Venom and Song is the second book in The Berinfell Prophecies Series, coauthored by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper. I received a review copy from publisher Thomas Nelson as part of their BookSneeze blogger review program.
I actually received this book back in the summer, and decided to try and read book one first. Alas, 9 weeks of waiting for the library to deliver from out of network and still nothing, I gave up and figured I would dive into this new work. The authors do a pretty good job of retelling the key aspects of the first story, so I was at least familiar with the cast of characters’ situation. But what a cast of characters!
The series is a work of fantasy fiction, featuring elves, spiders, gwars, orcs and many other staples of this genre. The central characters are elven lords who had been secreted away on Earth but have since been brought back to Allyron, the Elven land. Each of these teenagers has an English name and an elven name and to honest, with the amount of characters around this gets horrendously confusing at times.
The book begins with a series of action sequences (e.g. a fiery battle then a white-water river ride) and connects the dots with backstory, shadows of future events and some attempts at character development. But I found it hard to really engage with the characters in a way that would draw me back to the story consistently.
Honestly, at around 400 pages long, the writing just isn’t compelling enough for me and I wonder how teenagers would fair, being as they are the intended audience?
I would say the book is adequate, and for fans of fantasy fiction this series may provide another opportunity to relay Biblical truths in fictional settings. But I shan’t be recommending this to people anytime soon. Though they’re big fans of Tolkien and Lewis, Batson & Hopper have not lived up to their standards.