“compelling epic fantasy novel” – review of Seventh Child on Risingshadow

On the Risingshadow website, Seregil of Rhiminee’s review of Seventh Child, the first book in the Evil Above the Stars series by Peter R. Ellis, describes it as “a compelling epic fantasy novel with charming Celtic flavour. It’s a good and promising start to a new series” and is “the beginning of an exciting and wondrous story”. Seregil compliments Peter for writing a young adult fantasy that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages “even by those who don’t normally read fantasy novels”.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Fascinated by the book because of the “elements of Celtic mythology, cosmology and alchemy”, Seregil writes that it is obvious that the author is fascinated too, as he “writes about them in a loving way”. Although Seventh Child is a “surprisingly intriguing and daring combination” of those elements, Peter “blends the different elements seamlessly”.

Seregil likes the characterisation. “September Weekes is a well-created protagonist” he writes and adds “secondary characters are also interesting” including Malice! “The author wrote perfectly about how September felt about her changed body when she arrived in the Land. She suddenly looked more mature and had a fit woman’s body. The author handled September’s feelings and confusion well, because she had acquired the body she wanted to have and was a bit confused about what had happened to her.” He goes on to say that September’s self-doubt was one of the best things about the novel, she “wasn’t sure if she really could be the person that the people of the Land wanted her to be”. Seregil felt that this “added quite a lot of depth to the story”.

“One of the most intriguing aspects of this novel,” writes Seregil, is the source of the evil from beyond the sphere of stars and manifesting itself in many ways. “Reading about this kind of cosmic evil was fascinating” he adds, “because it’s been a long time since I’ve read anything like this in new fantasy novels.”

Seregil was also impressed by Peter’s world building, creating an interesting fantasy world with different regions and gradually revealing more information about the world. He writes that “the author paints a vivid picture of the world and its different places. He easily evokes images in the reader’s mind by writing about the landscapes without overwhelming the reader with too many details.”

While recognising the influences of authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin and Stephen R. Donaldson, Seregil is pleased that Peter “doesn’t imitate their novels. He has created an original story that is faithful to its roots that lie in classic epic fantasy (there’s a charmingly old-fashioned yet slightly modern feel to the story)”.

Seregil enjoyed Seventh Child and says he will soon read the next volume in the series, The Power of Seven, “because I want to know how the story continues. Because the story was compelling and the ending was exciting, it’ll be fun to find out what happens to September and other characters in the next novel”.

He concludes by saying that Peter “has written a story that pulls readers into another world that is different from our world, but also reminiscent of it” and recommends it to young and old alike.

You can read Seregil’s full review here.