Book Review, Fantasy

War of the Staffs by Steve Stephenson

The goddess Adois brings a powerful vampire warlock named Taza through the void to turn Muiria into a planet of evil using her powerful staff. Needing an army, he turns a race of dark elves into vampires, but Prince Tarquin is born to fulfill a prophecy to stop Taza.
The prince cannot do it alone. The Wizard Celedant sends him to the Borderers, an elite group of dwarves to learn how to fight, while the wizard begins his search for the Staff of Adaman, the only thing capable of thwarting Taza and Adois’ Staff.
War of the Staffs is the search for two pieces of the ancient Staff of Adaman to counter Adois’ plans. The darkness is rising and using the black power of the Staff of Adois and his army of dark elves, giants, and orcs, Taza will begin a reign of terror the planet will not soon forget.

War of the Staffs is your typical fantasy story with the hero journey formula. There are wizards, dragons, dwarves, and elves, along with vampires. Yes, you read that right, vampires. It sounded odd, but I tried it. I am still not sure how I feel about it. It kept throwing me off till the end of the book. But this will not stop me from finishing the trilogy. I enjoyed this story and would like to see how it finishes.

Tarquin is a young prince who was prophesied long ago to bring down the evil taking over the homeland. This character has a long way to go. He seemed to grow a little as a character, as in maybe more confident with himself and the choice he made. But I still feel he is a little flat. I am hoping in the sequels we see the character grow into the character they need in the prophecy.

While Tarquin is learning to prepare for the prophecy, the Wizard Celedant begins his research and part. I think Celedant was better written than Tarquin. I love his personality and growth. He seemed to always be understanding while teaching at the same time. I am looking froward to seeing his development in the next two books.

The villain of the story is a vampire warlock named Taza. I am still wrapping my head around him. When I think of vampires, I think of paranormal fantasy. Which kudos on throwing that element into this particular fantasy. He is an interesting character, but I am not sure if he was as well-rounded as he could have been. It makes me wonder if he is just the villain and the true antagonist is the goddess Adois whom brought Taza into this world. I will have to wait and see in the next two books.

World building is somewhat like building a character itself. In this story, the author did this very well. The society of the different races was understandable, and the author described the locations of the cities and lands well. It felt like you were there.

This story was good for the first book in a trilogy. There were some slow parts, but it had a decent pace most of the time. If you like sword and sorcery and vampires, then I recommend this story to you.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion.

I give this book a 3/5

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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