Review of “The Slayer and the Sphinx: Book 1”, by Adam Bolander

Rarely am I tempted to call in sick to work to finish a book.  This was one of those books.  (Not that I did.)

Readers who like “epic journey” or “quest” books, along the lines of “The Lord of the Rings”, would love this story.  But it is so different from the usual cast of characters.  And the reason behind the journey they embark upon is one that I haven’t seen before, at least not exactly with the same background.

Porter Collins is a young man who was taken in as a young child by the Slayers, and raised by the party line:  all Mythics are bad, violent, out to destroy all humans, and must be destroyed at every chance.

Hidden elsewhere, Sarah Heisen is a Sphinx who wants nothing more than to see the world.  Her parents know the dangers outside of their mansion’s walls, and keep her close.

But the safety net breaks, and Porter and Sarah meet under the worst of circumstances.  When Sarah teleports out of the danger zone, she inadvertently takes an unconscious Porter with her.  He wakes up with no memory of who he is or why he is with Sarah.  All he remembers is his name.

Sarah, for her part, has no idea where she is.  Emergency teleportation can do that to a person.  She considers killing Porter; after all, those humans were so horrible and nasty–or so she’d been brought up to believe.  But she decides against it, hoping she doesn’t regret her decision later on.  It seems to her that she is safe as long as his memory doesn’t return.

They set out on their journey to find a hidden Mythic center, hoping to find a way back to Sarah’s parents.  On the way, they meet elves, goblins, a Soul Smith named Droma, a chimera by the name of  Tick, and a tower full of Mythics and humans living happily together.

All along the way, Porter is trying to remember his past, while Droma and Sarah hope that he does not.  Neither knows what will happen if he does.  But when Sarah is captured, and Porter shows his cold-blooded Slayer’s talents to rescue her, it becomes imperative that his memory remains hidden –  if only for his own safety in that land of mythical creatures.

But their concern becomes moot when they are suddenly attacked by other Slayers, who have found their way there through the forced cooperation of the inhabitants of the forest that Porter and Sarah have wandered through.  We leave our heroes fleeing the murderers, with Sarah having learned the full history of the war between the Mythics and the Slayers.

This story, as I mentioned above, was so captivating that nothing else seemed important.  The characters were so vivid, and the growing relationship between Sarah and Porter was just.  And the companionship grows into friendship very slowly, as one would expect from the way they originally met.

The lesson is plainly seen, through deftly written words:  that every individual should be accepted as who he or she is–not because of background or gender, or nationality.  To pre-judge someone because of his/her ancestry is just wrong.  Prejudice bred by generations of people adding rumor to half-truths has destroyed so many lives and relationships, and has no place in a world that has enough room for everyone.

Droma’s words to his fellow adventurers ring true, and is prevalent throughout the book: “All creatures are placed on earth for a purpose, even if we cannot see that purpose.  To say otherwise is to say that their purpose is inadequate.”

I have to agree one-hundred percent.  Thanks for a great story, Mr. Bolander!

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