Illyia (The Feigned Moon of Entiria Epic Serial, Book 2)
Independently Published (2021)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (01/2022)
“Illyia (The Feigned Moon of Entiria Epic Serial, Book 2)” represents the kind of award-winning, completely immersive work that fantasy fans crave. It’s a character-driven story that takes you on an unforgettable trip into dark places and imaginative spaces. Well-paced and carefully plotted, you will be entertained and mystified as you venture into parts unknown.
Still wanting to be “Lead Storyteller” of his tribe, Giels Deo tries to pull himself together after his adventure in the Underworld leaves him shaken, but his friends have something different in mind. He’s in pain, but they are motivated by it, and he has to decide which path to take. He can reconnect with the council and its traditional ways to seal his destiny, or he can give himself over to the mercy of the gods, where they will return him to the great machine.
If you want some backstory, Bagby delivers it to you. The author’s world-building skills are enormous, and you will get wrapped up in the details. Besides entertaining, this plot and these characters make you think, and take you inside the hearts and minds of young people facing adult responsibilities. Bagby’s imagination seems endless, delighting readers’ senses with textural layers. The conflict is energetic and tense, drawing readers in, and the characters are strong and independent—this is especially true for Giels, as he has goals and dreams you can identify with, and doesn’t take everything at face value.
The plot feels original; the writing style is fresh and lively. As you read, you get the feeling Bagby just loves what he’s doing. I think you can actually feel it when a writer enjoys creating a delightful story for an audience. This short book makes an enormous impact, and feels fully fleshed out. Bagby is skilled at balancing fantasy and sci-fi, and infuses enough mystery to keep the pages scrolling.
If you like unpredictable, coming-of-age fantasy tales with vivid imagery and a whisper of romance, you will absolutely love “Illyia.”