By Sean Frankel
A twelve year old boy discovers he has unimaginable power and that his whole life he has lived… is a lie. Kelly Hess wrote a fantastic book Eyes Of The Enemy, which focuses on a young boy by the name of Beyn (pronounced beɪn ). Beyn grew up in a small village, the Veiled Gorge, with his ‘father’ which until the events in the books: was a happy, normal life. That was… until…. the village came under attack by the Soraks.
The Soraks is just what Kelly Hess describes as a different “race” of humanity. They are genetically stronger and are able to wield powers that regular humans cannot. The Soraks also speak in a different language than others. I find this very intriguing because it makes the world more intricate. It isn’t like most books where EVERYONE speaks one language or this SPECIFICALLY different character speaks a different language. It gives the world the diversity it needs.
The story progresses very chronologically and you almost know where the book is going to go next, but it really catches you at those very anticipated moments by going a totally different way –like who would have foreseen that Beyn’s father in Veiled Gorge is NOT his biological father. Who would have thought that there were others similar to Beyn? Not I.
There is an underlying story-line that picks up midway through the book in regards to a magical dagger and Beyn’s friend Fritz. Kelly Hess is using this ‘side-tracked’ path to lead in to the real story that is becoming of the characters in the books to come –which I find fascinating. I won’t give too much more away to avoid spoiling the book.
Do I recommend this book?
I absolutely do. This book has everything you would want from a fantasy. A great plot, great character development, names that aren’t confusing, doesn’t require a whole lot of thinking, and it gets straight through the story without KILLING you with detail.
Is this book DISCUSSIONABLE?
We did this book for our Teen Book Club and we had a good discussion about the book. There are a lot of easy to point out things that happen that cover judgement, coming of age, and emotional personalities. It also provides some unique ways of putting a story together that will help inspire young writers.
Kelly Hess is a local author to us here in Vacaville, California. Eyes Of The Enemy is the first book in his BlackMyst trilogy. He has also written other books, e.g., Toast, Bumped, Gobslayer, and The Fool’s Apprentice. All of these books are available at Bounty Books.