Thank you to the author and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this novel. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Publication Date: June 15, 2019
Rating: 2 stars
The Dawnvel Druids is the tale of a young man who is given the opportunity to attend the college of Dawnvel in England and becomes embroiled in the goings-on of its group of druids, soon learning that he is a druid himself.
The premise of the story is that the druids exist because there is a portal to the Otherworld—the realm where other beings and beasts live—and therefore they are there to guard that portal, always needing seven to be the number of druids needed. After one of them is murdered, one of our leads—Simone--brings Bobby (our unlikely hero) forward as the next possible druid. Once he undergoes the Joining, which is the magical initiation ceremony of their kind, it is proven that he is indeed a druid.
Story-wise, the novel is entertaining. Not once did I feel a need to put it aside, it has a brisk pace that's easy to follow. And there are a lot of moments when comedy steps in and makes a scene well worthwhile, especially whenever Bobby attempts to get away from the rest of the cast, refusing to believe that he is one of them while he accuses the lot of being a cult. As a matter of fact, Bobby is one of my favorite parts of the novel, and I highly appreciated the fact that he doesn't fall into the category of leads who easily accept something that is out of their realm of knowledge and belief just because it looks “cool” or “amazing”. He resists right up and 'til the end, which is as realistic as it can be for someone suddenly put into a position such as he is.
The writing, however, was rather underdeveloped. And the brisk pace of the story gave way to it being rushed, which became even more evident when crucial moments happened: such as the Joining, or the breaking in of Tarin and her gang into the home of the druids.
I was left with questions as to why Simone's father needs the drug Orachun—or what the drug really is/does—nor do I yet know why seven druids are specifically needed to secure the portal. Then Bobby states at the start of the novel that he has anxiety issues around others, proven when Warren first confronts him and he cowers from him, yet he is so comfortable confronting his roommate despite the lesser level of harassment he receives from him compared to Warren. It's such a leap.
Despite these points, there is a nice diversity in the characters' personalities—no one is a cookie cutter version of anyone else. And while I wish I would know who is the culprit in Zander's murder, I enjoyed the idea of a mystery surrounding it, albeit one that was not seen to fruition. The ending of the novel holds its promise and the possible realization of Warren and Lana's suspicions about who and what Bobby really is. Although, I do hope that he doesn't easily give into the sudden dark desires his new wand seems to want to explore, as seemed to be the case at the closing of the last chapter. Hopefully, he continues to use that charming resistance of his and grow.