The Passage of Conquest – T. D. Kuchel: Book Review by Asha Seth

Author: T. D. Kuchel | Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult | Pages: 298 | Publisher: Green Hill Publishing

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During an evening, promising adventure aboard a galleon, eighteen year old Giselle is marooned on a tropical island. As she begins to uncover remnants of an ancient civilisation, she learns that she has travelled to a parallel world and that the island was veiled four hundred years ago to prevent an ancient evil from escaping.
As the mystery of the islands history unfolds, Giselle is drawn into a desperate quest for a key that will enable safe passage home aboard the galleon before it is used to unleash death and destruction throughout time and space.

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First things first – what do you think of the tag line – “Some things are not meant to be found?”

I felt it was damn catchy and intriguing. Something that pulled me in right away. And I wasn’t disappointed. Now, let’s get on with the review.

A young woman gets stranded in a strange land that smells trouble from the word go. The island is more than what meets the eye, and what mysteries lie hidden, and what challenges she might have to face, and what is the purpose of it all, is what lies at the heart of Kuchel’s first book in the series ‘The Passage of Conquest’. This novel is hyper fast-paced, and with the kind of twists and turns, it feels a tad short for 298 pages. That said, it is packed with a lot of action, drama, secrets, deception, mystery, thrill, and some promising characters.

The unearthing of this island and the fact that it holds a secret is what propels you into a whirlwind of exciting events that take place throughout the book. A lot of interesting characters are revealed on the way, along side the thorough sketching of Giselle, our protagonist, and Nikolas. There are bizarre creatures that populate the story, who threaten a safe passage of Giselle through the land and she has to find a key to ensure she escapes this world without losing much. But there’s a lot at stake here as she tries to unearth the big mystery that shrouds this island.

The settings are brilliantly sketched and shows the amount of research the author has done for the book. It all adds to the reading experience and not once do you feel bored. The detailed descriptions, however, could be crisper in places as it tends to slow down your reading. Finally, speaking of the language and writing, both of these crucial aspects of the book have been meticulously curated to give a simple yet stunning book to the readers. There are names you won’t remember at first, but as they start frequenting the plot, you get a hold. The vocabulary is befitting a fantasy novel and gives a very ‘The Lord of the Rings’ vibe.

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The elements of time travel, a parallel world, fantasy blended with rogue habitants, all make it for an exciting sci-fi cum fantasy plot; one that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Since this is book 1, obviously, it all feels a bit overwhelming in the course of reading, trying to grasp all that’s happening, but fret not, post the initial 80 odd pages, the plot starts to loosen up a little and one doesn’t feel gasping for breath. Naturally, since there are more books in the series, it was essential to build up the universe in great detail in book 1; which is done impressively.

All in all, Book 1 of ‘The Passage of Conquest’ is a journey you might not want to miss. Giselle is a perfect companion to experience it with. It is a book for all ages, and especially those with a natural inclination for fantasy and sci-fi.

Have you read ‘The Passage of Conquest’? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.

P.S: I received a review copy from the author but the review remains unbiased.

Happy reading till we meet next. Until then, carpe diem!