Title: The Summoned Ones (#1 Flight to Bericea)
Author: Darryl A. Woods
Published: 29th of February 2020 – Bresford Ridge Publishing
Format: Paperback – 319 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
This weekend has gone by so fast but I’ve gotten quite a bit done, I’m ready for a little break now, so I’m going to spend the rest of the day reading, aka, my favourite thing to do.
Today, I’m so happy to be doing a review for a new author request! I was really intrigued by Darryl’s pitch when he sent me the email about his book, The Summoned Ones, it sounded very original but also really good, so I decided to give it a try. Thank you, Darryl, for so kindly sending me a physical copy of your book for review, it made all the difference to my reading experience! All opinions are my own.
The Bericean army was in Malabrim for the ninth straight fighting season. Over the past 9 years, Zybaro, the leader of a small band of unknowns, had evolved from his days as a minor usurper of a tiny kingdom. Now, almost the entire country of Malabrim was under Zybaro’s control, and his army was large enough to easily challenge Bericea’s army. Still, Bericea continued its raids into Malabrim, hoping to stem Zybaro’s methodical progress and thwart his tyrannical means of control. Zybaro had seized village after village, forcing anyone capable of joining his army and enslaving all who remained in deplorable working conditions to supply his army.
This latest conflict with Zybaro had pushed General Darnon to a decision, one he had resisted making for over a year. Though he still held grave reservations about the Prophecies, he was willing to support the clerics who would attempt the summoning. The details of the ritual had recently been discovered in an ancient tome. The clerics were confident they could bring forth the Summoned Ones of Prophecy, those mysterious beings who would aid Bericea in its time of greatest need.
Darnon also had concerns about the location of the summoning. It would have to take place farther into Malabrim than they had ventured in many years. And even if the ritual was effective, it would be a great challenge to get the Summoned Ones safely back to Bericea, in addition to the soldiers sent to protect them. However, Darnon felt that morale was so low if they survived this battle, he owed his troops the hope the summoning ritual could bring.
Join the soldiers of Bericea and the Summoned Ones through a life-or-death struggle. The Summoned Ones was made up of a small college-aged group of friends from a small Kentucky town near the Daniel Boone National Forrest, who find themselves somehow brought to a chaotic world through magic. Their epic journey will push the Summoned beyond the limits of their endurance. This unlikely group will discover many truths about themselves and experience another world beyond their imagination.
The Summoned Ones by Darryl A. Woods is the first book in a new fantasy series called Flight to Bericea which follows 8 friends who get sent into a different world in which they are known as the Summoned Ones. The blurb really intrigued me when I first got Darryl’s email, I really love books with groups of friends that go on a mission, and I especially like the sort of Middle Age setting that they get transported to, it really felt like a historical fiction/ time travel/ epic fantasy and I’m so glad I decided to give it a shot.
We first meet the 8 friends – Mike, Will, Jeremy, Josh, Pattie, Steve, Gloria, and Brandon in present-day United States. I’m not going to give too much away about the start because it isn’t hinted in the blurb, but I was definitely surprised about this beginning, but then it all made sense once the group of friends was transported to the Summoning Chairs in Bericea.
Throughout the book, we follow the characters who have been split up – one group going one way, another going the other and one lone Summoned One left with a whole cavalry – as they weave their way through Malabrim, Bericea, the two sides of the Realm.
I really liked this setting and it’s clear that this is sort of the Middle Ages but not really because some things that the characters wear or things they say don’t come from the Middle Ages, some things originate before and some after. Our Summoned Ones even think that this is peculiar when they first arrive in Bericea, but this land is very well established and I really liked the world building that went on in this first book.
I don’t want to say too much about the characters and spoil you, but each character is very distinct, and except for one of them (I’m sure you’re not going to like her either though), I really liked reading about each and every one, learning about their lives and their experiences and seeing them come to terms with their situation and really making the best of it.
At the start, I thought that the language/dialogue used by the characters was a bit clunky and it didn’t really sound like they were 20-year-olds, but as the book went on, this didn’t bother me as much because it was clear that it was part of who they were. I couldn’t tell you who my favourite character is at the minute because we get so much information about each one and they are all so distinct, but I’m definitely leaning towards Pattie, Steve, and Mike. These three just feel really wholesome, and even though they are all realistic and really fleshed out, these ones just have an extra something that makes them that bit more different. I have to say, I don’t like Gloria, but I don’t think we are supposed to like her anyway, aha!
It was also so interesting to read all about the different ranks in the army, the different people, the clerics with their magic. This book is absolutely jam-packed with amazing characters, I especially liked Phomel, he seems really nice and very loyal. I think Darryl did a great job of making all his characters unique and stand out because there are so many that they could easily get swallowed up by the masses. But they don’t, and that’s what I really like about this book.
Again, I don’t want to go into too much detail here for fear of spoiling you if I can’t stop talking, but I’ll give you a rundown of some elements that we read about in this book.
Firstly, this whole group – except Gloria – are keen outdoorsy type adventurers, so this setting was absolutely perfect for them. I adored the group dynamics, and even though the group of 8 gets split into 3, 4, and 1, I really liked seeing them all together at the start and then in these smaller groups. I adore books with friendship, and this one is no exception, they all look out for each other and I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in the series to hopefully learn more about them and see them all back together again. They’ve got a great group dynamic and a really strong relationship, they may be young but they aren’t petty, shallow, or immature, which is really refreshing.
There is a fair bit of magic in this book, specifically magic made with music, be it with a voice or an instrument. The clerics are the ones who have these magical abilities and are somewhat shunned by the rest of the population, but they have the ability to heal with different elements – earth, air, water, fire – by weaving a song, but also fight against the enemy and defend their comrades. I had such a great time reading about this different magic system, I’m such a sucker for cool magic and this didn’t disappoint.
Finally, I have to say that there is a lot of fighting and battle/war dynamics in this book. For the whole of the book, the various groups of Summoned Ones and their accompanying soldiers are racing towards safety, and a lot of the time, they come into contact with the enemy. These parts were a bit slower and quite detailed which slowed me up a bit, once or twice I lost track of what was happening because it’s very complex and with quite a lot of lingo, but I have to say bravo do Darryl for pulling this off because even though at times the pace was slower, it was so enthralling and I was so captivated.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, I had such a great time reading this book and it surprised me so much. I knew I was going to enjoy it, but I wasn’t expecting this. It was nicely paced, at times a bit slower and complex than I would have liked, but overall it was very well-developed, fleshed out, and all-around a great execution of this fantasy world with the world-building, the characters, the politics, war strategies, and the magic system.
Everything was very vivid, and I really enjoyed reading about every characters’ special ability, be it Will and Jeremy’s metalwork, Pattie’s healing, Brandon’s fighting, or Mike’s strategies. I gave this book 4 stars, I really enjoyed it, but at some places, it was a tad slow and the start took a while for me to get into because of the dialogue, but otherwise, I really enjoyed this book and I am really looking forward to book 2. The ending was really well pulled off and now I’m very curious about what’s next for this group of friends!
Thank you so much Darryl for reaching out to me and asking me to read and review your book, and for sending me a physical copy. I would highly recommend this first book in the Flight to Bericea series!
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – DARRYL A. WOODS
Darryl Woods is a storyteller who hones his craft entertaining coworkers. He also enjoys regaling family and friends with stories of his upbringing in rural Ohio, of the motorized contraptions his father fabricated, and of the timber cutting and sawmill work he did with his father-in-law. With an appetite for reading fantasy, it was inevitable he would choose to write about an epic journey in a world dominated by magic and sword fighting. Find out more about Darryl on his website!
If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK (affiliate link) – Amazon FR (affiliate link) – AbeBooks (affiliate link) – The Book Depository (affiliate link) – Amazon US – Waterstones – Barnes and Noble – Kobo