Review: “Ethereal” by K.R. Queen

Ethereal: The Complete Trilogy by K.R. Queen. 693 pages. Independently published.

A savior has come to Res Mysticum, but no one knows who it is. Doran Kane wants to be the savior, but he will first have to put his analytical mind to good use and learn some things. For instance, if he wants to save Res Mysticum, he ought to know what kind of world it is. And if he would save Res Mysticum from the enemies lurking in its darkest corners, he may want to learn who the enemy really is. The problem is, dangers that should live only in nightmares lurk all over Res Mysticum, and Doran cannot be sure he will evade death long enough to be the savior. It also doesn’t help that plenty of other viable saviors have teamed up with Doran, and they are a lot more impressive than he is. Join Doran on his profound journey across the fantastical world of Res Mysticum, meet his incredible allies and enemies, and discover the ethereal mystery at the heart of the savior’s unexpected mission.

That’s the Amazon summary for Ethereal, Kory Queen’s three-book Christian fantasy set in the world of Res Mysticum. At 693 pages, it’s quite an investment for a reader to pursue, and it starts off a bit slowly. But the story becomes more intriguing as time goes on, and by the third book, I found myself fully invested in what was happening.

First the good: This is a true fantasy, with vampires, elves, werewolves, pet tigers, and people who live in trees. It is some pretty good world-building, with a variety of terrain including snowy peaks, swamps, deserts, and big cities. It is also a Christian fantasy, ending with a strong spiritual message that I was happy to see show up in the third book of the trilogy. And it has a pretty good twist at the end. The characters are distinctive, and one feels for the protagonist, Doran, as he struggles with many of the same doubts and shortcomings that we all face.

Now, what needs fixing: Because this is set in a fantasy world, I struggled somewhat with the contemporary language (“Dude!” “Bro!” “Awesome!”) that popped up all too often. The author also took a omniscient (all-knowing) perspective on writing the story that no only got in every character’s head, often in the same scene, but stepped out of the scene to talk directly to the reader. That was awkward. I would have preferred to take each scene from the perspective of one character, but that’s the author’s choice.

If you like Christian fantasy, it’s a worthwhile investment of your time. There are some good moral and spiritual messages here, as well as some good fun to be had. I recommend it.

I give it four out of five stars.