Thomas Locke

Reviewers Say Emissary is Suitable for Young Adults

Emissary by Thomas LockeToday we hear from two reader reviewers: Cindy Anderson and Judith Barnes. Both of them believe Emissary is appropriate for young adults and homeschooled teenagers.

Cindy Anderson:

Emissary has everything a fantasy lit fan can ask for. It is fast-paced and has just enough characters to keep it moving without having to make a chart of who’s who and what their purpose is in the story.

Neither does it dwell on long drawn out descriptions of landscapes and irrelevant histories of the characters or the reason for their position in the plot. With a little bit of imagination and a few choice words, the reader is able to create their own landscapes and fill in any blanks about which other authors tend to overwrite.

Fantasy lit is one of my favorite genres of writing. I enjoy reading it as an escape from the real world in which we are forced to live. If only I had such special powers to use to make this bad world better!

Because I have read a good bit of fantasy lit—especially by Brooks, Eddings, Jordan, and of course Tolkien—I found several similarities to these fantasy adventures, but this in no way detracted from the enjoyment I received when reading this book. At first I thought it showed a lack of creativity on the part of the author, but later on I decided that in some ways it allowed the reader to tie their past readings from other authors with this new one and feel a sense of continuity with regards to special powers and how they are manifested. After all, in the world of fantasy, magic is magic, or so it would seem.

As with any fantasy lit story, someone, or multiple someones, must have powers that are not the norm for everyone. The fact that Locke allowed certain characters to have powers, and to use them to fight darker powers without writing to be excessively dark, is a plus in my opinion. I have read fantasy books before where I felt my skin crawl because of the occult nature depicted in the writing. Needless to say I didn’t read more writings of authors who took fantasy to the realm of downright evil.

As a homeschooling parent, I was impressed by the way Locke handled the relationship between Hyam and Joelle. All too often, books that I thought my children would enjoy reading ended up not being given to them because the plot included sex scenes, discussions, or innuendoes that I didn’t feel were necessary to the storyline and definitely not something about which I would condone my children reading, and I’m talking teenagers here.

The fact that Hyam did not take advantage of Joelle’s apparent lack of a moral upbringing is a positive that is needed in literature today regardless of which age category it may be meant. Maybe if more secular as well as Christian writers would embrace this fact, my daughters wouldn’t have such a hard time finding a Christian young man who behaves as a Christian young man should behave. If more young girls would read this as a lesson that one should not “throw” herself at a man in order to get his attention, more young girls would manage to keep their purity longer and preferably until they married. A gold star should indeed be given Mr. Locke for his ability to point this out in a fantasy adventure story without being preachy about it.

To say I am looking forward to the sequel would be an understatement. A bit of a preview of what is to come was given at the end of the book and I can’t wait for the second book to make its debut. All in all, this was a wonderful book for escaping, imagining, and enjoying. I so appreciate having been given the opportunity to read it.

Judith Barnes:

Normally, fantasy is not my preferred genre. However, I jumped at the opportunity to be a member of the launch team for Emissary.

The writing style is straight forward, and the plot is easy to follow. The story is enriched with appropriately spaced lyrical descriptions, such as “the light was cathedral soft” and “the city of the elves was a poem of natural beauty.”

The characters are deeply developed and a pleasure for the reader to meet. Locations are clearly described and identified.

In spite of Emissary being identified as fantasy, there are moral messages tucked away in this superbly crafted novel.

While marketed as a novel for adults, it is also suitable for mature young adults. The battle scenes are written with a minimum of horror. There is just the right balance of action, romance, and humor.

I look forward to reading book two in Legends of the Realm.

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