The Jestivan (Erafeen Book 1) written by David F. Farris takes us through the world of Kuki Sphaira where light battles dark. Literally. The Light Realm is sandwiched between the Light Empire and the Dark Realm. The realms are currently in the longest period of peace in history but that all changes quickly.
We enter this journey with Bryson, a lanky, not too cool sixteen-year-old boy from the Intel Kingdom where electric energy is the key. His father is a legend, long gone from this world. His mother…a mystery. Bryson, along with nine other students from Phesaw (the central school in the Light Realm) are chosen to become Jestivan, protectors and fighters with extraordinary abilities. Hidden allies and perfectly timed schemes force the Jestivan to take action sooner rather than later and one of them is captured. Bryson will do anything to get his fellow Jestivan back, even if that means staring death in the face.
I really enjoyed this book. I think this is just the beginning of what will turn out to be an epic series. Let me pull out my list and we’ll dive into some key points of the story. (Yes, I have an actual list of issues I wanted to visit):
What I liked about this book:
1. THE COVER!! It’s gorgeous! This is what caught my eye in the first place. I very rarely read the summary of a book before making a purchase. My philosophy is to walk through a bookstore (or skim through the book section on Amazon which is where I found this lovely beast). If a cover catches my eye I snatch it up. I come across some flops but it makes things so much better when I uncovered this gem.
2. I loved the characters. Bryson, Olivia (and Meow Meow) and Toshik were my favorites. They didn’t seem forced at all. The characters felt real to me. They acted the way I would. They were sarcastic and witty but still held on to the deeper issues that make them who they are.
3. I also liked the universe. Mainly, I loved the magic. I liked how each realm had it’s own abilities; speed and agility, flames, electricity…the list goes on and on. It was a new take on an old plotline.
4. Floating islands? What?? I pictured something similar to the Hallelujah Mountains in Avatar but bigger and more mysterious. I also liked the fact that Earth was mentioned at one point. Although a very brief description, it still lit my heart up with excitement. Is this another planet in our current universe?
5. The maps at the beginning of this book were a big plus for me. I love having something I can look at and know exactly where the characters have been or plan to go. The text was easy to read from my Kindle app on my iPhone.
6. The storyline flowed really well. I actually felt like this book could have been broken down into two books. So much happened in the first book, I want more!
7. I also loved how the action scenes weren’t forced. Some of my favorite books have action scenes that just don’t sit well with me **cough cough Amy Bartol cough cough** Maybe it’s just my imagination but I feel like David Farris took the time and energy to research these scenes to make them more realistic. I’ve watched enough UFC in my lifetime to have a feel for fighting – what’s possible to execute and what’s not. I read a few of the fight scenes to my husband who was a wrestler and studies MMA and he agreed with me. These weren’t just punches and kicks thrown around to make a point. These seemed like legitimate fighting styles that were researched or at least taken great care to write.
What I didn’t like about this book:
1. The humor. Yes, yes, it’s a little hypocritical but just hear me out. I loved the fact that the characters were sarcastic and funny but sometimes I felt like it was a little over the top. I think that if I were in the middle of battling with the King/Prince of the Dark Realm the last thing on my mind would be a witty comment. A little too much humor but I wasn’t turned off by it.
2. I think too many characters were introduced at one time with not enough detail. I was a little overwhelmed at first. I had to go back and re-read a few parts to make sure I knew who the characters were referring to. Which brings me to my next dislike: the character and world building detail. I felt like we were given enough detail to make sense of things but I like more. I wanted more detail about the Jestivan, the Bozani, the Dev Slaves, the Pogu… I also felt that the world building lacked a little in the detail department. When I’m reading a story that is basically building an entire universe I like to know a little more about it, not just skim the surface. This is how I feel the book could have been broken out into two books. With more detail added to the characters and the universe it would have definitely taken up more space.
The rest is only minor questions that I had asked myself throughout the book. Little things that I won’t bother you with because they might not even mean anything to you. You’ll have to read it and find out for yourself.
All in all, this book is a definite must read. Every book has pieces that I don’t like and this was nothing that I couldn’t overcome. David F. Farris is a magician and I can’t wait to get my hands on this book for my personal library as well as the second book in this series! Five stars to you, Mr. Farris. I look forward to reading your future books.