Reviewed by Kirkus and BlueInk
Kirkus reviewed the new and improved Book One of the Sons of Odin, and said:
In this fantasy debut, four individuals visit a war-torn realm full of monsters and magic, seeking to fulfill an ancient
One night, actor Adem Highlander suffers quite the nightmare. In it, he faces a tunnel of flames, and a raven-haired
beauty tells him that he is a Son of Odin. Adem connects the experience with another he had years ago at a place called
Bright, where he and his friends Carl Wilder and William “Wil” Martyr became Witnesses to the reality of ghosts (Adem
learned that “ghosts were not imagined, not a mythology. Not some false religious fantasy cooked up to inspire hope or
fear in the hearts of mankind”). Later, Adem and his agent, Anna, attend the symphony. There, he has a waking vision of
a wizard who asks, “What will be the hour of your arrival, Son of Odin?” The next day, Adem, Carl, and Wil meet
model Jean Fairsythe at a photo shoot. Then, the foursome is transported to Kismeria, a kingdom at war with the Dark
One and his demonic hordes. Orion, King of the Torvellan, informs them that in 1,000 years they are destined to face the
Dark One. Until then, they must train and work against the taint—instilled by the ghosts Witnessed at Bright—that
threatens to interfere with their use of the Power. In the opening volume of a complex new fantasy series, Hammer offers
readers lavish battles, dizzying amounts of gore, and a system of magical patrons called Battle Angels that fans of the
Final Fantasy video games should enjoy. Hammer’s prose is often dense with imagery, as when “Anna, the crew,” and
“the bushland were all swallowed by a vortex of light and shadows,” and “the light exploded into tiny filaments of
burning gold and white energies.” The battles, during which the Sons of Odin—and Jean, the Daughter of
Thor—summon superpowered guardians, are splatterfests (demons are blasted “into dust and smoke, torn flesh and large
spurts of dark blood”). Quiet moments involve Adem’s courting of Jean, who believes that love “writes itself upon our
every fibre.” Christianity also plays a role, as Carl attempts to convert Kismerian warriors and chides Adem against
taking innocent lives. Overall, the action is busier than the plot is satisfying.
A marathon of fantasy gore and slow-building characterizations in a land confronting demons. - Kirkus Reviews
BlueInk Reviewed Book Two of Sons of Odin, and said;
Imagine you’re playing a game of Dungeons & Dragons. Anticipation is high as you prepare to roll the dice, but if the Dungeon Master spends too much time defining the setting or characters, it’s hard to get the game moving.
That’s the feeling in Druantia’s Curse, the second book in fantasy author L.A. Hammer’s elaborate Sons of Odin series. This volume takes up where the first left off, as The immortal Sons of Odin and Daughter of Thor faced an evil curse on masculine magic.
Now they also confront a hex upon feminine power as well. It’s up to Adem, Jean, Carl and Wil to put an end to both curses and return balance to the troubled land of Kismeria.
This should be exciting. Indeed, Hammer’s vivid visual imagery (as in, “a blur of motion as the five thousand riders moved in unison like a school of fish navigating on a sea of green”) makes the character’s journeys exhilarating and the battle scenes intense. When they alternate with extended narrative detail, however, it feels as if the Dungeon
Master has overdone it.
On the cusp of battle, for instance, Hammer stops to describe the soldiers’ costumes—black armor with golden serpentine dragons for Adem, crimson dragons for Carl. The image is majestic, but Hammer’s focus on physical features repeatedly disrupts the flow of action. A map of Kismeria and a glossary that explains unique vocabulary such as teron (male power) and terael (female power) are useful, but consulting them also takes readers away from the story, slackening the pace further.
Druantia’s Curse is entertaining and full of surprises—from wormholes to vampires—but it requires dedication to track all of the subplots. Casual readers of fantasy may be frustrated by the wealth of detail, but diehard fans will appreciate the Robert Jordanesque layering of characters, relationships and lands that brings Kismeria to life.
Also available as an ebook. - BlueInk Reviews
Kirkus Reviewed Book Two of Sons of Odin; Druantia's Curse; Collector's Edition:
The Chosen warriors split their forces to square off against a vampire lord in this sequel.
Adem Highlander, his friends Carl Wilder and Wil Martyr, and his lover, Jean Fairsythe, are visitors to the fantastic
realm of Kismeria. They are the prophetic Sons of Odin and the Daughter of Thor, in training to face the Dark One and
wielding special weapons that involve the godlike Battle Angels. After events in the previous adventure, the four
Chosen—as well as the Immortal Kings and Queens—have been imprisoned by the warlord Keljar El’ Koto at Auglem
Watch. The rescue party, led by Jothar Kelderath, King Tobin Fireheart, and King Orion Demonslayer, generates not just
magical shields of air, but also offensive spells like fire to dispatch enemy soldiers. This breaks newly created laws, and
in a shocking display of power, Jean strips them of their royalty. Though Adem disagrees with the decision, he stands by
Jean. Then, an attack by Tairark Vampireking’s horde focuses the group on curing the vampirism of Hayley, Wil’s wife,
which has spread to her Battle Angel, Druantia. If left unchecked, the curse may infect other female Battle Angels,
bringing disaster to the warriors who summon the deities during conflicts. In this second installment of Hammer’s
(Odin’s Awakening, 2014) epic fantasy series, the complexities of magical warfare and romantic loyalties continue.
Taking center stage once again, however, are the action sequences. They’re akin to panoramic oil paintings of orgiastic
chaos, as when “Hawks, Crows and Pixies broke away from the Shadow Men to punch through vampire chests in bright
flares....Skulls exploded on impact, limbs falling as torn debris.” These scenes are balanced by explorations of the heart,
considering that “love comes second to power” for Adem. Hammer also delights in creating elaborate names for
characters and magical maneuvers, like “Black Owl Swoops” and Calliestra Shadowheart. The use of time-travel and
other twists—like the fallout from a romantic triangle among Adem, Jean, and Princess Isabella—deftly prepares fans
for a rousing sequel.
This immersive, colorful, and action-oriented fantasy series smoothly maintains its rapid pace. - Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviewed Book Three of the Sons of Odin:
Hammer’s (Balor’s Might, 2015, etc.) third adventure finds the demon-smashing Sons of Odin on the brink of
Dark clouds spread from the peak of Kerak’Otozi, and the threat of the Dark One looms over the fantastic world of
Kismeria. The Sons of Odin—Adem Highlander, Wil Martyr, and Carl Wilder—along with the Daughter of Thor, Jean
Fairsythe, realize that they must grow their ranks and power before their prophesied showdown with unimaginable evil.
Personal dilemmas plague Adem, like the migraines that require daily Healing, and the insufferable Princess Isabelle,
who’s pregnant with their child. Fortune graces the heroes when the vampiric Hayley begins swearing captured vampires
into her newly formed coven. Further help arrives in the form of Shienden’kroxus, a small emerald dragon that Adem
creates (according to prophecy) with the Power. While battling demons along the Borderlands, Adem has the epiphany
that, “even these bloodthirsty monsters were victims in the Dark Lord’s incessant schemes.” Adem and his dragon
eventually venture forth separately from Kismeria’s heroes. He wonders, “if he felt compassion for evil, was he not also
becoming evil?” Worse, Adem blocks his companions from communicating through their patron deities, the Battle
Angels, which sets them worrying that madness has finally taken him. In his third installment of the series, Hammer
continues to tap a vein of phantasmagoric mayhem that should mesmerize video gamers and fans of the Lord of the
Rings alike. Nearly every page displays eye-popping battle visuals: “Lightning filled the sky, a rainbow of coloured
bolts, a thousand falling every second to turn the grey haze into a bright neon flare.” That said, readers of more
character-driven fantasies may grow fatigued by Hammer’s penchant for elaborate magical warfare. Heartfelt surprises
abound, however, like when Adem quotes from the Bible to describe Jean (“She is more precious than rubies, nothing
you desire can compare with her”). The underlying themes of humanity’s imperfection and the individual’s struggle
toward a truer self permeate this narrative, which sets the heroes in a new direction.
Provides an action-packed turning point in the series and sets the stage for fresh adventures. - Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviewed Book Four of the Sons of Odin: Balor's Might
This fourth volume in an epic series finds a heroic quartet revisiting a magical world after a brief respite.
At the end of the previous adventure, the Sons of Odin—Adem Highlander, Wil Martyr, and Carl Wilder—as well as the
Daughter of Thor, Jean Fairsythe, returned to Earth from the wondrous realm of Kismeria. Adem and Jean got married
and had a child, Janeanne, with four years passing in harmony. One night, Janeanne vanishes from her bed, and Adem is
convinced his nemesis, the Dark One, is responsible. Revealing this to his psychiatrist proves to be a mistake
when Adem is locked up for observation. After breaking him out of the hospital, Jean, Wil, and Carl are surrounded by
lightning and an “incandescent glow that seemed to stretch off into forever.” The four are transported to Kismeria’s foul
East Lands, near the peak of Kerak’Otozi—the Dark One’s prison. Because time passes more quickly in the war-torn
realm of goblins and Battle Angels, Janeanne has spent 20 years here. More shocking, the heroes must face the legacy of
their departure—four years ago on Earth versus more than 1,000 years on Kismeria—during which time Pendral, the son
Adem sired with the haughty Princess Isabelle, has become the formidable Koriken Demonfist. Opening this fourth
installment on Earth, Hammer (Arawn’s Carnage, 2015, etc.) teases a different kind of narrative. It’s not long, however,
before his love for mystical carnage reasserts itself. In the hospital, Adem encounters a shadowy figure whose voice was
“devastating to behold” and “made him feel that his skin and flesh were being peeled off by the dark energies.” This
novel follows a beat similar to the prior three, in which armies are assembled, personal demons lay exposed—like Adem
dwelling on his affair with Isabelle—and vast battles engulf the land. Plot quirks include the Time Strider Elarja
Rinhannen’s trip into the past, and the widespread use of the tainted Dark Trail magic. Dedicated fans should rejoice.
Though this tale begins with a unique rhythm, the author’s fantasy tropes draw it back into the series’ fold. - Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviewed Book Five of Sons of Odin: Dis Pater's Rage
In this fifth volume of an epic fantasy series, a hero uses time travel to thwart demonic hordes in the present.
In the magical realm of Kismeria, Adem Highlander, Wil Martyr, and Carl Wilder are the prophesied Sons of
Odin, destined to battle the Shadow. Though Adem is devoted to and has a daughter with Jean Fairsythe, the
Daughter of Thor, he also has a child with Princess Isabelle. Their adult son, Pendral, is in thrall to the evil
Jinn-Lord, imprisoned in Kerak’Otozi, a volcanic mountain. To ensure that his son becomes an upstanding,
compassionate man, Adem has been using Elarja RinHannen’s Time Stones to visit Pendral in the past, as a
boy. Though Pendral’s demon army seems to be growing in the present, he appears conflicted while fighting
the Sons of Odin and their allies. Meanwhile, Druid Allor MorKondeith creates a potion that alleviates the
curse of creeping madness in those who use teran and terael magic. But Carl doesn’t appreciate the
intoxicating side effects. Adem also begins to question his chances of gaining redemption and God’s
forgiveness after all the violence of his warrior life. Could the Sons have a kind of PTSD from the event that
brought them from Earth to Kismeria? Later, Elarja warns that too many visits to young Pendral have “the
potential for great tragedy.” Hammer goes back to the deep imaginative well that has served him in the four
prior volumes of this fantasy series. This volume explores father-son relationships and the missed
opportunities therein. In the present, warrior Rayne Dragon-Sword battles Pendral, his own father, only to see
his friends—Shaye, Ellagon, and Ragan—possessed by demons. And yet the author’s penchant for verbal
and visual extravagance makes the characters’ personal dramas difficult to maintain (“Time was sliding into a
puddle like gel. Space was constricted and at the same time stretched beyond containable proportions”).
Magical action against countless creatures maximizes the gore. Euphoria-inducing potions and an herb called
menuhybe, which is smoked, have obvious real-world parallels.
A sweetly surprising finale expands the potential of subsequent volumes.
Readers craving another dose of superlative magic battles and ambitious plotting won’t be disappointed. - Kirkus Reviews
Book One of the Heroes of Legend: The Archer, The Princess, and The Dragon King, by L. A. Hammer
Three young heroes find themselves in a world descending into chaos in this high fantasy novella.
The Dark Days have returned. Ten-year-old Matthew is an orphaned prince in exile, looked after by his tutor and wizard,
Eldarus, and his new pet dragon, Utredius. The boy’s ultimate goal is to take back his dead father’s kingdom from a
conquering emperor, but rumored happenings suggest that other, more imminent trials may be in store. A white wolf with
red eyes has been born, and a phoenix has appeared out of the desert. Even worse, the Vampire King who has slept since
time immemorial has reawakened to unleash a plague on the land. “All hope depends on you, Matthew,” Eldarus tells him.
“Not just to rule your people, but perhaps to also lead the battles that will eventually destroy the Vampire King.” It’s a lot for
a 10-year-old to handle. Matthew gets separated from Eldarus when the Vampire King sends a minion to kill the boy and
steal his dragon, but he soon finds himself in the company of a capable new friend, the Cloudwalker Sun Wukong, who
has mastered the ability to fly. Matthew isn’t the only young person whose life has been thrown into turmoil by recent
events. Eighteen-year-old Princess Cybele is the one who brought the phoenix into being by shooting fire from the palm of
her hand. Twelve-year-old Tristan comes from a clan renowned for its archers, and he is destined to be Cybele’s steward
and protector. The white wolf with red eyes happens to be his pet. Can these young protagonists and their animal
companions rise to the occasion to keep the world from being overrun by darkness? Just how the prophecies will unfold is
In this series opener, Hammer’s prose evokes the romantic diction and mythological complexity of the high fantasy genre,
sometimes to an eye-rolling extent: “If the prophecies are to be believed, the Snow Wolf will be born this night,” Tristan’s
father tells him. “Frostgale’s mate was the king of all sabre-wolves, and so the prophecies state that he shall sire the Snow
Wolf. You know the story, boy. Do I have to tell it again?” There isn’t much here that can be considered original thinking,
and some of it even comes across as a tad bit lazy. The Vampire King’s name? Drahkuhl. The emperor’s? Caesar. That
said, the author gets things started with an admirable economy. It’s a 93-page novella, and readers will meet most of the
major players by Page 6. It’s unclear how many more installments Hammer has planned—one suspects it’s quite a
few—but so far the pacing is brisk and the world, if not completely unique, is quite fun. Matthew and Eldarus travel on a
ship with a crew of pirate ghosts. Drahkuhl stalks ancient ruins and subsists on the blood of sheep. This story may not
prove to be a crossover hit like some of the books that inspired it, but readers who love the fantasy genre will find much
here to enjoy.
A derivative but skillfully executed and engaging fantasy. --Kirkus Reviews.