Benjamin Mester

A kingdom in danger. A prophecy that will change everything. But will they understand it in time? The old world is gone, and barely even histories remain. But something from that time is returning. The closing lines of a farewell poem, written centuries ago by the last great king of the age to his slain wife, might be more than just a poem:

The world and all its light shall fade,
I’ll stay with her beneath the shade
And wait until the world’s remade…

Join us in this epic fantasy adventure as three friends plunge into the great mystery of their age, twelve centuries in the making. A mysterious fog blankets the forest just outside the sleepy town of Suriya. A dark plot unfolds as Durian and his friends discover ties between a strange wanderer and the warlike barbarian kingdom far to the north. Are the mysterious things happening in the forest a prelude to invasion? What happens next will propel Durian and his curious friends into the middle of the oldest riddle in the history of their kingdom, a dozen centuries old.

Author Bio

Benjamin Mester is native of San Diego but can often be found wandering the woods of northern Minnesota. He fell in love with language at an early age – the eloquence of poetry or the grandeur of an epic story. Fantasy is his favorite genre, crafting new and magical places of heroism and adventure. When he isn't writing, he's often taking long walks through nature or wondering about his place in the wide world.

Benjamin is the author of The Banished Lands series. You can visit him on Goodreads.

  • Critic Score:71/100

    Our Review Ranking:

    A Good Read


Our Review


The cover doesn’t stand out much to me.  The colors are dull and the three maps are only partial maps and difficult to read. I like the idea of using maps on the cover because they let a potential reader know this is about a new, mysterious land, but I think adding color and perhaps focusing on one larger map of the area, would be more effective.  It could also be used as a reference then for knowing some of the locations that are mentioned throughout the book. 

Book Blurb:

Based on the blurb, I was excited to start reading this book.  It tells just enough to be intriguing without giving away any of the details and secrets that will unfold.  I love the idea of old poems and legends holding some mystery and truth that will turn into an adventure.

Formatting :

The formatting is odd because there are no margins, pages numbers, chapter numbers, or table of contents. It makes it difficult to keep track of where you were if it was a couple of days since you last read some of it. There are even a few mistakes throughout it such as extra blank pages being inserted between chapters or things not being consistently centered.  Also, the author mentions at the beginning of the book that full maps are available on his website, however, I would have found it extremely beneficial for those to be included in the book because parts of this become confusing with all of the locations that get mentioned.  It becomes hard to create any type of visual in your head.

Grammar & Spelling:

Overall, the grammar and spelling was fine.  There were some errors throughout the book but not so many that it took away from the quality of writing.  I would say that the editing was good, but not perfect.

Character Development:

In the beginning of the book, I got to know Durian and his friends pretty well.  I thought the character development was well done.  But as the story continued and more people were introduced, I felt like Durian, Baron, and Blair were more like extra baggage and not completely relevant.  In parts of it I found myself wondering, why are they still tagging along?  The focus seemed to shift to the other characters, which I would say were well developed and more enjoyable to read.  

Plot & Structure:

I have mixed feelings on the plot because I found parts of it to suck me in and then other parts seemed to drag.  It has a “Lord of the Rings” type of feel to it, only not as polished.  The parts that intrigued me were where the author really got creative with the types of magic and battles throughout the book.  There were a lot of unique ideas that I considered to be high points.  But then, I found chunks of it boring because there seemed to be a lot of traveling between lands and events that didn’t do much to add to the plot.  They would get to a location, some type of surprise event or revelation would be quickly explained, and then they were sent to travel to another place for the next piece of the puzzle.   


As I previously mentioned, parts of the book felt rushed and a lot of their traveling felt too frequent and prolonged.  It didn’t always hold my attention because of these pacing issues.

Use of Language:

The use of poetry, vocabulary, and style of writing is fantastic.  The dialogue among the characters is also very well done. Sometimes when someone is trying to explain something they tend to ramble, but the information they are providing is interesting to the plot.


I loved the idea of old poems and lore from history turning into an adventure.   Many of the types of magic throughout the book were truly one of a kind.  I just wished there were more of those types of things and less of what I considered to be filler.  

Overall Readability:

Overall, I would say it was decent but being a huge fan of this genre, it’s not what I expected. There were enough good things about it that I found it to be a pleasant read.  However, I wasn’t so captivated that I would rush to read a sequel.

A Note From the Critic:

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