Rebecca Newton and the Sacred Flame is a high fantasy, high octane adventure for Young Adults which will apppeal to those who have read and loved the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and the Starcrossed books by Josephine Angelini as Mario's book is also set in the world of Greek Myth. The story features gods and monsters, immortal beings and mythical creatures and a battle between the forces of good and evil. The world building in this novel is vast in scope and takes a while to establish. The action mostly takes place in the Land of the White Sun which was built by the ancient Gods who live in the Elysian Fields and who also built Tartarus where demons and Titans dwell. Rebecca has grown up on earth unaware that she is an Orizon, a child of the Land of the White Sun but it is clear that she is an exceptional young woman from our first introduction to her; as she communicates fearlessly with a hungry lion. Rebecca journeys to the land of her ancestors and trains in fighting with a variety of weapons. She soon proves herself to be an adept and skilled soldier, a born leader and a thoughtful and mature young woman in fact her teachers believe her to be the most highly skilled Orizon soldier in many years. She attracts the attention of the leader of the kingdom of Beast King Turgoth and Rebecca discovers good and evil are harder to define that she thought.
Although this book is aimed at a young adult audience it is written in high fantasy style which can at times veer off from the action towards more traditional storytelling becoming somewhat verbose. Too often it feels that the pace and action are sacrificed on the altar of detail and description. The character development also suffers as the narrative jumps from head to head presenting a variety of back stories and introspection rather than dialogue as would be more common in most YA novels. This won't bother fans of the high fantasy genre but may be off putting for some younger readers. The book has an interesting premise and a well constructed plot and a slow burning love story that builds from a slightly implausible beginning and makes the reader want to read on despite some of the minor irritations in the writing style. This book is winning praise from a variety of quarters and is bound to have broad appeal. You can learn more about the author at his website Mario Routi
This book is published by Oak Tree Press http://www.oaktreepress.co.uk/ and I was sent a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Rebecca Newton and the Sacred Flame is available in paperback and e-book now.