Gifts of a Dark God: Erebus Tales, Book III

Norman Westhoff
Iguana Books (2021)
ISBN: 978-1-77180553-7
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (01/2022)

As both an avid reader and writer, I can say with absolute honesty that penning or finding a series to read, where Book III is just as exciting as Book I, is one of the most difficult things to do and succeed at. It becomes even more difficult when you’re talking about the YA genre, simply because keeping a teen’s attention (when you’re not a video game or a cellphone) takes massive skill, imagination, and characters written so well that they draw a heap of fans on a daily basis who want to either love them for being evil, or cheer for them because they are the ultimate superhero, depending on which character they choose.

We all know this. Come on…how many “Harry Potter’s” are really out there? But when I came across this series, back in 2016, it took no time at all for me to be drawn into the world of Cree Indian geologist, Keltyn SparrowHawk, in the 24th century. For those who are unaware, that first thrilling adventure was titled, “Stone Fever,” and the incredible plot took all of our imaginations to Antarctica, where a team of brilliant scientists were attempting to locate a precious mineral called Iridium. Now, this mission was sponsored by one, Sir Oscar Bailey, whose wallet was filled with cash and his life was all about power. As Keltyn’s mentor, he also had…let’s say, his own dark plans for this rare element. Readers were riveted as the plane the team was on had to crash land, and then the group was discovered by members of the Nomidar Tribe: another troupe who had their own plans for uncovering a great source of Iridium. Scenes played out that ran the spectrum from greed to secrets to technology versus culture, and a whole lot more.

Not only was that a memorable book, but author Norman Westhoff followed it up this past May with “The Color of Greed.” To say I was happy to see Keltyn back would be an understatement, because I was also thrilled that the sequel turned out to be as good (if not better, at times) than its predecessor. Taking me back to the frozen tundra of Antarctica a year and a half later, I could barely breathe when I experienced all of my favorite genres coming together. The plotline became more in-depth than ever before, and when the ending came…I begged the silent “library” gods that another would be released as soon as possible.

As if the gods had heard me, and had this on tap to make my New Year the best ever, Book III was set in my hands and I was positively giddy. In fact, when I read the very first page and the author “reminded” me that Erebus is the primordial God of Darkness in the annals of Greek mythology, my skin began to tingle. I just knew I was about to dive headfirst into yet another Westhoff masterpiece.

My favorite geologist is back! Her quest to return to Antarctica is still prevalent in her mind. However, being that she’s sitting in a Canadian jail cell, with murder charges hanging over her head, Keltyn must find a way to strike up a deal for her freedom. What that deal involves, I’d love to tell you, but I can’t give it away. I will say that this female has a strategy, and her life goes from jail cell to China to a reunion of sorts at the familiar Erebus volcano with friends, Joaquin and Luz—two from Keltyn’s past who have transformed their futures in a way that will leave readers quite surprised.

Add in an activist who makes it her life’s work to battle Bailey’s scheme of taking over world commerce, that will pit her against one of Bailey’s henchmen, and will perhaps have her joining a group of people she truly loathes in order to win, and you have a thrilling book! This author can definitely brag that Book III in his series did the improbable: it came out even bigger and better than the first two. Erebus, that dark mountain god, would agree with me on that one, and so will all of this author’s fans who think this series is one heck of a great ride!

If you wish to be awestruck, I say begin with Book I so you don’t miss out on a single solitary second of this series. But, if you have no time (which I completely understand), I can recommend that you pick up this, Book III, and be completely entertained. Erebus is, most definitely, a series that belongs with the most elite YA series’ that’ve been created. 

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