After suffering great loss, but still surviving impossible odds on their journey to Avanoth, the newly formed Collective travels across the massive Central Continent.
I was granted complimentary Audible access to Barrenworld: Den of Elyptus by J. Edwards Holt by the author himself in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for reaching out! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
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About the Book
Den of Elyptus
Barrenworld Book Two
by J. Edwards Holt
Published 23 January 2022
Page Count: 266
Published 14 March 2022
Length: 6 hours and 54 minutes
Narrator: Joel Jackson
Genre: Fantasy Adventure
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After suffering great loss, but still surviving impossible odds on their journey to Avanoth, the newly formed Collective travels across the massive Central Continent. Hunted by powerful dark forces, the unlikely group of heroes race against time to reach the den of the mighty dragon, Elyptus. But their journey will not be an easy one — as word of the Warlord’s Chalice and its power spreads, devastating truths are revealed and old enemies return to cause chaos and division.
My Rating: 4 Stars
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Den of Elyptus is a return to the world and characters of Barrenworld, following closely after the events of the previous book and running headlong into the den of a dragon. It’s packed with action, adventure, a little romance, and all sorts of shenanigans involving the personified magic of the Warlord’s Chalice.
I had a lot of fun listening to this one! When I reviewed the first book in this series, I said “This book feels vaguely like a Tolkein adventure, but if Tolkein had partnered with George Lucas.” I still stand by that! It’s high fantasy, classic dwarves, dragons, possessed evil objects, and high stakes, but the book also manages not to take itself too seriously. There’s room for comic relief, odd and absurd details that are just mundane to the characters of the world, and the characters are just so relatable. I particularly loved it when one character (Bartimaeus?) found himself in a winter wasteland sort of setting and simmered in the irony of missing the deadly heat of the desert they’d been in prior. Also, important choices between duty and desire. Always relatable! Very well done.
One minor criticism of sorts is that this didn’t feel like a cohesive novel, at least in the first half. This felt like a collection of short stories that are set one after another and complete a greater arc overall, but every 1-3 chapters felt like an arc had concluded at a natural “to be continued” point, like episodes in a TV series. It’s a valid way to structure a novel, for sure, but had I been reading a print/ebook copy rather than listening to the audio book it would have given me many opportunities to put the book down for the night and take a break, rather than running full steam ahead into the next chapter as the audiobook naturally lead me to do.
It was nice to hear Joel Jackson back as narrator! As before, Joel does an excellent job of performing the story in such a way that every character sounds distinct without adopting annoyingly forced voices. The pacing is a tad slow for my liking, but fortunately most audiobook players have playback speed options. I’ve learned to “listen fast” over the years, so perhaps this pacing is perfect for the average listener.
About the Author
Born in North Carolina, United States, J. Edwards Holt always knew that he wanted to be a writer. After graduating high school, he attended college and pursued a degree in education, but later decided to change course and follow his dream to become a novelist and children’s author.
Now a full-time writer, editor, and blogger, Holt spends his free time dreaming up stories and reading. He is passionate about spreading Christian messages through his writing, watching science fiction and super hero movies, and collecting comic books.
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Want more? Check out an interview with J Edwards Holt on my review post for Barrenworld!