Book Review: Shawndirea by Leonard D. Hilley II

Shawndirea PB2Title: Shawndirea
Author: Leonard D. Hilley II
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Often the smallest unexpected surprises garner the most demanding dilemmas, which proves to be the ordeal that entomologist Ben Whytten faces. While netting butterflies to add to his vast collection, he mistakenly sweeps what he thinks is the most spectacular butterfly he has ever seen into his net. Upon examining his catch, Ben is horrified to discover he has captured a faery and shredded her delicate wings into useless ribbons.

Devastated, Ben vows to take Shawndirea back to her realm, Aetheaon; but he discovers that doing so places their lives into immediate danger. To get to Aetheaon, they must pass through a portal rift deep inside the haunted cavern, Devils Den.

Once they cross the rift, Ben enters a world where mysteries, magic, betrayal, and power struggles await. He must adapt quickly or die because Aetheaon is filled with enchanted creatures and numerous races where chaos often dominates order. And since Shawndirea’s destined for the throne of Elvendale, opposing dark forces plot to prevent her from ever reaching her kingdom again. The faery’s magic isn’t enough to fully protect them, so he must trust other adventurers to aid them during their journey.

From the synopsis, one wouldn’t expect Shawndirea to be an epic fantasy story, but it is. Ben Whytten is an entomologist and one day, instead of capturing a butterfly, he captures a fairy named Shawndirea. And not just any fairy – Shawndirea is destined for the throne of Elvendale. But Ben accidentally ruined the fairy’s wings when catching her. He vows to take her back to her home, a realm named Aetheaon. To get to that realm they must pass through a portal rift in a haunted cavern called Devil’s Den.

Once he passes into Aetheaon, Ben comes across a whole set of characters, some good, but most evil, and out to hurt Shawndirea and stop her before reaching her kingdom. Pretty much any fantastical creature passes the line, from wizards to zombies, to immortals looking to gain power. The book is definitely on the darker side of fantasy, and hosts not only an interesting cast of characters but also an engaging plot about a journey slightly reminiscent of the one Frodo makes in Lord of The Rings, and filled with thrilling adventures along the way.

With great writing and an amazing amount of creativity, Leonard D. Hilley II makes his characters and plot shine.

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