Author: James H. Stevens
Review by Eric Sparks
Quick Q&A and Summary:
“Star Rating” – I (Eric) don’t do that on this site. It’s not fair to readers or writers. I could give both Homer’s The Odyssey and Adam’s The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy 5 stars – but that doesn’t mean they are equal, and it’s very possible to enjoy one and hate the other (you will find a star-rating on Amazon from me because Amazon forces me to give it one).
Summary of Book Type
Fern Majestic offers readers a chance to enjoy a YA Epic Fantasy without some of its most painful tropes (the love triangle and teen drama). Because of this, I didn’t even realize I was reading a YA at first, though once I learned the pacing made a lot more sense (the pacing isn’t too fast to enjoy, but like many who love High Fantasy, I love deep-diving even if it slows the pace down more than even the average adult cares for).
Still, there is certainly a lot of lore introduced that Mr. Stevens can certainly dive further into as he develops the world Harth in subsequent novels. The main character is likable – something else that is rare for me in YA novels (yes, you are picking up on a bias against YA, which actually shows just how good this book is – managing to make a YA I like is so rare I gave the book that, though I don’t give star ratings on this website, I gave it 5-stars on Amazon & Goodreads).
The action is fast-paced yet descriptive and easy to follow along. The lore connecting dragons with other creatures, including humans, is explored much more deeply than the other lore and is quite fascinating. If you or your young adult relative enjoyed Narnia and its characters as a child (especially Reepicheep the Mouse, Bree the Horse, and Jewel the Unicorn), you will absolutely love Fern Majestic. To quote my review from Amazon/Goodreads (full text of that review quoted below), this tale is full “of valiant heroism, with men and women willing to march towards certain death either with laughter on their lips; a quiet, grim resolve and acceptance; or a savage yell defying fate, all for the sake of friendship and honor.”
Q: Did I enjoy the book?
Q: Would I recommend the book to others?
Fern Majestic is unlike any Fantasy novel I’ve ever read before. Enjoyable throughout, the book has two sections that can be easily distinguished by their distinct tones. At first, the story is bright, wonderous, and adventurous; it feels at the start more akin to Arthurian Legends following a hero on an errand who encounters fae creatures and visits their marvelous lands, and less like modern Epic Fantasy that started gaining traction a little more than a half-century ago. Without going into spoiler territory, there is a great shift in tone a little more than 1/3 of the way through the novel, as our heroes learn more and more of what they are up against. At this point, while still filled with wonderous new lands and creatures, the weight of what is at stake takes away the lightheartedness that filled the first several chapters. I personally enjoyed both parts, but there will surely be some who enjoy one far more than the other.
But in both sections, this stays constant: Fern Majestic is a delightful YA tale for those who enjoy stories of valiant heroism, with men and women willing to march towards certain death either with laughter on their lips; a quiet, grim resolve and acceptance; or a savage yell defying fate, all for the sake of friendship and honor. Along the way we are gifted glimpses of a rich, storied history in the world of Harth that many will want to learn more about. And, fortunately for us, Mr. Stevens has plenty more on the way.-Amazon and Goodreads Review of Fern Majestic by Eric Sparks