Foreword Reviews

Ephaidria

Clarion Rating: 3 out of 5

Ephaidria is a suspenseful, out-of-this-world adventure with breathtaking world-building and fun, lovable characters.

Jim Grieco’s Ephaidria is a complex science fiction and fantasy novel that builds up a world of magic and intrigue surrounding four very different characters with intertwined destinies.

Joshua is a gamer, Suki is an athlete, Tahani is a scientist, and Nicki is a musician. What they all have in common are innate supernatural abilities and a calling to save the world after an unexplained alien object crash-lands on Earth and sucks them all into its orbit. Leaving their studies, hobbies, and families behind, the four set out on a quest to discover the secrets of the alien object and to face off against a demonic enemy that could easily cost them their lives.

Characters are built with interesting and unique attributes. Each character has their own voice and history, as well as a drive that leads them on their quest to save the world. There are complex and well-integrated family relationships that serve to build up the characters and deeply humanize them.

While the four come from diverse backgrounds, their cultures are explored only in name. Dialogue ranges from stiff and overly-sophisticated to lax and unorganized in a way that makes the characters read almost like caricatures at times, and hefty dialogue tags slow the pace. Some of the character relationships feel unnatural.

The story’s greatest strength is its world-building. There are several major science fiction and fantasy elements that play in, from ghosts and aliens to supernatural powers. They are revealed in a meticulous way, heightening tension. Each element adds a layer of intrigue and suspense, resulting in a story that is unpredictable.

The prose is excessively wordy and includes clichés and awkward phrases. Redundant storytelling sometimes occurs, and it takes time to arrive at action scenes because of the heavy exposition used to introduce characters. Conversely, brief lines that encompass whole scenes make other parts of the story move too quickly. Passive narration sometimes diminishes the tension of scenes.

Still, this is a story with emotional depth. Suki and Nicki have tragic family backstories that are thoroughly explored; their pasts work to supplement their characterization and tie in the world of the supernatural with ghosts, visions, and connections to the world of the dead. High stakes make rooting for these characters feel natural.

Jim Grieco’s Ephaidria is a suspenseful, out-of-this-world adventure with breathtaking world-building and fun, lovable characters.

Reviewed by Tia Smith

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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