Book Review: ‘Elf Killers,’ by Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

5-Stars for ‘Elf Killers’ by Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

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‘When pure imagination and reality collide’

Elf Killers, by Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps, is a clever fantasy stitched together with a neat amount of realism. There’s constant menace, the conflict that drives the story, for our Elf clan as they seek refuge from the Trolls who hunt them for slaughter.

Elf KillersThere’s sensitivity as we’re brought into the world of the Elves – choose our favourites – embrace them for their human qualities – identify with them for their failings and rally with and for them during their successes.

The creative landscape, the worldbuilding, brims with danger and a vast assortment of mythical creatures. Elves, Trolls, Sprites and Unicorns along with a few ingenious creations I imagined finding in a book of Greek myths. I loved and hated the Strike Falcons. And appreciate any writer who can make me love and hate an antagonist or antagonistic device.

But Elf Killers is hardly just another Mythical Creature fantasy. It’s deeper. It’s about us and our struggle to survive in a world we often question but accept, because… we must. We, like the Phipps team’s Elf clan, have been granted few if any alternatives. (No one has handed us the ‘right’ to survive this journey. Often, we must fight for that survival.)

Run, face the menace… cry. These are human, often reflexive, decisions we make every day, and I applaud these writers who have craftily woven this very real, very human condition into their fantasy story.

What I liked most:

Character development.

The authors were diligent with their creation of believable characters who reveal a broad assortment of human qualities: Courage – compassion – fear – aggression – weakness – honour – loyalty and strength.

As with all good fantasy writing, while listening to Elf Killers, I was able to release that logical, conceptual part of me that knew these were fictional creatures and began seeing them as real. I attached myself to their plight and empathised with them for their fears and losses.

This is an ability that we, as adults, lose that children have and use instinctively. A nod here to the authors for their ability to pull their readers into their magical realm by making it just real enough to feel organic.

Story construction:

The outline is logical, fits a neat three-act structure and builds and releases tension with precision. Early on, I began imagining this as the treatment for a screenplay for a fine animated film. “The genius writers at PIXAR would do wonders with this story.”

Audiobook Reader:

Sky Wildmist is a super audiobook reader. Her clear narrative and ability to change her tone for each character is almost supernatural. When I make the move to audiobooks with my personal collection, I will, without reservation, be calling Ms Wildmist for a quote.

Criticisms:

Only one, and nothing that would lessen my 5-Star rating or high recommendation.

There were many characters. This made the story confusing at times. I listened to the wonderfully read audiobook twice – mainly to gauge the story structure and character consistency for my review, but also to reacquaint myself with certain characters who’d been introduced earlier wishing to place them into context.

I believe, had I listened to this book in one sitting, or when NOT reading three other books, I would not have suffered this confusion.

Summary and Recommendation:

Elf Killers is a fast-moving, Fantasy / Adventure with heart and boundless imagination. If called upon to classify it, I would place it on the same shelf as the first two Harry Potter books and the Percy Jackson books. Essentially a Young Adult, myth-based fantasy that will also satisfy an adult who enjoys letting go and consuming middle-grade fiction.

I give The Elf Killers 5-Stars and my highest recommendation.

Review by TE Mark – Writer / Screenwriter