Pilot Axel Lennart always thought the Völvur were a myth. After all, what kind of crazy person believes in dark sorcerers? Not Axel, thats for sure.
But suddenly, the Regime (rulers of his planet Eleusis) are swarming the ice fields around his home, looking for the mysterious artifact, one rumored to be an ancient Völvurian weapon. They’re not the only people searching for it, though. A dark presence looms on the horizon, fresh from prison.
Axel finds himself stuck right in the middle of the Regimes hunt for the convict and the artifact. What makes it worse is that he’s started to hear voices! Maybe he’s crazy after all…
This book absolutely FLEW by. I started it one day and felt like I was done the next. It took me about four days to read, but that’s because I was trying to pace myself. Trust me, it won’t take you that long!
Amazon has it marked at 242 pages which is a bit short for what I normally read, but it’s also marked at a early YA (not quite middle grades, imo) book. So, that length sounds about right. It’s a scifi book that honestly reminds me a lot of Star Wars– the snarky humor, the comedic bots, the starship fights, SPACE. It’s all very Star Wars to me. There’s even “the force,” it’s just been given a different name: sorcery.
So, we’ve really only got one main characters and a whole bunch of side characters. Which I actually struggled to balance in my head. Weird, huh?
Axel first! Axel Lennart is a young pilot who honestly reminds me of a young Han Solo. He’s feisty, a terribly flyer, and often doubts himself– like any teenager would. He’s also incredibly brave, though, and he’s willing to put his life on the line for others. I really like Axel! What I don’t like is that there’s not a lot of growth from him as a main character. He does “grow” in the sense that he learns more about himself and his history, but his personality doesn’t. Nothing too wrong with that; it’s a very heavily plot-driven book.
As far as side characters go, you’ve got… The Proxy: Eleusis’s “leader” who is surprisingly benevolent through the story. A good breath of fresh air. Kjolborn: Axel’s adoptive father and a bit of an enigma himself. Let’s hope book two sheds some light on that. Chuck: Axel’s best friend, the perfect sidekick. Blix: Axel’s crush (every YA book needs a loooove interest, lol) who has her own mysterious connection to Völvur, I believe. Bodo: the guy who gives me serious Yoda/Dobby vibes. He’s like a mix between the two. I don’t know how else to describe him. Overall, there’s a large cast and Liyanage does a really good job of balancing the crew. Each character is easily their own, with personality and quirks to back it up. She’s created a wonderful little community here!
Then, there’s the protagonists. Ugh. Protector-9, or just Nine, is a Security Chief and by far the most detestable person in the entire book. He’s ruthless, evil, and overall just… EW. Axel is a child, for Pete’s sake, be nicer to him! Or at least be a little less… EVIL. I don’t know. And then, you’ve got Berau, who is a jealous little snot who needs to stop blaming Axel for all of his problems. That’s all I’ve got to say. Oh, and Berau: when a woman is literally backing away from you in fear, take a hint, you creep.
Phew. Plot. Liyanage starts strong with a very Star Wars-like race through space (hehe, I rhymed). Axel has a debt to settle and the only way he can do it is if he wins the Banren Run. It isn’t an easy task, but it is very entertaining and a fantastic start to the story. Throughout the race, and into the end, even, you’re thrown bits of this mystery. It’s in the background, though. I like that. It was almost like the Völvur bits were Wraiths, whispering to me.
Liyanage keeps you hanging on until the very last page. This was one of those stories where I knew I had like fifty pages left to finish and was utterly SHOCKED when it stopped. I have trouble with this and ebooks. The endings always sneak up on me. Either way, it’s very well done on Liyanage’s part.
Solid 9/10 from me. 🙂 Buy Liyanage’s book here!
Check out DMZ Liyanage on the following platforms: