Greetings again and welcome to another Ziane book review. This time, I’m doing the book Beyond the Plains by Travis Bughi, the first book in the World of Myth series. This one was given to me by the author as well after I entered a contest to get a copy of it.
Beyond the Plains stars a sixteen year old Emily who has spent her whole life living on the Great Plains as a farmer. Like most plains farmers, her life has been hard, with little luxury and even less adventure. She yearns for a life that is full of more excitement. After a huge monster called a behemoth destroys her family’s barn, Emily suddenly gets that adventure. Someone should have told her to be careful what you wish for.
From the first sentence, Beyond the Plains reads almost like a tall tale but with a lot of fantasy creatures. And when I say a lot, I mean everything except the humans are fantasy creatures. Even their steeds are unicorns instead of plain old horses. In the first few pages, it seems over the top, yet it flows so naturally that it quickly becomes normal. By the end of the book, as the narrative moves from tall tale to adventure, all of these fantasy elements seem so normal, that the idea of not having all of them there seems odd.
My only real complaints about the book are that it left me wanting more at the end and the use of character names. While the story is a complete and the main conflict is dealt with, it does just end. The good news is that the second and third books are out, though I haven’t had the chance to read them yet. Now, about the names, sometimes the author calls a character by their formal name and then other times by their regular name. At one point, he even goes from calling Emily’s mom Molly to Miriam (her full name) even though for about half the book, we have known her as Molly. Then there is Sir Gavin Shaw. Sometimes he is referred to as Sir Gavin, then just Gavin, and later as Shaw. This gets confusing a few times and I found myself having to go back and find their name mentioned again just to make sure I was not suddenly introduced to a new character. This was especially true since I had to take a break from reading about half way through the book due to some traveling issues. Ask Kit. It’s her fault, as usual.
Names aside, I did really like the book. It was fun, flowed well, and a very quick read. It was hard to put down at times. Even though the chapters were longer, each one provided a great break point to set the book down for the night without keeping you up needing to read more when you know you can’t. The characters are all distinct with their own quirks that make them easy to identify in dialogue.
So, my overall summary of the book:
- Fun read with a good pace.
- Even though it uses a lot of fantastical species, it all feels natural. You would think that so many different species would get in the way of the story, but they don’t. If anything, they make the story so much better and the world even more grand.
- Quick read. The story does not slow down and you never get bogged down in too many details.
- Knights in shinning armor. I love stories with handsome knights, even if they are a fantasy cliché.
- The end leaves you wanting more.
- Names can get confusing. You need to keep track of each character’s full name or you may not know that Gavin and Shaw are the same knight in shining armor.
- No griffins. So far, not a single griffin has found its way into the story. Maybe in the next book.
As a whole, I give this book a 5 out of 5 and can’t wait to read what happens next. I would recommend this to someone looking for a light, high-fantasy book with a good story. I would not recommend it for anyone that is does not enjoy high-fantasy or is not familiar with most of the fantasy creatures.
My next book will be a zombie story called This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers.