Eye of the Storm
By Frank Cavallo
Publisher: Dark Serpent/Ravenswood
On a research mission in one of the most remote regions of the world, former Navy SEAL Eric Slade and Dr. Anna Fayne are caught in a mysterious storm. Catapulted through a rift in space-time, they are marooned on a lost world.
Struggling to survive and desperate to find a way home, they must confront the dangers of this savage land—a dark wizard and his army of undead—a warrior queen and her horde of fierce Neanderthals that stands against him—and a legendary treasure with the power to open the gateway between worlds, or to destroy them all: the Eye of the Storm
Eye of the Storm was unexpected. It was daunting when it arrived at my doorstep, and I was skeptical. Was I ready for this? Well in short, the answer was yes. Yes, I was ready for this. What started off as a rather large and questionable book (ok maybe 400 pages is not large, but it is a hefty paperback), turned into an exciting and somewhat nostalgic journey. Let me share a bit of what the author has cooking up and see if you get where I am going with this.
This adventure follows anthropologist Anna Fayne as she heads up a research mission into a very remote and dangerous part of the world known as the Kyrgyzstan to explore and investigate what appears to be a living tribe of Neanderthals. Accompanying her team (much to their dismay) for precautionary reasons is retired Navy Seal Eric R. Slade. He happens to be better known and ill perceived for his recent work on several recent Sci-Fi channel series.
So they set out and as you can guess, it does not go as planned. Of course not, or else where is our story?
While traveling via aircraft, the crew finds themselves mysteriously transported to another time and place through the eye of a storm. They awaken in foreign lands where they are surrounded by unknown races and species, where they must fight to survive. They must fight to find a way home. I am omitting further details at this point. While I could elaborate much more on the actual plot, I think the synopsis is satisfactory. Why? Because the constant discovery in Eye of the Storm is what makes it so worthwhile. This is an adventure my friends.
So what about that Anna and Slade? Well, they are actually pretty viable as far as humans go. This is one of the most enjoyable and appreciative aspects for me. I love watching or reading about every day individuals fighting the odds under completely fantastic circumstances. It ups the excitement factor while providing a small dose of reality that helps add just enough credibility that I can find myself more easily submersed within the story. They are a small amount of “grounding” in otherwise incredible situations. It works.
Dr. Anna Fayne is presented to us as a timid and quiet woman. And I admit I did not completely connect with her on a personal level, but I enjoyed watching her progress and grow as she adapted to each situation. My initial impression of Slade was similar to the disgust that many of Dr. Fayne’s coworkers expressed. He resonated with a pompous arrogance that I immediately disliked. However, as the situation became more dire and he shifted into Navy Seal and away from “Mr. TV”, he quickly became an important and welcomed addition to the story. He even added small amounts of comedic relief with his corny one liners and comments. It pains me to say it, but the guy was kind of charming in his own right. Supporting characters were also solid and well written, each contributing greatly to the overall story.
The plot was not entirely original. Let’s be honest, this is where the nostalgia enters. Eye of the Storm immediately took me back to The Land That Time Forgot and other familiar tales. We have seen this scenario before. But it worked and I was okay with that. The elements of magic and time/space travel were reminiscent of favorite sci-fi and fantasy films and books past. However, the author managed to take something well-known and completely own it and revive it. Interwoven with multiple twists and turns, there was plenty of the unexpected happening in Eye of the Storm. I was reintroduced to an old passion in a very refreshing way.
The writing is clear and concise. The author effortlessly narrates the story from multiple points of view in a very fluid manner. Nothing is lost with transition. There is a lot happening, but never once does it feel overwhelming or muddled. He has managed to add just enough depth and mystery to keep the reading experience fully engaging, while throwing in a few unexpected revelations along the way. And who doesn’t like a good surprise?
Eye of the Storm felt one half old school sci-fi and one half old school fantasy. It was a nice bundle of two incredible genres wrapped up cleanly in a tight little package. While it may not be entirely epic, it is definitely rewarding. To be honest, it was simply downright fun! Throw this on the big screen and hand me some popcorn please!
*I would like to thank Kelsey at Book Publicity Services and the author for an opportunity to review this title. These are my own and unbiased thoughts and opinions.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2