world. So far so good.

The setting of the game is also brilliant. Roman occupied Britannia. Every little boy loves the Romans, and spicing them up with giant Ogres and Elves just makes the scene every more exciting. I can imagine nail biting ten year olds ripping through this one nice and quickly.

The story works well, has a good structure and one scene links very well into the next with a well tempo'd style. The meticulous attention to historical details is great to see. A history lesson without beating anyone over the head about it. Readers are learning because its important to the story, not just a nice snap in. The writing is well targeted at the 8 - 12 year reader, it is easy to follow, with no overly convoluted narratives. It has a great flow that will keep young readers interested. There are still a lot of editing errors in this book though, basic typos and grammar or layout errors. It is a little distracting.

The characters are well handled. That is the two main protagonists, Phoenix and Jade. The other two companions don't get a lot of screen time to reveal themselves too fully. I thought the young thief, Brynn was a great sidekick. And the idea of Marcus the young Roman had great potential but he never really got a chance to come out. Maybe he shines more in book two? I would have loved to have seen how his first century attitudes contrasted and conflicted with the pair from the twenty first century.

Another small bug bear was at the end. Flinthart had done a great job bring all the protagonists and antagonists together in a spectacular last stand. There at the nail biting conclusion, Phoenix, a hairs breadth from razor sharp roman steel has a crisis of conscience. So instead of maintaining the great momentum she had established, the whole story collapsed into a mental conversation about the ethics of retreat. I think that could have been written a bit differently that allowed the characters to have their reflection on the implications of their actions but maybe after we were allowed the action scene to maintain its momentum.

It will be interesting to see how Flinthart's writing matures over the series as well. I know my writing changed the more i wrote and I know I'm learning a lot by reading and reviewing other writers too.

All said and done its a great story! One I'm sure the target readers will love and I'm definitely keen to read the other books in the series and review them here. I give it 4 stars. It's FREE too so why wait, scull down and click on the download link now!

The cover art is great too. Im glad that the author has taken the time to get some professional art rather than the stock clipart you see too much of in indie publishing.

Format: eBook
Available from Smashwords
Link to Download: Here
Price: $0.00c (at time of review)
Wordcount: 60,000 (appx)
Author: Aiki Flinthart
Author's Blog: Here

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