Wingheart: Luminous Rock by Benjamin Gabbay

Rating 8.0/10
Wingheart Luminous Rock shows a great amount of potential.

Magnus Wingheart never knew about the world of Arkane. He never knew about the past his older brother, Drake, had kept hidden from him, nor that his parents had died at the hands of an inhuman enemy in a city he had never known to exist. When that enemy resurfaces, sixteen-year-old Magnus, Drake, and their former guardian, Cecil Handel, become ensnared in a deadly hunt for an elusive object they know almost nothing about. Their only escape entails confronting their pursuer—the immortal madman Daimos Recett, the pivotal figure in a grand scheme that arches across the realms of existence and threatens all of Arkane.

Wingheart:Luminous Rock is the debut book written by teenage author Benjamin Gabbay, now 17 years old, this book was published before Benjamin turned 17! There is one author of whom I had quite the pleasure in reading a book with a similar history, those of Isamu Fukui the Truancy series. One thing that caught my curiosity of this book was the small text that Benjamin Gabbay likes to blend his storylines with fantasy and everyday world scenes. This could promise Wingheart: Luminous Rock to be a great story.

First of all I want to mention that the level of writing this story is pretty high for a teenage author. I never would have guessed that the descriptions of the world, dialogues and what happens in this book could have been so advanced and quite smooth. The way Benjamin Gabbay uses the words to describe several events really shows his competence as an aspiring author. This is definitely a big plus.

The story start of with an interesting catchy prologue where you see some servant claiming that their master Drakathel is alive again, just by these few pages I was triggered to find out who this Drakathel is, judging by the name and the words servant and master I had a few assumptions at the ready that his must be an evil, nefarious force. Though after this introduction you are switched to completely different that of perspectives of Magnus and his older brother Drake, they both are the ones that you follow throughout the story. Drake runs a bookstore where Magnus helps out by cleaning and picking/ordering books. You also learn that they have lost their parents at an early age and that they have a guardian Cecil Handel (who also plays an important part in the story).

With the absence of Drake in the bookstore, Magnus stumbles upon a something from the past.. From this discovery till the end of the book it become just one big chase and battle. At somewhat the same time as Magnus find out more about his past, Cecil their guardian is compromised and now both the Wingheart brothers and Cecil must make a run for safer terrain and plan out what to do next, and how to do it. After having fled from Noctell and Raven, just two of the bad guys in this story. Magnus’ world is completely turned upside down and he learns his true origins and all what is possible in the magical world of Arkane.

I must mention that Cecil and Magnus’ character were quite well developed, they made up a larger part of the storyline and in this they just seemed more complete and worked out than Drake. I already had some concerns when I first encountered Drake, his character did feel a bit flat and distant from the others not really allowing you to relate him and he did not seem to be a brother to Magnus and unfortunately as the story progressed there wasn’t really a change in his character. Perhaps by showing a bit more brotherly feelings towards Magnus in the books that follow and giving Drake more voice overall this problem can be easily solved.

On one side you have Magnus, Drake and Cecil fighting for their lives and on the “good side”, on the other you have the “bad guys” of the story, Noctell (a necromancer), Raven (a demon?) and their leader and mad warlord Daimos Recett. With a book aiming for a young-adult audience it was again great to see that Benjamin Gabbay dedicated more than a few pages to Noctell, Raven and Daimos. This showed a more rounded story by using the bad guys, who reside in Arkane, to tell more about what happened in the war and how they achieved it. Moreover so after you learn more and more about Daimos in particular, it does come to show that Daimos might not be the least of the problems that Magnus, Drake and Cecil are facing..

Just lastly I want to briefly mention the world that is created in Wingheart: Luminous Rock. Like I mentioned Benjamin is aiming to create a story by intertwining an everyday world and a fantasy world. Well it is shown in this first book that he is capable of it but I do have a few reservations still. Earth, where the bookstore of Drake is located is just as advanced as ours, but as soon as you learn about Arkane there are similarities and difference, it was said that Arkane was in some aspects more advanced than Earth but the environment created was more of that of an medieval world, referring to herbalists, magical gems and the like, at least this is how I perceived it to be. Next to this you also have the velocipeds (similar to bikes) and highways than run through Arkane. Now I do think that all these subjects on one hand did singularly add a certain amount of flavour to the story but on the other it did feel detached and they did not fully come together. Maybe after a bit of polishing and tweaking the blending can come together more. But it still stand to reason that having different worlds in parallel dimensions and traveling through rift to get there is pretty cool!

With Wingheart Luminous Rock, Benjamin Gabbay shows that he is on the right track to become an aspiring author. Having the ability to create this story at an age of 16 really shows what he has in store. From the beginning you can see that the story is bit more held back but as you get further and further into the magical world of Arkane and the journey of Magnus, the story become more confident as well. Wingheart Luminous Rock shows a great amount potential to grow out into a fine series.

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