The Four Realms is not your typical fantasy novel and that’s not a bad thing. Yeah, so the hero, Darwin, a very confused half-breed vampire might or might not get the girl, Cassidy, a young and naive fallen angel at end of the story. Also, a ridiculously old lady, Maureen Summerglass, who lives with her cats and has a portal to another dimension in her cellar, might or might not find out she can do magic and play a vital role in this whole story. There also might or might not be tentacle-wielding-octopus bad guys of doom, hell-bent on finding a book about magical portals written in old elfish that no one can read. You might decide you want to read this book and you might not. Mr. West (the main octopus-bad-guy-insane-creature) could probably run the data and already have the answer for you before you even make a decision.
So if you are looking for a normal everyday epic fantasy novel – I’m looking at you, Lord of The Rings trilogy – The Four Realms isn’t for you. The Four Realms throws together a squad of cast-offs and undesirables. This odd batch forms a unique core cast of characters that really don’t do things perfectly, aren’t who you would normally cheer for, and quite frankly I wouldn’t place a two dollar dark horse bet on them to win a single race, let alone star in a book about themselves.
Adrian Faulkner makes it work. It isn’t always pretty at times and you are never sure if someone is just going to lose their marbles and kill everyone: but Faulkner does a wonderful job framing his characters with resentment at not fitting in, self-doubt and even at the end the characters still have bits and pieces that need to be put back together.
The Four Realms is a book very akin to the same individuals its pages contain; it’s somewhat in your face, volatile, and it is definitely not perfect by any stretch of the means. I loved a lot of things in this book and some of it I just didn’t get. Like the chase scene with Maureen, Joseph the Troll, and some elves where they run through places and come into contact with not a soul. Maureen and Joseph even fall into a florist shop, but no one is inside? This didn’t ruin the story for me, but it was one of a few minor issues I had.
The Four Realms is a twisted and must-read that will probably leave you a tad shell-shocked after it’s all said and done. This book is published by Anarchy Books and I think it fits exactly within what they are trying to accomplish as a publisher. It can be a tad, chaotic, radical, and bumpy at times but by the end I think you will want a little more taste of what Adrian Faulkner and The Four Realms has to offer.
7.5 out of 10 Liams.
Thanks to Andy Remic and Anarchy Books for this review copy.