A Dark & Foreboding Fantasy Adventure!
Zelia doesn’t know who—or what—she is when the life she has always known is suddenly stripped away. She goes from cherished child under elven care to being turned over as a slave to the dark wizard, Asenten, whose sole purpose seems to be to weaponize Zelia and make her life a living hell. Her escape from the cave, where she has been isolated and tortured for an indeterminate amount of time, finds Zelia exposed to various cultures and creatures, with each new experience aiding her in her quest to find within herself higher powers and insights into her true identity.
Bold characters and a strong, page-turning plot line clearly define this tale as the author spins an absorbing and fascinating fantasy adventure filled with astonishing venues, fantastic creatures, and magic. Marie’s writing consistently builds excitement as her character, Zelia, moves from place to place, amassing knowledge, insight, and survival skills as she faces tremendous danger—and a high likelihood of death—at every turn.
Overall, Zelia’s plight certainly held my interest from beginning to end, however, there was a bit too much repetition with the author stressing her heroine’s physical challenges—The poor girl spends a great deal of her time passing out from her pain and unconscious. It’s easy to understand the author’s intent to show Zelia as a strong-willed, larger-than-life yet vulnerable hero, but her episodes of fragility could have been curbed back with virtually little effect on the overall storyline.
Although there are a number of grammatical errors in “Zelia”, they do not affect the overall enjoyment of the story. Following the characters’ dialogue is somewhat more challenging, however, since the author seldom presents a clear identification of who it is that is speaking in multiple character conversations. Incorrect punctuation, wrong tenses, and misspelled words are just some of the minor issues that could have been avoided with the help of a good editor.
The life-lessons imparted in this work focus on empathy, loyalty, conservation, respect for others, and self-acceptance, even as the story touches on many other topics of concern to teens and adolescents seeking guidance in our own modern, undefined world. Zelia is a model heroine, and her attributes are admirable.
From the very beginning of her tale, Author Marie injects a good deal of violence and suffering into “Zelia”. For example, the situation with the wizard holding Zelia prisoner and brainwashing her demonstrates a high level of prejudice and child-abuse. Not only is Zelia forced to undergo extreme physical and psychological torture (which she endures throughout the read), she must also become the abuser—the murderer—when Asenten tests her powers and orders her to execute several other victims, including innocent children and small animals. Although the violence and abuse presented in this story seems justified and has its place in the story, it is for this specific reason that I can only recommend “Zelia” to readers age 17 and up.
Find “Zelia” by Zora Marie on Amazon & Kindle here.
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