Ben’s Book Breakdown | THE EIDOLON is a thrilling debut to “Magnus Academy!”
Author K.D. Edwards recently delivered a thrilling and emotional story with The Hourglass Throne, the third installment in his 9-book series titled “The Tarot Sequence.” These are tales centered around Rune Saint John. He is Atlantean. Along with the many remaining survivors of Atlantis (now destroyed from war), they live in a previously uninhabited area of Nantucket. It is a magical society ruled by a governing body known as the Arcanum. Each member of the Arcanum is the leader of their own court. Rune’s father led the Sun Throne until an illegal raid against it brought it down. Everyone, including Rune’s father, was viciously murdered except for Rune, who at the age of 15 was brutally raped and eventually rescued by the only other survivor, his psychically bonded companion Brandon Saint John. Many years later, Rune finds himself a boyfriend, now fiancé, in Addam Saint Nicholas, of the Crusader Throne, and a new extended family, including an adopted young man named Matthias, or Max. Rune had been cared for and raised by the head of the Dagger Throne (Lord Tower) after the fall of his father’s court. Rune has reclaimed his father’s court and taken his seat in the Arcanum. When we last saw Rune, he was at odds with a survivor from an ancient Atlantean court. However, the epilogue from The Hourglass Throne briefly mentions something that happened to a member of Rune’s family. Rune’s fiancé has a younger brother named Quinn. This young man is a prophet. He is also Max’s best friend, and the two of them end up being held captive by Lady Time, the aforementioned survivor of The Hourglass Throne. Together, along with Rune’s heir, Annawan Dawncreek, they try to discover the secret to Lady Time’s seemingly unlimited power and deliver that information to Rune.
This story was originally meant to be part of The Hourglass Throne, but it had to be scrapped due to circumstances outside of Edwards’ control. The upside to this is that it allowed him to write a side story involving these three young heroes and their misadventures in The Eidolon. Probably the most significant benefit Edwards had in writing this short novel is that it allowed him to fully develop their voices in a way that had not been available to him in his previous works. Where he may have been able to dedicate at most a chapter to any of these three youths in his earlier novels, having a single story that is entirely focused on them allowed him to show the layers of personality that Quinn, Max, and Anna all have. As I read and reread the earlier works (which is required for reasons I’ll explain later), these three characters continually came off as much younger than the ages assigned to them. This is not so much a fault of Edwards’ writing as it is the restrictions placed on him regarding the size of each novel. After all, those main books are about Rune Saint John. But in reading The Eidolon, I discovered a much more mature voice in all three of them, especially in the characterizations of Max and Anna. Max is the oldest of the three (17 years old) and has been trained by Rune’s companion, Brand. Not only has Max been trained in the areas of combat, but he has also received training in observation and strategy. Seeing Max employ these skills, as well as his thought process, rounded out Max in a way that brought him to a new level of life. In the past, Max was, at best, mildly annoying. Here, he is endlessly fascinating! Where before, he was an impetuous and jealous young boy, we now see a young man who strives to do the right thing whenever possible and has unwavering loyalty and love for those who are important to him.
Quinn is a unique character because Edwards makes a point of exploring the psychological ramifications of being able to see multiple timelines at any given moment. Because of this, Quinn has historically seemed a bit “scattered” or distracted sometimes. However, because of something that happens to him early on in The Eidolon, we see a new side to the young lad. Quinn has always been something of a fan favorite for readers. Still, fans of “The Tarot Sequence” will not only fall in love with Quinn, but he will also endear himself to readers with his resolve and vulnerability.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is young Anna. We first meet her in The Hanged Man as a physically, and maybe even emotionally, wounded young girl. Shortly after she is introduced, she immediately starts to show enormous power (Even more powerful than Rune?). However, her behavior is almost that of a precocious and willful child. Readers can easily forgive this, for she is only 12 years old and has endured some unpleasant hardship. Now at the age of 13, she finds herself thrust into what is essentially a rescue mission. What Edwards does with her character is nothing short of delightful. Even as a young teenager, she displays just the right amount of maturity and immaturity. No longer is she the precocious young girl. Now we see a young woman who feels the need to earn her place and role in Rune’s family. She is impulsive but desperately wants to do the right thing. Additionally, Edwards drops a big surprise about Anna and her power that possibly explains the nature of her abilities (and maybe why she is so powerful), as well as plants the seeds for some incredible development for the future of New Atlantis.
The Eidolon has everything you could hope to find from a book written by K.D. Edwards. It has some delicious humor, thrills and adventure, and moments of pure horror (what happened to Quinn early on affected me in ways I can’t even begin to describe). The Eidolon is also designed to be the first in a line of novellas and novels in the “Magnus Academy” series. However, despite being merely a side story (Edwards has stated multiple times that it is not necessary to read The Eidolon to enjoy the novels that make up “The Tarot Sequence”), I feel that this book stands side-by-side with The Hourglass Throne. He is showing that this series of books, while originally dealing with Rune, actually focuses on the people that make up Rune’s Court and family, as well as how they affect New Atlantis and possibly the world outside of that magical community. What happens to Max, Quinn, and Anna is just as important as what happens to Rune. What they go through will affect Rune, just as what he experiences will affect these three young Atlanteans. They are essential, they are vital to Rune’s story (just as Rune is vital to theirs), and they are a delight to read.
Lastly, Edwards drops a bomb of practically nuclear proportions in The Eidolon that will unquestionably have enormous ramifications for Rune, his court, and all of New Atlantis.
Once again, K.D. Edwards has demonstrated why he is probably my favorite author (that’s a very hard admission to make), for he continues to write books that become my favorites to read and read again. Why reread them? Because every time he releases a new book, he reveals something so huge that it becomes necessary to go through everything he has previously released. He fills each book with the tastiest Easter Eggs that change the future of where the stories are liable to go and alter everything that has come before. That is the magic of K.D. Edwards’ writing, the magic of “The Tarot Sequence” novels, and most definitely the magic of The Eidolon.
I give The Eidolon 5 out of 5 Cantrips!!!