Blurb- The Kinship rides victorious into the small village of Minhaven, just in time to celebrate the Winter Festival. Their leader, Glak, brings with him both hope and spoils from battle, but also some distressing news. Though Minhaven’s greatest threat has finally been defeated, a new one is emerging to take its place.
The enemy Glak describes has not been seen in hundreds of years, yet somehow it has been haunting Elowyn’s dreams. Has Braeden’s cruel reach followed her from Tyroc’s troubled borders into this remote wilderness? If so, there is no place left to run, and the Kinship is preparing to fight an enemy more sinister and powerful than they can possibly imagine.
Past becomes present, as prophecies long buried continue to emerge, revealing their truth to the coming generation. The Era of Peace has ended. The Era of Awakening has begun. While Morganne seeks guidance from the crumbling pages of ancient tomes, Elowyn tries to find her place within a community for the first time.
Despite the impending danger, Morganne and Elowyn decide to make their stand with the people of Minhaven. As they plunge into the depths of history, prophecy, the wilderness, love, fear, hope, faith…the girls begin to learn more about who they are, and who Aviad is calling them to be.
Genre- Young Adult Fantasy
My Rating- 2.5 Meows room for im-purrrr-ovement
The story picks up with Elowyn and Morganne. After Journey to Aviad they settled down in Minhaven, a township in the mountains. During the winter festival some warriors show up to share in the rejoicing. Everything seems quite nice, despite Elowyn’s frightening and prophetic dream.
As it turns out, the beasts from her dream had begun to attack a neighboring community. Worse, they are related to the Hounds of Alazoth, and to Braeden. Glak, the warrior of Minhaven, even claims that the beasts may be from a different time, from the days of the Prophet.
There isn’t too much more to tell without spoiling the story. I’m sad to say that I enjoyed Ancient Voices a little less than Journey to Aviad, maybe even a lot less. Even though I still love Elowyn as a character, her fright, her determination, her willfulness, too often were the times that absolutely nothing was happening. There was a lack of action on Elowyn’s part even though her sister, Morganne has a bigger role.
In the end, I think if about 50 pages were cut from this book, it would have hit me a lot harder. Instead, it seemed to me like a friend droning on about mundane details rather than providing me with factual accounts of events, or even worse, it seems like the other characters, the warriors, are going off, seeking adventure, and then they recount the adventures to Elowyn, and then Reid recounts it to me.
Here’s an excerpt from a chapter I enjoyed. I still found it too interpretive, which demeaned the excitement-
Morganne might have comforted herself with the thought that this tome contained nothing more than the overly imaginative ravings of a crazed monk. But she knew all too well that the prophecy within it had already come to pass, that Gareth and the others had been right all along. Morganne could hardly bear to read through some of the pages, which brought the horrors of the Rift to life with unspeakable clarity. One drawing in particular held her captive; the Chest of Sorrows seemed to protrude from the page, covered with the forlorn faces of all those who had tried to open it without success. There had been so many from across the ages, that their cheeks were squeezed tightly together. Hollow eyes and tormented expressions grabbed at her heart while starved, bony fingers reached out toward her in desperation. For a moment, she forgot that she was only looking at an image of the chest, and not the chest itself. She could almost feel herself being pulled in, those twisted fingers grabbing for her hair, her clothing … her soul.
She felt a sudden tug on her dress and barely stifled a shriek as she slammed the book shut. Adelin had awoken from her nap. Her round face and wide blue eyes were fixed on Morganne as she teetered on the edge of melting into a startled wail. Clearly, this was not the reaction she had expected in response to her timid tug. Morganne quickly whisked Adelin up in her arms and hugged her tightly, a wave of relief sweeping over her. She wrapped the book up and tucked it away, knowing that she would need to gather her courage before she would be ready to read from it again.
Even with the book well out of sight, she could not escape her fears so easily. She tossed and turned on the narrow bed that she shared with Adelin, envious of Elowyn sleeping peacefully on the rug by the fire. When she did manage to sleep, she dreamed of the Crevasse and the Rift. She dreamt that she was being dragged into the bone room by a host of beasts like the one Glak had brought back from the mountains. They placed her before Alazoth’s altar, face to face with that horrible stone chest. They wanted her to open it, to condemn herself into becoming one of those lost souls, staring out mournfully into the abyss through all of eternity. She was promised wealth, prestige, power, beauty, even immortality…but nothing could entice her to share the fate of the forlorn faces on that chest. She resisted, realizing that she was lost in a nightmare from which she would eventually waken.
When morning came, Morganne rose from bed pallid and weary. She wrapped the book to take it with her, secretly hoping that she would not be asked to continue reading it, even though she felt compelled to by its obvious importance. She laid it on the table before Jadon, saying, “This is a dark tome you have given me.”
Jadon did not seem surprised. “The old tomes can be difficult,” he responded, “not in their translation, but in their message. They are scribed by men living in desperate times, whose hearts are made heavy by the suffocating weight of the Shadow’s presence upon the world. Such men are given voice by Aviad so that they may speak the words we need, but do not always want, to hear.”
“Indeed, there are many things written in this tome that I do not want to hear. I fear these things are no longer prophecy, but have come to pass in our generation.” Morganne went on to describe what she had read, hoping the information would push Jadon into action.
“Knowledge of the Chest of Sorrows is common, and has been recorded and copied in numerous tomes, though I have never before heard it described in such a way. What makes you believe that it has been opened?”
“The Hounds and their Master have been seen around Tyroc … or so I have heard,” Morganne said carefully. “Alazoth’s release was also revealed in visions given to my former teacher and a group of monks in his order. They left their monastery seeking answers and guidance, but I do not know where they went, only that their travels took them westward. More I dare not say. I have many more reasons to think that the beasts gathering just beyond Minhaven are not here by chance, but that they are connected with the opening of the chest.”
Jadon nodded, absorbed in thought as he leafed slowly through the pages of the tome, his eye finally resting on the image of the chest. He stared at it for a while, mesmerized as Morganne had been, before quietly closing the book and giving it back to Morganne.
“What should we do?” Morganne finally asked.
“Nothing,” Jadon said softly.
“Nothing?” Morganne could hardly believe his response.
“Does the tome give instruction on how to defeat the beasts?”
“No. It does not mention them at all. Mainly it warns that the chest and the Rift will be opened, releasing Alazoth and his armies into the world. It describes the Deep Woods, the Crevasse, and the Rift in frightening detail. The monk who wrote the tome said that Alazoth’s release will usher in a time of great trial for humanity that could very well be the end of days.”
“What would you have me do?” Jadon asked.
“I don’t know,” Morganne said in a flustered tone. “Tell your superiors and the rest of your order, tell the people, the Kinship…tell everyone so that they might prepare for what is coming.”
“Certainly I must tell my superiors,” Jadon said in his usual understated way. “The Kinship and the people already know of the beasts and are preparing for Minhaven’s defense should the worst befall us. The heavy snows will protect us for now, but many are frightened by what may await us when spring thaws the mountain passes. Should I bring more terror upon them with no offering of hope to see them through it? What can one do against a prophecy already fulfilled? Nothing more than pray for strength and wisdom, and hope that Aviad will give us instruction at the proper time.”
Morganne gaped in disbelief at the way he seemed to calmly accept this fate without feeling the need to do anything but pray.
“Perhaps there is something more in the remaining tomes that could be of help to us,” Jadon said encouragingly, noting Morganne’s despondent expression. He handed her a new tome just as the bells began to ring.
“Now that you have a fair understanding of the old language, there is no need to meet every day. Take whatever time you need with these tomes. Do not only translate them. Study them. Lift their message to Aviad in prayer and see what other insights He reveals to you. When you have questions or have finished a tome, you know how to find me.” Jadon then quickly ushered her out through the gate.
Morganne’s sewing tasks bore the brunt of her frustration as she tried to put the tomes out of her mind and catch up on the work she had left unfinished the previous day. The pressure bearing down on her heart to act was becoming unbearable, yet she had no clear direction for that pressure to vent itself. She kept asking herself if it was Aviad trying to direct her as He had before in Evensong, or was it her own fear getting the better of her? Perhaps she could not fault Jadon, for he had not come face-to-face with Braeden, or felt the threat of conjured storms lashing out at his roof. Until now, he had remained secure, insulated from the steady march of the Hounds that were now descending upon the southern shores of the Sovereign’s realm. He seemed content to wait for some divine instruction before entering into the looming battle.
The whole book is like this, uninspired and cliched; yeah, there are chapters with more action than others, but it isn’t the kind of action you’d expect. Furthermore, the fact that Reid already released one novel before this one, at least one, maybe more, I’m not sure, I really expected the story to be smoother to be more…I don’t know, alive.
There were different characters, and some different things happened, but there was really nothing to keep me going, except hoping to learn more of Aviad and his connection to the main characters.
Now, as is the case when I find a book I didn’t enjoy, I always want to express that just because I didn’t like it, doesn’t mean you won’t like it. Here’s a review from someone else-
The second book in the Wind Rider Chronicles, Ancient Voices: Into the Depths by Allison D. Reid, is a[s] captivating as the first book. Whereas in the first book we learned more about Elowyn, in this sequel we learn more about Morganne as both young girls continue to find their path and purpose in life. The tale takes place in Minhaven from one Winter Festival to the next. In the course of that year, Morgan[ne] has the opportunity to read and interpret the sacred texts while Elowyn tries to fit in with the community. Both learn self-protection; Morgan[ne] with a sword and Elowyn with the bow. The hardest lessons are to accept Aviad calling especially without knowing exactly what that calling is. I am looking forward to the next sequel in hopes that the calling is revealed and to see how the girls carry it out.
End of anonymous review
So, m’yeah, it’s worth reading if you like softer novels. There’s certainly some descriptive violence, but it isn’t action or gore. Like again, imagine me telling you that my friend got beat up, and that’s the gist of it.