I love that readers of Emissary aren’t shy about sharing their strong opinions about the story, for better or for worse. Today, we have excerpts from four reviews of Emissary from Lindsay Franklin, Matthew Sundin, Deborah Wilson, and Keith Hazard. Please click the link next to each person’s name to read their full review.
Lindsay Franklin’s blog
Emissary is the story of a young man named Hyam who discovers he possesses crazy magic ability that may just save the realm. It sounds like a fairly well-worn story line–and it is–but there are plenty of good world-building bits and interesting characters here to keep even the jaded fantasy readers happy.
Emissary is the first Thomas Locke book I’ve read, so I’m not familiar with his usual voice. But this story is written in a mid-century style that caused pleasant nostalgia to bubble up whenever I snagged a few moments to read. Think Tolkien and Lewis. I hesitate to say that, since it’s a bit cliche, but let’s be real. What fantasy novelist doesn’t enjoy those comparisons? I mean it as a compliment, since Locke pulls it off with ease…and doesn’t sound like a wannabe.
The first quarter of the book left me a little undecided. The story was ethereal, and reading it felt a bit like grasping at wispy strands of different medieval fantasy elements, though not quite a cohesive whole. Not unpleasantly so, but I did have trouble grabbing hold of the plot and acclimating myself to the complicated story world and magic system.
However, the story really became grounded about halfway through. At that point, I didn’t want to put it down. The ending was satisfying but left me hanging, too. A good thing, since this is the first in a series. I’m definitely interested in reading the next installment.
Bottom Line: Fans of fantasy, Christian or secular, should give this one a read. A slow starter but rewarding if you stick with it.
(Matthew is the 16-year-old son of historical fiction writer, Sarah Sundin. This review was originally published on Sarah’s blog)
Emissary, a Fantasy/Adventure, coming-of-age story by Thomas Locke, follows the adventures of a 21-year-old man named Hyam. After a traumatic youth and his mother’s death, Hyam is sent to visit the mythical and mysterious Ashanta race to deliver grave news.
During his time there, he is asked (or forced) to become the emissary for the Ashanta people, to inform their allies and to be there on their behalf. Along his journey he endures trials, recruits allies of his own, struggles with his heritage and discovers a power he can barely even fathom.
The story is well written and very enthralling. The story following Hyam leaves you with a sense of wonder, but has enough realistic properties that it does not become insanity.
Though the story is meant for a younger audience, members of an older audience could still find enjoyment in reading this book. Through and through, Emissary is a great story and a good read. I recommend this story to lovers of adventure and fantasy.
Deborah Wilson, Amazon
Although fantasy is not generally my genre of choice, when the opportunity to read a Thomas Locke novel presented itself, I leapt at the chance.
Locke did not disappoint. I was irresistibility drawn into a fantasy world of wizards, exploits and magic which so paralleled the adventures, challenges and emotions of real-life, it seemed quite plausible.
Upon turning twenty-one, Hyam, begins to sense some newfound abilities. Not yet sure of how to handle his ‘gifts,’ he is nonetheless thrust into a quest through a rugged and dangerous realm to fight off the approach of impending evil. Subsequently he is joined by others, including a wise and learned ally, and Joelle, a young woman with some gifts of her own.
Locke’s main storyline is filled with precarious situations, impending disaster and warfare. However, he interjects aspects of delight, sorrow, wisdom, hope and romance, together with several unexpected twists.
While this book is not Christian in any way, a call to a life of fearlessness and noble endeavors is interwoven throughout its pages. I found my mind occupied with the plot even when required to set the book aside for the realities of life, such as fixing meals, work, etc.
I wait with anticipation for Book 2 in the Legends of the Realm series, coming in January 2016.
Keith Hazard, Amazon
Thomas Locke would be invited to be an Inkling with C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien Owen Barfield, Charles Williams and friends if he lived in Oxford 80 years ago.
He has the instantaneous stature of Lewis and Tolkien with his inevitably to-be-a-classic Emissary. It is an amazing creation for a first-time attempt at classical literary fantasy. He reaches well beyond Thomas Covenant, the only recent contender for an Inkling mantle. His perfect balance of character and action, depth and broad sweep, nuance and scope is stunning. I look forward avidly to the sequels.