Reviewed By Steven Robson for Readers’ Favorite
Herlot of Alonia by Maria Rosestone is without a doubt a classic tale reminiscent of the wondrous adventures of The Lord Of The Rings. Steeped in the small kingdom of Eraska, we fall under the spell of Herlot, her family, friends, and the magical creatures that surround her, as she grows up in a land where riches are measured by the contents of souls, and gold is taboo to all. This is a land where the breath of mystery kisses the chill air, open hearths glow in the reflection of homely hearts, and the magic of times lost touches those worthy. Only evil can shatter this paradise, and it snakes into Eraska, driven by King Felix of the kingdom of Isolda, who is twisted by a desire to overthrow Ipta, the most powerful empire known. When this plague descends on Herlot’s village of Alonia, her life is inexorably changed as she is carried through despair and horror, on a journey to save her people and restore the freedom of her country.
Maria Rosestone’s Herlot of Alonia is one of those rare gems that instills in the reader a rarefied state of paradox; torn between wanting to discover the story’s secrets and equally not wanting the tale to end. The pages of this book literally crackle with wonder, gripping you in a vice you will be unable to shake. The flow of the plot is spot on, with perfect subplots that will allow you to experience the full scope of emotions. All of the characters are superbly molded, and rich in their differences and depth. I loved so many of them, and their relationships, particularly the potential triangle between Herlot, Movo, and Seum, which planted the seeds of infinite possibilities. There were other elements woven into the story that truly enhanced the atmosphere, including but not limited to, the introduction of Benyamin, the mystery surrounding Manni, and even the Rite of Passage. Ms. Rosestone has created a world that evokes a feeling of awe in me, incredulous that such words could emanate from one imaginative mind.
Herlot of Alonia, the medieval fantasy debut from Maria Rosestone, is the first book in a trilogy of ancient magic, golden hearts, unicorns, and the desperate quest for survival from the epidemic bestowed on the land of Eraska by the wrath of a murderous King. Delivered into the hidden land of Eraska under the lullaby of a willow tree, Herlot of Alonia has displayed unnatural abilities from a young age. Her village fears the strange happenings surrounding her and deems her a bad omen. Pushed into isolation, she befriends a unicorn and engulfs herself in a magical world; however, the magic soon comes to an end when she is forced to realize that her imagination may actually be the source of her suffering. Just as Herlot reaches adulthood and has found her place in her village, her land is invaded by King Felix, a man willing to perform unspeakable acts in his search for a source of power to conquer the Empire of Ipta. Herlot's land is now under attack by strangers attempting to poison her family and friends. In the midst of chaos and torture, Herlot's magical friend returns and saves her from the King's wrath. But now it is Herlot's responsibility to not only save a magical world, but her people, as well. Is the magic real and can she use it to complete her mission? Can she not only trust herself, but a Prince and two Iptan warriors who pledge that they will lead her and her friends into safety? Or will she have to become the leader of a quest she never asked for, let alone develop the magical abilities she will need to succeed?