Not sure if Seregn is for you? Take a look at these reviews!
A review by fantasy author Amber Gabriel:
A shockingly beautiful tale about the meaning of life and love in the midst of the deepest darkness and trauma. Seregn addresses the most fundamental questions of the human experience through a soul-shattering quest that will leave you aching for heaven.
From the opening scene, Seregn sucks you into a unique and intricately imagined world with brilliant wordsmithing and an intriguing, flowing story. Plot-centered for the first third, we get a lot of “what” without the “why”, which frustrated me at first, but impelled me to continue reading, hoping all would be revealed–and it was! Answers to every question unfolded at just the right time. Characters transformed through trials and displayed remarkable depth. Though I wanted more emotional investment in the beginning, I really enjoyed how everything came together so nicely.
Ada, the main character, is chosen by an unknown power to walk through a portal to another world and embark on a quest to save a dying king. Understandably, she balks at this, and hints of loss and trauma in her family history provide reasons she struggles to trust or invest in new relationships. However, she’s not a typical “chosen one” as “the future isn’t set in stone” and characters must suffer the consequences of their choices.
Four soldiers accompany Ada on her quest, and each has his or her own motives for joining. One of them is a traitor. Martin expertly weaves a web of intrigue, providing each member of the little band with a reason to resent their ailing monarch, keeping us guessing until the end. A couple of dastardly villains–the kind we love to hate–an ancient legend, a unique weapon, fascinating minor players, a loveable dog, and a touch of romance add to the drama.
There are a couple of moments of intense violence, so this is not a book for everyone. I expect some may put the book down when they get to this point. It takes some trust in the character and skill of the author to continue when all hope seems lost. And that is the point of this book. It’s like Prince Caspian for grown-ups–learning how to follow God’s lead even when it doesn’t make sense, when you could get hurt, when the way forward is so dark it seems no light can penetrate it. Ada must decide if fulfilling her mission, if letting herself love, is worth the cost.
“‘Many refuse to face the brokenness of their hearts, Ada,’ Elsie began quietly. ‘But in their refusal, they wander in it nonetheless. Yet, when it’s faced head on and conquered, it changes everything. Heart, mind, body, soul.’”
I can’t remember the last time I finished a book feeling so thoroughly satisfied. The hauntingly beautiful ending has stuck with me for days. Do you struggle with hopelessness? “Courage, dear heart.” Read this book.
Ada’s theme: Perfectly Loved by Rachel Lampa
A review by fantasy author R. M. Krogman:
Seregn, a Transformative Journey for Both Reader and Hero
The epic portal fantasy “Seregn” by Brooke Martin carries one of the most beautiful messages in one of the most beautiful worlds I’ve read: that love is powerful enough to hold up the world, and that it is worth sacrificing oneself in its name.
The main character, Ada, begins the story as a very reluctant hero, dragged from her own familiar surroundings and selfish pursuits to a noble mission in a foreign world. That world, the world of Evergaze and Warnost and a thousand island nations, is where Martin shines. It feels expansive and complex, blessed with diverse peoples and cultures, riddled with political intrigues, and infused with a deep-seated religion intertwined with mythology. The elegant descriptions of elaborate architectural edifices, exquisitely appointed halls, and awe-inspiring natural wonders made an incredible world that I didn’t want to leave. History mixes with legend, and magic mixes with new technologies that show a society on the brink of major changes.
In the midst of that, a king falls terribly ill, forcing his loyal followers to place their hopes in legend and in each other, including Ada. To save their king, they must bring him the healing power of the stars using the magical device Seregn. However, their path is fraught with danger as they are pursued by vicious enemies, and suddenly the path forward no longer seems clear.
Ada, at first believing her call to be straightforward if not easy, finds herself embroiled in fear, drowning in doubt, and reeling with terror and pain. She leans on her companions, finding in them unexpected measures of strength, courage, and love. Even as well-meaning intentions and oaths made go awry, she finds something growing in herself, morphing and transforming although not always comfortable, and not always easy. Even in the darkest moments of suffering and despair, Ada begins to see the reason to seek hope, to endure, to be brave.
“Seregn” was a pleasure to read. The language is elaborate and descriptive, the characters are believable and unique, and the journey is both heartbreaking and satisfying. The book’s message is obstinately hopeful, despite the dreariness and mercilessness of the broken world, and left me inspired to believe it, even in our own broken reality.
Thank you to Brooke Martin for letting me be part of your ARC team! I can’t wait for more books from you!
The Candles’ passion, the very reason for their existence, is to burn. But to burn also means they inevitably flicker out. Yet it is their purpose and thus their passion nonetheless.
She found [him], his whole body moving with the music, lurching and swaying as he played, and the light caught and shined in the tears on his cheeks, and she knew that in his heart, he mourned too.
Gently, fiercely, finally.
A review by reader Dawn Ware
[A] beautifully crafted adventure that digs deep into self discovery. Friendship and trust develops over time between characters understanding of each other. As a result, the reader becomes emotionally endeared to each person. There is a relationship to world’s, stars and the space in-between. Carefully written descriptions on scenery and action scene’s. It is evident Brooke Martin researched and created a fantasy that is visually captivating to the readers eyes.