Peter R. Ellis' The Power of Seven was published by Elsewhen Press as an e-book in January 2015. The paperback edition will be published in March 2015.
Information about Peter R. Ellis:
Peter would like to say he's been a writer all his life but it is only since retiring as a teacher in 2010 that he has been able to devote enough time to writing to call it a career. Brought up in Cardiff, he studied Chemical Physics at the University of Kent at Canterbury, then taught chemistry (and a bit of physics) in Norwich, the Isle of Wight and Thames Valley. His first experience of publishing was in writing educational materials which he has continued to do since retiring. Of his fictional writing, Seventh Child is his first published speculative fiction novel.
Peter has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy since he was young, has an (almost) complete collection of classic SF by Asimov, Ballard, Clarke, Heinlein and Niven, among others, while also enjoying fantasy by Tolkien, Donaldson and Ursula Le Guin. Of more recent authors Iain M Banks, Alastair Reynolds and China Mieville have his greatest respect. His Welsh upbringing also engendered a love of the language (even though he can't speak it) and of Welsh mythology like the Mabinogion. All these strands come together in the Evil Above the Stars series. He lives in Herefordshire with his wife, Alison, who is a great supporter.
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Information about The Power of Seven:
September Weekes found a smooth stone which took her to Gwlad, the Land, where the people hailed her as the Cludydd o Maengolauseren, the bearer of the starstone, with the power to defend them against the evil known as the Malevolence. Now, having reached Arsyllfa she is re-united with the Mordeyrn Aurddolen with whom, together with the other senior metal bearers that make up the Council of Gwlad, she must plan the defence of the Land.
But now it seems that September must defeat Malice, the guiding force behind the Malevolence, if she is to save the Land and all its people. Will she be strong enough; and, if not, to whom can she turn for help?
The Power of Seven is the second volume in a thrilling fantasy series, Evil Above the Stars that will appeal to anyone who likes fantasy, especially fans of JRR Tolkien and Stephen Donaldson. It follows on immediately from Seventh Child, the first volume in the series.
A REVIEW OF PETER R. ELLIS' THE POWER OF SEVEN
Peter R. Ellis' The Power of Seven is the second novel in the Evil Above the Stars fantasy series. It continues and deepens the story that started in Seventh Child in an interesting way and transports the reader into another world that is reminiscent of yet different from our world.
The Power of Seven is basically a young adult fantasy novel, but it's good entertainment for readers of all ages, because it contains several elements of Celtic mythology, cosmology and alchemy. There's something for everybody in this entertaining novel. It will appeal to and captivate young and older readers alike.
The Power of Seven has a good dash of originality, which is very nice, because young adult fantasy novels often tend to be more or less formulaic and predictable without any kind of originality. I have to mention that at this moment I don't recall reading or seeing any other new fantasy novels that have Celtic elements, cosmology and alchemy in them, so this novel is original and unique in that regard.
Now that I've read The Power of Seven and its predecessor, Seventh Child, I can say that they're fascinating novels. Both of them were pleasant surprises for me, because it was interesting to read about the different elements and what happened to September. The story unfolds in a rewarding and entertaining way in these novels, because the author gradually adds more depth to the story (this second novel in particular brings depth to the story).
Here's information about the story:
- In the previous novel September arrived in Gwland, the Land, and found out that people hailed her as the Cludydd o Maengolauseren, the bearer of the starstone, with the power to defend the Land against the evil known as the Malevolence. She had to travel to Arsyllfa to be united with the Mordeyrn Aurddolen.
- When this novel begins, September has arrived in Arsyllfa and is united with the Mordeyrn Aurddolen. The Mordeyrn is worried about the Malevolence acquiring intelligence and having more purpose in its attacks, because the Malevolence has grown more powerful surprisingly quickly. September meets the bearers of the metals, the Council of Gwlad...
- The Conjuction of the planets is going to take place soon. When it takes place on the day of the winter solstice, the Land will be at its most vulnerable to the Malevolence. September and the others must be ready for it, and September has to face Malice, her dead twin. It'll be the greatest challenge September has ever had to face...
September Weekes is an interesting teenaged protagonist. She's a well-created character who has to deal with many problems. As she tries to face her problems, she also tries to be a courageous grown-up woman, although she's just a teenager. In this novel September learns many new things and figures out what she must do to learn to control her powers. It was interesting to read about what happened to September when she locked herself in her room alone with the starstone and traveled to space.
I'm not sure if all readers will agree with me on this, but in my opinion September was a bit similar kind of heroine as the heroines in Christopher Nuttall's fantasy novels. There was something in September that slightly reminded me of the courageous heroines in Nuttall's novels.
Malice is an especially interesting being, because she represents the Malevolence and is September's dead and dangerous twin. Malice is everything that September isn't, because she considers the Malevolence to be her mother as it gave her succour and knowledge and she shall repay it by ensuring its victory over September and the people of the Land. She has her own personality and she seems to have influence over the Malevolence and she's able to direct its fury.
In my opinion Peter R. Ellis concentrated nicely on writing about what happens between September and Malice. I enjoyed reading about the speculation about Malice's existence and what she could do, because people were a bit confused and worried about her existence (nothing like that had ever occurred before).
The Cemegwr, the mysterious creators of the universe, are also mentioned in this novel, but I'm not going to write more about them. All I'll mention is that readers will most likely be very thrilled to read about things related to them and the universe and its existence, because the author writes well about them.
I enjoyed reading about Arsyllfa, because it was a fortress that had been designed to be an impregnable fortress against the powers of evil. There was an observatory at Arsyllfa and people used it to observe and record movement of the planets and the stars.
It's great that Peter R. Ellis writes about things related to the evil in a slightly different way than other authors. Although he writes about the evil and what it does, his approach to it is fascinatingly different, because the evil comes to the people of the Land from beyond the sphere of stars. If there are readers out there who think that this is an element taken from Lovecraftian weird fiction and cosmic horror, I can mention that there's nothing even remotely Lovecraftian in this fantasy novel, because this novel is a Celtically inspired novel.
It was nice that the terrifying deeds of Malice and the Malevolence weren't sugarcoated in any way. People died because of evil and nobody was safe from the evil's corruptive powers. This added a nice touch of realism to the story, because it was impossible to save everybody.
One of the most interesting aspects about this novel is that the author has added science fiction elements to the story. This seldom happens in this kind of fiction, so I thought it was charming that he had courage to add a bit of science fiction to the story to make it different.
The second part of this novel is especially interesting, because Peter R. Ellis has added an unexpected twist to the story. I was satisfied with this unexpected twist, because it worked well. I won't reveal any spoilers about this twist, but I'll mention that this twist is partly tied to Cludydd o Maengolauseren.
There was something charmingly old-fashioned about this novel and the way the author wrote about the protagonist that I found compelling. When I read this novel I thought to myself that the author has clearly been inspired by classic works of speculative fiction and has created his own vision of battle between the powers of good and evil.
I think it's good to mention that this novel contains two short synopses of the happenings that took place in parts 1 and 2 in the first novel. They're useful to readers who want to remind themselves of the previous happenings. This novel also contains a pronunciation guide to the old tongue used by people of the Land (the old tongue is derived from Celtic languages such as Welsh) and a useful glossary.
I give this novel strong four stars on the scale from one to five stars, because it differed nicely from other new fantasy novels. I found it fascinating that the author had managed to combine different elements in a fluent way, because it's difficult to combine Celtic elements with young adult fantasy, adult elements, alchemy, cosmology and science in a successful way. Somehow the author has managed to combine all of these elements and he has done it well.
I look forward to reading the next novel, Unity of Seven. It'll be interesting to find out what happens to September in Unity of Seven, because certain things were left unexplained at the end of this novel.
Peter R. Ellis' The Power of Seven is something different when compared to many other new fantasy novels. I'm sure that many readers will find it fascinating that the author has managed to write a Celtically inspired fantasy novel with alchemy and cosmology. If you enjoyed reading the author's previous novel, Seventh Child, you'll enjoy reading this novel too, because it's a well written sequel and offers more entertainment to the readers.
An intriguing Celtically inspired fantasy novel for readers of all ages!