Never has a curse. It's a useful curse to have as its saved his life on more than one occasion. But it's a curse nonetheless – or is it? Whatever it is, Never wants to know why he has it and what it means. He sets out on a journey to find out with nothing more than his sharp wit and a hunch that the answer lies somewhere in the mysterious and remote Amber Isle.
The Amber Isle is the first book in 'The Book of Never' series by Ashley Capes
The Amber Isle by Ashley Capes is a fantasy adventure novella that includes one of my favourite elements of the genre – the quest. We begin at an Inn (which I always love) where we meet our hero, Never. Never is wry, witty and just a touch cocky. While it's frequently secondary characters who get all the best lines in fantasy adventures – think Peregrin Took and Merry Brandybuck – in this book, the best lines are left squarely with the main character, Never. Yes, Never has a bit of a mouth that runs away with him and leads him into trouble, but he made me laugh on more than one occasion.
Capes is a master of imagery, and in this aspect he doesn't disappoint with The Amber Isle. The setting is conveyed beautifully. The political world is in somewhat of a mess as the empire of Malosa slowly falls to the Vadiya invasion. This tumultuous background, though not fully fleshed out, was interesting, and I anticipate we'll be seeing more of it in future installments of the series.
Readers who enjoy action, adventure, humour and a dollop of mystery with their fantasy will eat up this novella. For a short book, it also has an interesting cast of secondary characters and I hope we see their return.