• Book Review: 'The Epimetheus Trial:Elder Blood'

    What makes a hero? Is it destiny, personality, or a little of both? Elder Blood by E.A. Setser is an epic fantasy and science fiction novel. The combination of a young girl with wings growing out of her back and technology that can alter memories are only some of the examples of a world which combines cultures from the past, present, and future together.

    The country of ArcNos is one has technology similar to our own, although the military uses both guns and quarterstaffs at the same time. On the other hand, the nation of Berinin is a tribal community that has deliberately decided against the use of technology in order to preserve their culture. Seltzer creates this world for a story of war and struggle against an unstoppable force. Elder Blood spans both time and distance, as Sinkua, Galo, and Eytea grow up and travel from place to place trying to both get retribution and safety for the people left behind after the destruction of Berinin, a peaceful nation.

    Hybrids, individuals with both physical traits that are unusual, as well as elemental powers, are the rebellion’s only hope to remain free from the conquering presence of ArcNos’s military. Sinkua has rage problems, even as he is one of the noblest figures in the conflict. Galo is torn between taking up leadership of Berinin after the passing of his grandfather, and finding justice for his death. Eytea attempts to get out from under the shadow of a past with an abusive parent.

    Elder Blood explores what makes a hero, how to stand up against evil, and how to get justice, which makes this an adventure in the truest sense. Highlighting extraordinary young people as main characters focuses on the idea that responsibly creates the obligation and opportunity to be a hero. Elder Blood’s approach to the rebellion is classic good against evil, but many of the characters have their own problems and justifications for their actions. The least sympathetic character is Eytea’s father, who does not even acknowledge her as his own, because of her wings. Her mother’s support and reassurance is vital in providing Eytea with her confidence.

    There is a lot to keep track of, but the central characters are memorable. It is not a quick read and the pacing is slow in sections, but it spends time introducing the characters, conflicts, and the world so that I was invested in the outcome. The dialogue is slightly formal when coming from the military command and when Sinkua and Gallo are trying to convince others of their cause. On the other hand Spril’s dialogue is macho and informal. The dialogue is balanced with description and reflection. The description of characters and landscapes focus on specific details. The following description of Sinkua’s father illustrates this.
    “At well over two meters tall with broad shoulders, his stature was indisputably intimidating. Adding to the image were his thick black locks of hair, naturally matted in small patches. Despite looking to be something of a warlord, he was among the newest recruits in ArcNos‘s internationally renowned Military Guild. His name was CreSam.”
    I would be interested in in future novels continuing this story. I would recommend this book to readers who value a unique backdrop for a classic story. Readers will love the epic scope of the tale, even as it remains focused on a few primary characters.


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