Explore a unique, new epic fantasy by A.J. Calvin, featuring species and gods not previously seen in other aspects of the genre. The Moon’s Eye is the first installment of The Relics of War series.
Chosen for advanced training by the god of war himself, Vardak is considered a paragon amongst his people, the Scorpion Men. Yet his position and training come with a cost: He must serve the whims of the god, with no questions asked. Only days after his training is complete, he is sent far away from his desert homeland in order to act as the protector of the Fire Maiden’s mortal daughter, Janna.
Janna has been tasked with the recovery of a magical relic known as The Moon’s Eye, but she has little worldly experience to guide her. The Immortals deem the relic’s recovery imperative, for it alone can combat the rise of the Soulless—those sworn to the fallen, nameless god of death. The Soulless are ruthless and powerful, and eager to wage war upon the land in order to appease the god they serve.
Though Vardak is skilled in battle, he must lead Janna through several perilous areas in order to reach the relic she seeks, pushing his abilities to the limit. Unbeknownst to the pair, the Soulless raise an army and begin their conquest, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Will they secure The Moon’s Eye before all is lost, or will the relic itself prove to be their undoing?
A special thank you to A.J. Calvin for sending me a review copy of not just The Moon’s Eye, but the whole Relics of War trilogy! All opinions are honest and my own.
With a cast spanning all across The Five Kingdoms and beyond, The Moon’s Eye is a classics inspired, multi-POV epic fantasy. With many different original races, A.J. Calvin captures the imagination beautifully.
Following five different POV’s, we meet characters on both sides of the struggle, and from a variety of different peoples. Vardak, a Scorpion Man trained in combat by a god, Tavesin an apprentice at a school of magic, Dranamir, a member of the Souless, the baddies of this story, Aran’daj, a Murkor soldier caught of the wrong side of a dangerous conflict, and Ravin, a mysterious figure of great power and a thirst for revenge.
With such a large cast, Calvin manages to quickly invest the reader in all of their stories and no one feels neglected by the narrative. A true ensemble piece, it’s impossible to nail down a “main character”. Everyone is very well developed with clear motivations and personalities with believable relationships to each other. They are written well enough that every decision makes sense with what has been established, but still manages to be surprising quite often.
The races in this novel are incredibly unique and fascinating. I won’t say much about them because I really enjoyed learning about them in the narrative so I won’t spoil that experience, but I do have to say one thing. The Scorpion Men are incredibly badass and all I could think of reading about them was The Rock in The Mummy Returns and I loved it. Vardak with forever be Dwayne Johnson in my mind.
The world and lore bring a depth to the storytelling that brought to mind The Wheel of Time, but is definitely not derivative of Robert Jordan. The main thing that brought that series to mind were the Soulless, the main antagonists. A “team” of five powerful baddies that attempted to take over the world for The Nameless God throughout history are all teaming up now for this final(?) push. They brought to mind The Forsaken, but only just. None of them feel like any particular Forsaken, and they stand on their own as intimidating and scary villains.
The gods are many and meddling, with the reader never knowing exactly what their goals are as they pull the strings on our protagonists. That’s all I’ll say about them though, for fear of spoilers.
An epic fantasy that brings you back to the classic stories of the 80’s and 90’s, but with plenty of modern and original twists, The Moon’s Eye is an excellent start to The Relics of War trilogy. With intriguing and lovable protagonists, frightening and brutal villains and an incredibly well built world, A.J. Calvin has crafted a solid launching point to what looks to be a fantastic fantasy trilogy.
Leave a Reply