JOINT REVIEW: The Eidolon by K.D. Edwards
Janine: Sirius introduced me to K.D. Edwards’ Tarot Sequence series, which we both love, and we decided to review his new spinoff novella, The Eidolon, together.
We’ll begin with the blurb:
In the epic conclusion to K.D. Edwards’ first blockbuster trilogy in The Tarot Sequence series, readers followed Rune on a race against time as an age-old threat rose to threaten the city of New Atlantis. Now, for the first time, The Eidolon tells what really happened to Max, Quinn, and Anna as prisoners in the Hourglass Throne’s base of operation.
The Eidolon is the first in a brand-new collection of novels and novellas in the Magnus Academy Series. These stories will be told through the various points of view of Rune’s found family, ultimately leading to a planned arc of novels set at the new Magnus Academy. The book was printed in partnership with Rainbow Crate, the world’s largest queer subscription box service, which produced a limited-edition hardcover. There will also be an Audible version, along with a self-published eBook.
And here’s our review:
Sirius: First and foremost, don’t try to read this book if you have not read the main series. Moreover, I would suggest not reading this book prior to reading The Hourglass Throne. The author mentions in the foreword that it started as a companion of The Hourglass Throne, because he had to cut out a lot of kids’ story from the book, but developed it into a short novel and will start the Magnus Academy series with it. Nevertheless I would still characterize it as a companion to The Hourglass Throne first and foremost, because it mostly tells us what happened with Quinn, Max and Anna while they were captured by Lady Time (well, Quinn came voluntarily and Max came with him and Anna came later, but the end result was the same).
Janine: As I read The Eidolon I was thinking that if I hadn’t read the earlier books, not only would I be lost, I would be annoyed by the number of times Rune was mentioned because I don’t think he actually appeared on the page at all except for one glimpse of him. There was very little of Brand and Addam too. Had I not read the Tarot Sequence books, my reaction would have been “Who are these people and why should I care?”
Sirius: Agreed. I really enjoyed this book, but when the author first mentioned the possibility of spin-off with the younger characters carrying the storyline, I was a little wary. I mean I do not doubt that all three of them can carry the series, I think they are all very strong characters and very capable of being the main ones. No, what I wondered about was the plot. In other words to me, a spin-off story should be able to function independently from the main story even if some characters appear in both and so far I’m not sure if the Magnus Academy series will. I would be incredibly lost if I started reading The Eidolon as the first book in a series. I still thought it was very good, please don’t get me wrong.
Janine: I agree that the kids can carry the spinoff series, but I did miss Rune’s first-person voice (this book is told in third person). And with the kids as the leads, it doesn’t feel like a book for adults to me, more like somewhere between YA and Middle Grade. Perhaps closer to MG (a genre I don’t read) because YA hinges on coming of age and I didn’t feel there was a pronounced coming-of-age element here. Ultimately the kids didn’t grow up or change their outlook significantly during the course of this book, which is the mark of a good YA novel for me, so it felt even younger than most YA. Although the first epilogue (the book has two epilogues), suggests that some growing up / loss of innocence might happen in the future.
What genre would you call it? Adult fantasy, YA fantasy or Middle Grade? I’m curious how it read to you.
Sirius: I don’t know. It really does feel like a cut out part of The Hourglass Throne to me for now, so it felt like part of the main Tarot Sequence story but with kids getting to play main parts. I suspect it will later play as YA fantasy. And I wonder how it will work? Not as if the kids stop being part of the main books, or at least I hope not. Will they play lighter adventures in their own stories and participate in Rune’s story also? Am curious.
Janine: Going in I feared (based on what the author said in the foreword) a spoiler or spoilers that would take something away from Rune’s books. There was a big reveal in the first epilogue it both was and wasn’t a spoiler for me. It wasn’t a spoiler because I’d already figured out (and have further theories about) what was revealed. I think it may be a spoiler for other readers who haven’t, though.
It also is spoiler for me personally in a different way. I prefer to find out about something big or even have a suspicion confirmed at the same time it has the maximum impact on the main character. That is just more satisfying to me and I’m bummed that that experience has been spoiled for me. But I don’t know how many readers share that preference. I suspect not many.
Additionally, I don’t know what that reveal was doing in this book.
Sirius: The scene read darkest of them all to me, not sure if it was intended.
Janine: I think it was intended. Did you feel that it fit in with the rest of the story in The Eidolon? To me that scene depended on reading the other books more than most of the scenes. It didn’t seem like part of the plot (the kids vs. Lady Time) really.
Sirius: I get what you are saying but I find it hard to separate the two — the kids vs. Lady Time is very much not a separate plot to me so yes, to me it all fits together. So far The Eidolon doesn’t stand on its own so whatever bits and pieces of the main books popped up for now at least fit together.
Probably as an unexpected consequence of the kids being on their own for most of the books, the book to me read darker than the other three. I am aware that Rune and Brand are dealing with a lot of darkness from their past and I am sure plenty left in their present, but when Rune looks at the kids somehow I was always clear that he would do everything to protect them. Here they had to deal with the darkness by themselves.
Janine: That’s interesting, because to me it felt lighter and a little watered down relative to the Tarot Sequence books. I like reading about the kids, but except for possibly Quinn, I don’t have the same level of investment in them that I do in Rune, Brand and Addam.
Part of it is that there’s no romance component (nor should there be; I see them as siblings at this point) and a romantic subplot often makes me more engaged in a book. Another piece is what I said earlier, that there wasn’t a real growth arc for the kids. But also, because they don’t have the same kind of trauma in their past that Rune and Brand do, or the same kinds of secrets directly surrounding them, the stakes felt lower to me. And I felt that because they were children and part of Rune’s family, they would be safe. I knew the author wouldn’t put them through anything as horrible as what he puts Rune through.
Sirius: Just to be clear, it felt darker to me because the kids had to face a danger on their own at least for a certain period of time, but yeah overall you are right, I doubt the kids will face as much darkness as Rune and Brand will.
Janine: I see what you mean. Somehow I wasn’t worried about the kids at any point because I have a strong feeling that the author won’t allow harm to come to them. That’s just part of the vibe of the series, that they’ve all found a safe place with Rune and the author will protect that dynamic. I could be wrong! But for that reason the danger didn’t feel that real to me.
Another reason this book felt lighter and more watered down was that I knew a lot of the plot already. The origin of this book as a subplot of The Hourglass Throne took some suspense out—I read The Hourglass Throne relatively recently and knew the biggest parts of what would happen.
Sirius: The author packed a lot in the relatively short story. The author calls it a short novel. I did not count the page length, so I don’t agree or disagree but I read it in less than a day and I did not devote my whole day to reading it.
Janine: Page-wise it’s a short novel but I agree that it was a fast read after the first third (that part was slow, because almost everything it covered I already knew about from the earlier book).
I enjoyed this book. I love Quinn, he is such a great character. I knew about an aspect of Anna’s powers from an earlier short story but it was still great, and I loved a scene where Quinn helped her with it. He is such a great character and what happened to him here will have ramifications, I’m sure. Even though I knew about it going in, it was still engaging to see it happen.
I also came out of the book liking Max better than I had in the past. I’ve seen him as a bit boring (relative to Quinn and Anna) but he was a bit more compelling here. He is clearly more mature than he was early in the series (I just wish that maturation hadn’t happened off-page).
Sirius: I was happy to see Max and Quinn interacting without looking at them through Rune’s eyes. Honestly I found them together to be even more endearing. Quinn struggling to control his gift and protect people he loves with the use of the gift (or by not using the gift) and Max being so very protective of Quinn. They just had such a nice chemistry together.
Janine: I liked them together also, but I like Quinn with just about anyone. He has chemistry with every character in this series IMO.
Sirius: Anna was wonderful too, I like her a lot, but now I wonder, yes we know how powerful Arcanas are and it had been established that she is at least a principality, but if she grew so powerful so fast, what would be left for her to learn? Not just magic wise, but maturity wise? Again, I get that her power is an indication that she would join the circle of very powerful figures in the books very fast ( maybe she already did ), but she is only thirteen. I guess I am worrying about her becoming know it all and can do it all too fast.
Janine: Don’t forget that Atlanteans age more slowly than humans (I believe it said that in the first book). She is probably more like ten or eleven in human terms, and that does make what is happening with her more engaging. IMO there is some room for her to mature some because of that—her emotional maturity will have to catch up to the responsibility that comes with her power. But I also don’t know if the kids’ maturation will be the focus of the books individually because as I say, in terms of emotional growth on their part this book felt pretty static to me.
Sirius: Presumably this is the jumping point between the main (Tarot Sequence) series and their own (Magnus Academy) books, so hopefully we shall see some growing up in the Magnus Academy series. At least I would love to see it there.
Janine: I hope so. At the same time, though, I liked this book fine. I haven’t decided whether to read further about the kids. As I say I don’t want to learn the big twists that are coming Rune’s way ahead of when they hit him and put him in a tailspin. The latter is more dramatic, impactful and satisfying to me as a reader. But that doesn’t mean this book wasn’t good. Overall it wasn’t bad at all.
I’m going to give The Eidolon a B-. What about you, Sirius? What’s your grade for it?