By: Patricia Perry
Publisher: Publish America
Publication Date: August 2005
Reviewed by: Pamela Victor
Review Date: November 18, 2008
Ultimate good battles ultimate evil in a land inhabited by elves, dwarves, powerful nomads, soul-stealers, and other wicked and whimsical creatures in the fantasy adventure Quest for the Source of Darkness. The action revolves around the mysterious character, Ramira, whose origins are unknown to even herself. She awakens to discover herself taking shelter from a great storm in a rugged and dangerous land, tending to a handsome elven stranger named Danyl. Ramira struggles to discover who she is, why she is there, and how she can fulfill her central role in the great war between Good and Evil.
Ramira finds solace living among Danyl and the other elves under his rule, but terror seems to haunt her. Until her arrival, most communities in the land lived relatively peacefully together, but as Ramira arrives a terrible evil force is gaining strength, and attempts to overtake the coexisting inhabitants. This evil force contains no fewer than three levels of demon -- the Kreetch, the Radir and the Vox -- each more formidable and horrific than the other, who all seek the potent “Source.” On the side of Good, the elves, dwarves and nomads have their own mighty force, the “Green Might.” Not surprisingly, these two great influences clash in an all-or-nothing effort to become the final ruler of the land. Ramira finds herself in the middle of it all. Her heart fights for the side of Good but does the Evil inhabit her soul?
This book contains a plethora of major literary themes: good vs. evil, a voyage of self-discovery, a Romeo and Juliet romance, and a search for true unification of communities. These themes also battle it out in this book, often to the demise of the story. It seems as though the author poured much rumination and thought into her first novel, which unfortunately suffers from an over-abundance of riches. Quest for the Source of Darkness contains just too much of, well, too much. Too many complicated types of creatures, too many different forms of evil, too many competing story threads. I found myself cringing every time a new race or character was introduced, overwhelmed by details, convoluted names and unnecessary sub-plot lines. A good editor should have advised the author to combine many of the races and characters for clarity purposes, simplify the plot, and pare away the less vital details. Perhaps there are two or three good books hidden in this 422-page saga.
Nevertheless, I found myself compelled to persevere through the mire of details, motivated by the strength of the primary characters and intriguing nature of the land created in Quest for the Source of Darkness. The author creates absorbing characters that seem to stick with the reader long after the book has been closed. Ramira is a terrific heroine. She is smart, strong, and savvy. The battle between Good and Evil takes place not only in the land but also within her very soul. The charm of her character make us root for her throughout the book. Her love interest, Danyl, also proves to be an appealing character. I enjoyed spending time with him, and remained interested in his path and place in the story. Indeed, there is a mirror struggle within his soul as well. Also, the elf’s town of Bystyn is an enchanting land populated by sympathetic, lovely characters. In the end, I just wish there had been more coloring of the main characters and primary plot lines and less of the minor elements of this story.
Quill says: Devoted fans of the fantasy genre will enjoy the characters, mystery, and adventure in this tale of good vs. evil.