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The Gems of Elsana: Into the Wildbarrens

Narrated by: Andrew McDermott
Series: Into the Wildbarrens, Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
Categories: Young Adults, Ages 11-13
5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Summary

We know him well. Ever-flowing wisdom. Concealed power. A white beard and a proclivity for mentoring chosen ones. In so many stories, we find ourselves enamored with a kindly wizard guiding our protagonist, curious to his roots, source of power, and hidden knowledge. This is that wizard’s story. 

Falin is only 20 years of age, and with 980 years left to explore the world, he is eager to begin his quest for the Gems of Elsana. As one of 10 wizards acting as peacekeepers to their land, Falin must first embark on a journey to gather the Gems, four jewels that provide wizards with their full power. Once a century, a wizard sets out on their quest, accompanied by four Champions from each kingdom within the The Crown of Elsana. Falin considers himself lucky, joined by a sage healer, elven assassin, drakkish warrior, and madorian prince. All seems well until the elder wizards reveal they expect Falin’s quest will take them into the Wildbarrens, a desolate and horrid land teeming with creatures of the Dark. Given the circumstances - and to the chagrin of Falin’s honorable Champions - the group is accompanied by an unscrupulous pair of outlaws claimed to have traveled through the Wildbarrens. In their expedition, they come across friends and foes, countless landscapes, all while uncovering a sinister plot threatening the balance of Elsana. 

In this feel-good fiction, we are cast into a world brimming with our favorite elements of fantasy with new twists unlike anything we’ve read before. Within The Gems of Elsana: Into the Wildbarrens, Christian Sterling has cultivated the start of a series with unparalleled charm, action, humor, romance, and thrills. All ages will be sure to enjoy this story from its first magical moments to its last.

©2019 Christian Sterling (P)2019 Christian Sterling

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    5 out of 5 stars

amazing story

We know him well. Ever-flowing wisdom. Concealed power. A white beard and a proclivity for mentoring chosen ones. In so many stories, we find ourselves enamored with a kindly wizard guiding our protagonist, curious to his roots, source of power, and hidden knowledge. This is that wizard’s story.
this books lots of unparalleled charm, action, humor, romance, and thrills. enjoyed this book its not just for kids

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 06-08-19

World, character and story building to perfection!

An enjoyable fantasy story that brings together a somewhat disagreeable selection of warriors (although this changes over the course of the story) to help Falin get his wizards gems for his staff.

This book is only the first part of the story so I'm only judging it as such. It doesn't end on a cliffhanger and develops the characters well. Without giving too much away I enjoyed seeing some stereotypical attitudes of the characters be molded into more. The Vampire that starts cold and calculating, the noble warrior that is rash and strong, the funny character that has hidden strengths and of course the young wizard that needs to become the hero.

The story was well narrated and the narrator suited the story perfectly. Something to do with fantasy and Irish is a great combination. This is the second book that Andrew has narrated that I have listened to and I could listen to his lyrical tones all day.

Pros:

Good world-building.
Interesting characters that don't always get on.
The good guys don't get it right every time.
The bad guys have been well developed.

Cons:
I need to get the next book to see how the story continues.
I would have preferred the story to be a little darker in places but that is only my preference.

Comparable to:

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: ( For attitude and wholesome rating)

The Fellowship of the Ring: (For pacing)

Part 1 of a bigger story can always tempt people to say the book is slow but Into the Wildbarrens is worldbuilding, plot building, and character-building while keeping the story interesting. It took three books to tell the Lord of the Rings and this will be the same.

Conclusion

Book One is a great intro to the series. My main question to the author is this:

Well done on creating a book akin to The fellowship of the Ring or The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and yet unique in its story and identity...can you hit the challenges of the second book in the series?

Book two needs to hit the ground running with drama, battles, woes, and victories if it is to carry the story well into the next phase.

Suitable for most ages and everyone can enjoy it.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Diving Blue Bonnet
  • 22-07-19

Worth a credit? 🤷‍♀️

The Gems of Elsana: Into the Wildbarrens by Christian Sterling is a fantasy story. Falin is a young wizard who is on a quest with six “champions” to help him find the four gems he must collect in order to bring himself to his full wizardly power. They encounter many various characters and situations along the way.

I really had a hard time getting through this story. I kept hearing glimpses of parallels between existing stories, for example, LOTR being the most obvious to me. I found it distracting.

Andrew McDermott brought the characters to life with his various voices for the different ones. Good job!👏🏻 The pace of the story was a little slow. Once I changed the speed to 1.25 it really made it better!

Is it worth a credit? 👍🏻 Yes, I think this story would be perfect for kids 12 and up.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hunter
  • 24-09-19

That accent.

The bones of the story are pretty standard, a chosen one, who is a wizards, goes on a quest to come into his power, and fulfill his destiny. He gets a pretty standard array of adventurers to accompany him a fighter, ranger, rogue, and healer, and two two extras that are harder to define and by far the most interesting, Red is a handy man adventurer jack of trades type who os always being hunted be someone, and Jimmie is sortof a fae like druid creature.

the quest is for four elemental crystals that will give the wizard mastery over each element. he gets a map and sent on his way. On the journey he must face off with the forces of Darkness.

so why is this book so good? Well primarily the narrator is amazing. He has the deep country Irish accent and tailors the dialect for each character so perfectly, I've never heard such an authentic set of celtic accents for a set of characters in an audiobook.

Also the characters all start out as caricatures of their archetypes and develope into very well fleshed out characters.

The story is fun, a little slow at points, and much of its strength comes from the characters bonding over each trail overcome.

** I received a free review copy of this book, my review is voluntary and unbiased

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jessica
  • 18-09-19

High Fantasy

I was given a copy of this audiobook free for the purpose of review. It brought to mind some of the well known fantasies but the characters were definitely there own "people" not knock offs. I enjoyed the story and the narrator did a good job.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Layla
  • 18-09-19

The Gems of Elsana

This is a clean high fantasy. This is not lord of the rings but it was an entertaining story. The character are well developed with a good backstory and good pacing.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Y Henry
  • 03-09-19

Extremely surprised!

I read a review of what type of characters were in this book and I thought it would not be good. Another group of people going on a quest filled with all sorts of obstacles and bad guys.
Oh was I wrong!! The author wove such a great story line and drew you in with the character development over the journey. It truly was the characters of the story that made it so great. By the end of the first book you feel like you have made new friends. The journey itself was scary, funny, and exciting. And it was a CLEAN read, so refreshing!! Thank you!
I’ve already recommended it to several people and will continue to do it!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Charles A.P. Wetherington
  • 28-08-19

Excellent Fantasy Adventure!

Opens well with a sense of adventure from the start. Story progresses well with great humor and some sadness.
Narrator has the perfect voice for this story. He is clearly spoken with good vocal pressure.
I recommend this book for ages 15 and older due to some violence. There is some romance, but nothing explicit.
I was given this audiobook for free and I freely give it my rating and opinion

1 person found this helpful

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  • PebblesJ
  • 28-08-19

WOW!!

This is a J.R.R. Tolken type adventure book. INCREDIBLE story! I love the narration of it with all the different characters! The book is incredible to listen to and made me feel like I was right there walking or fighting along with them! Can't wait for the next adventure!!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Cindy
  • 24-08-19

A great listen

Overall this was a very good story to wile away several hours.
Interesting characters that flowed well with the story.
The narrator did an excellent job. His voice is smooth and clear making the story more enjoyable.
This audio was given to me free and I voluntarily gave this review.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Jaclyn679
  • Jaclyn679
  • 24-08-19

Good clean fun

The Gems of Elsana: Into the Wildbarrens
A good, clean, and entertaining story. It reminded me a bit of the lion the witch and the wardrobe series or something written by Jeff wheeler. I enjoyed the characters, and was thankful that each character was developed and not just thrown in for a few minutes. The story takes you on a journey, and has a lot of exciting moments. The pacing was good and kept moving without letting you get bored, but the story was also long enough to feel like a full story.

I received this title for free in exchange for an unbiased review.

1 person found this helpful