Books, General

The Blighted Fortress | Review

Title: The Blighted Fortress

Author: David E. Dresner

Rating: 4 Stars

Dates read: 17 Nov 19 – 18 Nov 19

Publication date: 01 Nov 2019

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Genre(s): Time-Travel, Fantasy


This story begins in modern Chicago then moves to fifth-century Transylvania.

The teenage protagonists, Glenda and Traveler, are sent by Theo, their sanctuary god, deep into the primeval forests of the Carpathian Mountains. They must locate then neutralize an ancient demi-god called a “fire beast”.

The two must also survive the daunting challenges of isolated fifth-century Transylvania. Rome is now in its final death throes and the hoof beats of Attila the Hun echo across Europe. Civilization and Pax Romana are distant memories.

Magic, wits, and youthful courage must combine to face the fire creature. Survival, much less winning, is up for grabs.

*I received a copy of this book courtesy of Authoright and Clink Street Publishing as part of their The Grateful Boys Blog Tour*

This is a really new version of a long standing idea of journeying through time toward self discovery, knowledge and fantasy. Dresner’s second book in the Allies of Theo series follows Glenda and Traveller as they move through time to pursue the fantastical beasts and their own pursuit of knowledge.

The second book focuses on M, Theo, Glenda and Traveller and features a lot of the magical adventure narrative that is found in classical young adult and adult fantasy. The book not only spans continents, but time frames, and I could feel the authors knowledge and background within he stories and the areas pursued. The story didn’t feel unnatural or falsely of the time, the author infusing the book with the history of different areas and time frames with effortless ease and an obvious interest in everything from Egypt to Atilla that was mentioned.

The inclusion of religious undertones, through M and Theo, and a destructive fiery Demi-God provided an extra layer to the story. On the outset, the book is a traditional fantasy, but the authors story telling choice was completely unique, and tracking the characters through different historical periods as the plot twisted and the characters and relationships developed was a pleasant change from recent fantasy reads.

The story is very much action driven, with speech between the characters and the movement through space and time very much fuelling the narrative. The first section of the book is educative within the world and very much sets up both the reader and the young pair as the book progresses. I like that the reader learns with Glenda and Traveller, the book seemingly taking us on a journey with them throughout the story. I absolutely loved the imagery of Theo as a cat and couldn’t help but visualise Salem the cat from Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Whether intentional or not, the power and intelligence M and Theo possessed conjured memories of him.

While the book is definitely action driven and fast paced, the editing/chapter construction felt a little disjointed and haphazard. I was not a fan of the shorter chapters and felt like the short length served little to no purpose for the progression of the narrative which was a shame, because they ended up serving as a distraction, and I felt slowed the action that was building through the book.

Overall, a very unique example of Young Adult fantasy that features growing and principled characters and a truly unique narrative style and structure.


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