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Book Review: Hidden Realm by T.R. SlaufBook Review:

Hidden Realm by T.R. Slauf

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Supernatural, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Genre: Legends of Lightning #1

“The next Realm Walker will bring with them a storm. Lightning must fight the Crimson Shadow, or the lands will be cast into eternal darkness.”

When she was a child, Esther was plagued with vivid nightmares. Now they have returned to haunt her. Bloodthirsty monsters chase her through a forest of dead trees while a mysterious hooded figure stalks her. After waking with fresh wounds from her dreams, Esther searches for the truth about who she is and the Hidden Realm she is destined to save.

Join Esther on her journey of self-discovery as she travels into a world long forgotten. Unsure if she can trust her hooded guide, she is hunted by unknown enemies and smothered by expectations of grandeur. Deciphering friend from foe she travels the lands, trying to unite kingdoms torn by pride.

Hidden Realm Review

I was compensated with a small amount for my time and effort in reading the book and writing this review. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and are based on my honest personal experience reading the book. Nor did the publisher in any way shape or form ever pressure me to give a positive review.

In Hidden Realm, our protagonist Esther who is just a normal librarian, finds herself tormented by vivid nightmares reminiscent of her childhood. These dreams become increasingly alarming as she is pursued by bloodthirsty monsters and a mysterious hooded figure. Struggling to unravel the truth behind her visions and her own identity, Esther embarks on a journey of self-discovery into the long-forgotten Hidden Realm she is destined to save.

As she navigates through this unfamiliar world, she must discern friend from foe while attempting to unite kingdoms torn apart by pride. Inspired by classical tales such as “Beauty and the Beast,” the story weaves a captivating narrative of mystery, adventure, and self-realization.

As a seasoned fan of fantasy literature, particularly drawn to darker and more adult themes, I appreciate those aspects present in this book. While it may not rank among the darkest works I’ve encountered, I recognize its quality. The portrayal of the new realm Esther must navigate adds a layer of realism, underscoring the palpable threat and unforgiving nature of her journey. This element enhances the suspense and tension, heightening the stakes for Esther’s adventure and drawing readers deeper into the narrative.

Speaking of adventure, this book is undeniably, to put it simply, an incredibly adventurous read! Its pacing is commendable, and the story is skillfully crafted. The adventure aspect proves to be particularly engaging, serving as a catalyst for Esther and the reader to embark on a gradual journey of exploration and discovery within the new setting.

While engrossed in the captivating adventure plotlines, I occasionally found myself viewing Esther more as a lens through which to experience the unfolding narrative, rather than an active participant in her own adventure. This phenomenon, akin to feeling that the protagonist becomes a streaming camera rather than a robust, standalone character, is not uncommon. It seems that Esther may have experienced what’s known as passive character syndrome, where her role in the adventure feels more subdued than dynamic. This dynamic may have contributed to the sense of detachment experienced by readers, including myself.

Despite this, I find immense enjoyment in the interactions between Esther and the cast, particularly Oisin, Davon, Aldrik, and others! Their dynamic often evokes a sense of found family, a trope that seamlessly complements the portrayal of adventure fantasy. When delving into another world, discovering a second family within its realms adds a layer of depth and resonance to the narrative, making the escapade even more enriching and immersive.

I do want to reiterate something though, and that’s though this book is inspired by a children’s tale, it is by no means suitable for children. It genuinely has some quite mature themes, so treat this as a trigger warning. With that being said if you an adult who is interested in nostalgic fairytail classic tales, this may be for you. Since it’s more like a remodified more mature version of a fairytail.

In sum, while Esther’s portrayal may not align perfectly with my preferences, as I tend to favor more active protagonists, there remain several unanswered questions that pique my interest enough to compel me to continue onto book two. Until then, I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you in the next review!

If you liked this review and want to see other book reviews like this one, check out my book reviews collection!

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About the Author of Hidden Realm

T.R. Slauf was born and raised in Michigan, originally studying and working in the field of Biochemistry. After having an open-heart surgery for congenital heart disease, Slauf changed career paths to pursue the passion of storytelling and published their debut novel, Hidden Realm two years later. Slauf now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with their spouse and two cats.

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