Book Review: The Trials of Caste (Paladin of a Hidden God #1)

Book 1 Final Cover for KindleTitle: The Trials of Caste
Author: Joel D.  Babbitt
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

A Game of Destiny, a Throne, a Paladin, a Prophecy… and Kobolds

In this explosive first novel in the Paladin of a Hidden God Series, the ancient game of destiny known as the Trials of Caste shows the Will of the Gods and reveals the Hand of the Fates.

A fresh voice in the Fantasy genre, Joel Babbitt’s story of Durik the kobold and his companions is genuine, triumphant, and absorbing.  In two days and two square miles of caverns, Joel takes the reader deep into the heart of a tribe in turmoil.  Looming insurrection, insurgent pacts, ancient powers, noble designs, and young aspirations combine to make the unforgettable coming-of-age tale of Durik the kobold and his companions.

With their year of training now past, Durik and six other young warriors are about to undergo the Trials of Caste where all of them will strive for the coveted position of elite warrior and the prestige and power that comes with it, though only one will win.  Simultaneously, a deadly conspiracy threatens to destroy their tribal leaders and seize the throne for its own evil purposes.  Durik and his six companions must each chose sides as the actions of an insurgent pact bring a day of decision for all the children of Kale.  Yet through it all, as if from beyond where the ancestors go, an ancient power calls to Durik, strengthening him as he and his closest companions risk everything to fight against this encroaching evil.

It’s been a while since I read fantasy, but when I started reading “The Trials of Caste“, I was instantly reminded of why I’m so fond of the genre. With great descriptions and an unique setting, author Joel Babbit makes this fantasy world come to life. Here, kobolds are the heroes of the story – a huge difference from the usual role they play in fantasy, where they’re either the villains, on the side of the villains, or minor characters.

The kobolds’ descriptions were great, and I could easily keep them apart. Although kobolds with their own culture and habits, their emotions are similar to those of humans, and they’re easy to relate to. In this world, young adults must prove themselves before they can fully ascend into adulthood. While our main cast sets out to participate in a series of increasingly-difficult trials, a lot of things happen in the background, like the struggle for power over the tribe. In the trials, friends must fight against friends, and the question arises who can be trusted. Durik was easily my favorite character, and I cheered for him from start to end.

Excellent writing, good characterization, and an unique, refreshing fantasy setting. I can’t wait to get started on the sequel.

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