Here are excerpts from 10 reviews written by avid fans of fantasy literature. And fantasy readers are a tough crowd! Please click the link to read the full review.
Jodelle Svenhard, Amazon:
Live it, BREATHE it. Smell the scent of this new world, and be captivated by Thomas Locke’s intriguing interlocking style of family, fear, frenzy and futuristic felicity.
I’m serious, this book is not one you can miss!! And now I’m speaking especially to sci-fi enthusiasts like myself:
Get it. Read it. And let it read you. Roam the hills and search for allies with this likable protagonist. These characters live and breath with a luminous reality. wow.
I have all too often come across a sci-fi that thinks it can rely on stale relics of magic/demon/war paint/maidens and float it on a spaceship of ideas that fail to claim the reader, end like a teaser, and inspect an unknown world with such a foggy lens that the author must have finished just as muddled as he/she began. That’s not my thing…. I AM SPEAKING OF WHAT THIS BOOK IS NOT. I want you to know, this book supplies the exact OPPOSITE. There is a fresh face to sci-fi with Thomas Locke on the job!
What Emissary IS:
A hunting expedition that earns the endearment of a fawn family. (go figure) A secret sect crafting a warhorse from a child (or, are they?). Who to trust? who to flee? Chills. Skills. Arrows. Powers. Glowers. You get it all. You aren’t “spoon fed” or “neglected” as the reader. You just don’t exist. And neither do the pages. The words fly with a power of their own. They live.
And, I promise, “the ending” doesn’t kill your desire for more.
You know as well as I do that Thomas Locke is the best when it comes to spinning a yarn. (if you don’t yet know that.. well, you will) His stories are like a tapestry that has all of it’s threads in order. The reader won’t have to knot the loose ends at the finish.
Deb Haggerty, Positive Grace blog:
Fantasy has always been one of my favorite genres. Emissary, by Thomas Locke, has shot to the top of my list of favorites. Clean, crisp writing paired with descriptions that pull you into the environment make this a very enjoyable novel.
The story so enthralled me that I dreamt about Hyam’s adventures and woke myself up—only to read to the wee hours until I had finished. As I loved Hyam and Trace and Joelle, I am delighted to tell you this is merely the start of the adventures. Emissary stands by itself, though, with a beginning and a conclusion—unlike many series that leave you hanging.
As someone who is very picky about fantasy novels, I found Emissary to be a great addition to my fantasy shelf. The dialogue is quick, even explanations are left blunt and to the point, which works very well for this book.
The only time I had a struggle with the fast-paced nature was in the beginning. Because Locke leads in with no explanation (relying on the idea that the reader should learn as he or she continues), the intro of Hyam is a little jarring.
Overall I really loved this book. It serves as a full, separate story while also acting as an obvious beginning to a series. There is no crude humor. Hyam is a strong character with traits that one may question at times simply because he is not as much of an archetype
Cynde Suite, Amazon:
I am not sure that the seasoned fantasy reader will find this book more than just a prequel of better things to come. I believe the book should be classified a young adult fantasy as opposed to a fantasy for grown-ups. The action is mild and the evil while being terrible is not looked into in any amount of depth to instill fear.
I found there to be a great deal of wonderful build up to an ultimate conflict, but the actual conflict was resolved rapidly. The story did leave plenty of questions unanswered and had lots of innuendo of events to come in the next book. This was a pleasant read with no foul language and no explicit gory violence.
Nora St. Laurent, The Book Club Network blog
After reading Emissary, I asked Thomas Locke this question:
“This novel reminded me of the Lord of the Rings movies with elves, magic, and different kingdoms at war with each other. Good Wizards and bad. It reminded me some of the movie Princess Bride with the crazy things happening in the forests. What inspired you to write this novel?”
Thomas Locke replied, “My first passion as a young reader was science fiction and fantasy. When I started writing at age twenty-eight, my first mentor was Arthur C Clarke. But it was not until two years ago that I finally felt that singular urge to turn from my ‘tried and true’ creative directions and take this on.
Leading up to this point, I had become increasingly frustrated by the constant negative directions that both fantasy and science fiction were taking. The hopelessness, the undead—many of these stories I devoured. But did they all have to be tainted by this same darkness? Was there no place any more for the same sort of heroic adventure that so thrilled me as a youngster?
Finally I decided that it was time to stop complaining and do something different.”
I’m so glad he did.
Emissary shows the imaginative side of this author. This novel is filled with creativity, wonderment and suspense. I look forward to the next book in this series. This would make a good book club pick and a great escape. I highly recommend it.
Russ Hanley, Amazon
As a long-time reader of fantasy fiction, it is refreshing to find a story that doesn’t apologize for being fantasy or for unfamiliar geography and time through long-winded descriptions that distract the reader from the main flow of the story.
That being said, the graceful flow and development of the characters carries the reader along and reveals the background in a natural way that obviates the need for all of that extra supporting information. Much as in an actual relationship, you get to know the characters and settings in a more natural way. The way Locke weaves the story puts him at the forefront amongst the great writers of fantasy.
Heidi Jones, Amazon
I laughed when I read an earlier review of Emissary that said he read the book twice — and enjoyed it so much more the second time! The same situation happened to me. I was hoping to finish Emissary prior to starting a big project for work, so I rushed through it…and afterward thought, “Hmmm…It was good, but not great.”
After said project was finished, I again picked up Emissary and re-read it — and enjoyed it far more that second time through. I have read quite a bit of fantasy fiction — with Brandon Sanderson as my epic standard — so there were certain things I was looking for in this first fantasy book by Thomas Locke.
I have also read numerous books by this author in other genres and always loved how amazingly he develops his characters and plot. Those talents are definitely still very evident in Emissary. The only area that seemed a bit less strong to me was the development of the world in which Hyam lives.
The more I thought about it, though, I realized that I had a similar response after reading the first Harry Potter book. It was really good, but compared to later books in the series, as I would find out, it just wasn’t quite as strong. I think that’s why I enjoyed Emissary so much more the second time through. I was not rushed, and I already had an understanding of the world in which it occurred, so I was better able to enjoy the well-developed storyline. Locke has laid an excellent foundation for his Legends of the Realm series and I am very much looking forward to reading the other two when they come out!
Brian Robinette, Amazon
There is a new name in the fantasy genre. It’s Locke: Thomas Locke.
Move over, Martin and Rothfuss. Thomas Locke is the new up and coming fantasy writer. He crafts a beautiful story, and his characters are well developed.
Hyam and Joelle’s characters come to life in this tale of good versus evil, centered around a quest for truth.
Beth Underwood, Amazon
I enjoy a fantasy novel that includes at least one hero who grows through meeting challenges, where there is conflict between good and evil and good wins at a great price.
Of course, a little romance can’t hurt. The hero and emissary of the title learns after the death of his parents that his origins are different than what he had believed and he begins a search for his true history while discovering powers he didn’t know he possessed.
There is also a parallel story of a young woman on a similar quest. They both grow and become powerful allies against the enemy.
Most questions are answered by the end of this story providing enough closure for now. The unresolved questions set the scene for a sequel.
Christy Rettenmund, Amazon
I am a big fan of fantasy books and was excited to start a new series. From the beginning, the story sucked you in and kept you interested for the duration of the book.
The characters were wholesome with admirable qualities that made you identify with them and wish for their success.
The many plot twists kept the reader guessing and the fantasy world that Thomas Locke created was believable and well thought out. The history of the various people and realms could have been more completely explained to fill in some of the gaps but that wasn’t necessarily crucial to the story but rather of a personal interest to the reader. I would strongly recommend this book to readers that enjoy fantasy.