• Book Review: "The Birth of Death" by Joseph P. Macolino

    The Birth of Death, part of The Legacy of Evorath series by Joseph P. Macolino, is a high fantasy story about the importance of unity when combating evil. Macolino talks about how the individual can feel trapped by their society and how they can make a difference anyway.

    The Birth of Death follows the experiences of an eleven Ranger, Artimus and Savannah, whom works in the lab and has knowledge of druid magic. As they develop romantic feelings for one another, they face the knowledge that everything they hope for could instantly end. Together with Ironside, a young centaur, and Tel’ Shira, a Felite warrior (a feline-like race), and an avatar called forth by a group of druids from each race, they seek to protect the forest from the demonic Yezurkstal.

    Macolino does an excellent job building his setting. The elven city is a place where everyone has his or her place. Individual elves have different responsibilities and have to contribute to the city as a whole. The food and other resources they receive are dependent on their role in society with politicians considered the most valued members. This stirs up feelings of unrest, even though the politicians and the king consider themselves responsible for the elves peaceful existence. Explaining the different types of food eaten, as well as how houses are constructed provides a full picture of elven society.

    I appreciated how the author showed how Artimus focused on detail in his work was as Ranger. The following section has him contemplating the significance of black hair found at the scene of a kidnapping.

    “Even knowing that the suspect had black hair did not mean that this case was over. Every black-haired elf would have to be interrogated, and then, if none of them were guilty, every other creature in the vicinity would have to be questioned.
    But the lab mages had determined that the suspect was elvish. Or had the conclusion been made prematurely?”
    Macolino also shows how the magic works in this society. It is enacted through mental concentration and focusing on individual pieces. For example the scene where the druids call up the avatar to protect the forest each individual druid brings a trait from their species into the spell.

    The pacing was fast, particular through the battle scenes towards the end of the book. The viewpoints change quickly through these sections, and the action is quick and leaves little time for reflection on anything other than looming death. This section illustrates the confusion that the battle brings to the characters.

    “Ahead in the northeast tree, he saw Tel’ Shira signaling something to Fletching. It looked like she saw the enemy halt up ahead. Tightening his grip on the bow, he raised his left arm up slightly in anticipation. From his peripherals, he saw Fletching signal for Tel’ Shira to keep her eyes trained ahead. What was going on?”
    I would recommend The Birth of Death to anyone looking for a fantasy that pits honorable protagonists against seemingly unstoppable evil, while trying to convince their people that it is a problem that needs examination.

    Get "The Birth of Death" at Amazon.com

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