The Birr Elixir- Book 1 (The Legend of the Gamesmen) by Jo Sparkes
Cover Rating: ★★★☆☆
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆
My Favourite Chapter: Chapter 6
Would I recommend? ★★★★☆
“She did take it, weighing it carefully, touching the wax sealed stopped. He would swear she was checking to see if it was real, except he knew she’d never seen Myrrcleft in her life. He offered the sleeping vial, and still she resisted.”
When a young apprentice makes a mysterious elixir from a recipe in an old book, she’s suddenly the talisman for a daring Gamesman – and the weapon in the conspiracy against a prince.
It’s been a while since I’ve found myself absorbed in a good fantasy book, but this one broke that dry spell. I was a bit dubious at first as I didn’t really see where the story was going, however when the main plot line was introduced I couldn’t put the book down.
I would have liked to find out more about the individual characters/groups of people; there was a lack of backstory that made it really hard for me to actually care about the characters. This is the first book in a series though, so it’s possible that there is more of this as you continue reading.
Whilst somewhat predictable within the latest trend of fantasy stories, the main protagonist is a quiet, unassuming, young girl. Although this type of character seems to annoy me, I developed a fondness for this girl as there wasn’t an ounce of self-pitying and instead a quiet intelligence that the reader could see but she could not.
The story, linked together by a focus on a sport, acted as an important way in which the reader can develop a greater understanding of the characters as well as becoming the premise on which the story is created. As stated before, I wanted to spend more time with the character themselves so I would have sacrificed some ‘play time’ for that, but you cannot doubt the importance of the sport and I can only imagine this continues as the story goes on.
This is a light-hearted, easy to read and imaginative fantasy story that I would highly recommend to young teenagers. I’ll certainly be keeping my eye on the progression of this series!
* Book was sent for free in exchange for an honest review.