Luke Callindor was born into Windemere’s most decorated family of adventurers. Since his birth, he has been treated with the greatest amount of respect and awe. Now, with a lifetime of training and the reckless cockiness of youth, Luke has set out to prove that he deserves the admiration that comes from being a Callindor.
Luke gets his chance when he convinces a royal messenger to hire him to protect the heir of Duke Solomon. This future leader is secretly attending Hamilton Military Academy, an esteemed school run by the former mercenary, Selenia Hamilton. It is a dangerous secret mission requiring that Luke pretend to be an average student while keeping an eye out for any sign of danger. Unfortunately, Luke has no idea which student the heir is and a demonic assassin is already several steps ahead of him. Finding himself in over his head and constantly in trouble, the young warrior realizes that the only things he has on his side are some new friends and his unwavering courage.
Can Luke find and protect the heir while keeping his own head attached to his neck? And, can he avoid being suspended long enough to see his mission through to the end?–Goodreads
There were some really original and unique aspects to this book. I thought the use of zombies in this novel was an out of bounds achievement. I wasn’t expecting to see popular genres of fantasy and horror cross that way, and the mindless killing machine mentality of the zombies in Windemere were somewhat reminiscent of “The Five Kingdom” Novels by Vivian French, another series of books that I adore that also crosses genres.
There is a lot of humour along the way, so even when things are serious for the characters and there is peril and danger, the author keeps you laughing and enjoying the comedy of the character’s situations. I appreciated this quality, as it has always been one of my favourite things about fantasy. The character’s also have the chance to be reflective, serious and compassionate, as I had hoped they would.
Luke is a well thought out character. He is trying to live up to the family name and meet the expectations of everyone around him, but in the process, is also trying to forge his own path and be who he is.
In the beginning, I was concerned that basing a character on expectation had been done before and may be a weak point for the story, but Charles Yallowitz made it his own. Luke makes friends, enemies and ultimately chooses to hone the gifts he already has for the betterment of his situation and that of those he cares for. This is my definition of a hero. Appropriately titled book–“Beginning of a Hero.”
One of the other things I liked about this story, was that you never quite knew what was going to happen next. The author did not waste miles of paper telling the reader every single thing that was about to happen, and managed to keep his narration to a minimum and let the reader discover the events as they occurred. Many fantasy author have a tendency to narrate their stories to death, but this author didn’t. I like it.
The book was written in third person and really fit in keeping with the RPG feel of the story. Since everything is progressive, the reader always feels as though they are moving through time at the same rate as the characters. This genuinely made me feel like the action was happening in front of my eyes. I think Charles Yallowitz may be ruining my love for the past tense. Perhaps I should deduct a star after all.
My favourite part of this book, hands down–was when Luke arrived at the training camp. He was self assured, cocky and a brat. All within a matter of hours, he learned that he should not be so certain of himself after all.
The way Mr. Yallowitz handled this was most impressive. Luke could have copped out and become a groveling fool, or he could have become even cockier and as a result, a less likable character. Instead, he accepted his faults, admitted his weaknesses and renewed his spirit by becoming even more determined to learn. This showed me two things: 1.) This is a character that can be both resilient and endearing. 2.)This character will not fail me in further novels. I can trust him to be reliable and intelligent.
The emerging friendship between Luke and Nimby is another strong point for this novel. Every great hero needs a sidekick of sorts, and that is the role that Nimby fills in this first book. What would Harry have been without Ron? What would have become of Frodo without Sam? Nimby is the glue that binds Luke to this tale.
I really don’t think there is anything I would have changed about this novel. I liked the dog (Stiletto). I liked the magic. I love the Lich. (Think epitome of evil.) I thought all of the supporting characters were well done. I am totally infatuated with Fizzle. I think I may even love him. I also enjoyed that each character has a personality of their own. You don’t have to worry about having “says so-ad-so” every sentence as the speaker is identifiable through the pattern of their speech. I think I may actually go into withdrawals until I get more Fizzle.
I do have to say, it has taken me a bit of time and effort to drop the R from windermere and get Windemere. I blame Oscar Wilde. Not the author’s fault, classic literature buff here.
I am really looking forward to the next book. If you love a good fantasy and have been missing the way things used to be, when heroes were truly heroic and didn’t back down from a challenge, pick up a copy and read it. You won’t be sorry you did.