An Ancient Evil

The Year Reality Broke - Book 1

Fiction - Science Fiction
488 Pages
Reviewed on 12/07/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Russell Cornhill was born and he hasn’t died yet. Those are the highlights.

For those who wish to know more, Russell has spent most of his life living inside his head. The rent was good, but the view was depressing.

There came a time in his life when he no longer wanted to be part of the human race. Full time writing was his excuse to hide away in a proverbial cave and only come out when he had to. But life is ironic, and the writing slowly dragged him, kicking and screaming, back into the real world.

He runs a writing group on Facebook and has conducted a number of writing events on the Gold Coast, Queensland. He has seen several of his writing buddies publish and decided it was time to publish or perish himself.

He hopes readers enjoy his ramblings and that his pessimistic view of life hasn’t tainted the stories too much.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

An Ancient Evil is a work of fiction in the science fiction and fantasy, mythology, action, and adventure sub-genres, and was penned by author Russell Cornhill. In the first novel in The Year Reality Broke series, we find ourselves in a world ruled by gods who wish to design a new reality for one and all. But amongst their conflicts, new heroes are born, and mankind faces dark threats lurking in the shadows. As a series of new human, elven, orc, and other warriors band together to train and face this darkness, it seems that the moment is already upon them. What results is an action-packed chase into a brave new world.

Author Russell Cornhill takes a grand leap forward with this spirited novel, which tells a tale that encompasses many features that classic fantasy and science fiction fans will be sure to enjoy. I felt that there were equal parts of Tolkien and Pratchett amongst the influences, combined uniquely with Cornhill’s sharply-minded, modern-thinking character set. This is a much-needed update on the classics, and the hero’s quest storyline also took some excellent and surprising new turns from the expected path. When this is combined with the commitment to lore and worldbuilding, a real sense of atmosphere and immersion into the book takes place, transporting readers right to the heart of the action. Overall, I would certainly recommend An Ancient Evil as a highly enjoyable adventure for one and all, and a very promising start to a new original series.

Vincent Dublado

An Ancient Evil: The Year Reality Broke is the first book in a fantasy action series by Russell Cornhill. In this debut offering, the gods wanted to create a new world. The God of Everything, in particular, does not want to draw too much attention from the plan and prefers that the other gods worry about the details. He has his own agenda, as he not only wants a story but a history. But the God of Myth knows better. She is a student of the craft of storytelling and the characters that inhabit them. She does not want to flood this new world with mere stereotypes and, perhaps, she might insert one or two things that are new. In this cosmic plan to draft a new world, Lukas Matthewson, a farmboy with dragon blood is the destined hero. He needs to assemble a group of warriors while the shadows lurk and are biding their time.

An Ancient Evil is the start of an epic tale about courage, friendship, and heroism. Russell Cornhill’s descriptive narrative solidly depicts a living fantasy world that serves as a board game for the gods. As the first book in a series, the alliance that Lukas forges with his band of warriors from different races may well remain with them for the rest of their lives. With the gods having a hand in the fate of mankind, Cornhill has strong ideas about the importance of myths and attention to what makes characters believable even if they possess supernatural attributes, as in the case of his gods. If you do not get why some readers delve into fantasy, give this book a try, and it might well become your cornerstone for appreciating the genre.

Foluso Falaye

Russell Cornhill presents An Ancient Evil: The Year Reality Broke, a story about gods, dangerous quests, and fighting evil that ingeniously combines elements of computer gaming, satire, and fantasy. Dane Stronginthearm is the avatar and AI created by the gods to defeat the Ultimate Evil and save the world. The other hero is Lukas Matthewson, a farm boy with some God-given abilities, who is on a mission to find his family while facing the monsters that plan to stop him from defeating the evil threatening humanity. To achieve their missions, the human boy and the avatar must work together with an elf, half-elf, gnome, dwarf, and half-orc. As the heroes are given special abilities and weapons, they might just have a fighting chance to defeat the ancient, powerful evil.

An Ancient Evil has a very hilarious satirical tone that will have you rolling on the floor laughing. The gods have the funniest names, of which "the God of Making People Run Around and Look Stupid" and "the God of Unreal People" are just a few. With terms like "upgrade" and "hit points," the plot felt just like playing a game, which adds a fresh atmosphere to the fantasy genre. I only wished it was more engaging; something like a romantic relationship or a close friendship between the main characters would have added to its appeal. However, I enjoyed the jovial atmosphere and would love to return to it for some good, uproarious laughter. Russell Cornhill has a great sense of humor!

Pikasho Deka

An Ancient Evil: The Year Reality Broke - Book 1 is a satirical action-adventure fantasy novel by author Russell Cornhill. The Gods of the Pantheon disagree on the creation of the worlds. The God of Myth wants the characters and settings to be realistic, while the God of Everything has plans of his own. The Destined Hero, Lukas Matthewson, embarks on a journey to defeat the Ultimate Evil and save mankind as foretold by prophecy. Helping him on his quest are his companions -- The barbarian Throm Peterson, Calem Rorke, a half-elf, Yawdri the huntress, and the wizard Gwindos. Meanwhile, the Avatar Dane Stronginthearm has undertaken a similar quest alongside the half-orc Dork and the overly cheerful half-elf Halli. But his companions may not be as skillful as they appeared on the posters.

An Ancient Evil: The Year Reality Broke - Book 1 is like a wild ride in a jungle safari where you're never sure where you're going to end up. Russell Cornhill's novel parodies anything and everything in the fantasy genre and turns the tropes upside down. The plot moves at a brisk pace, and I had an absolute blast reading this book. I found the characters to be distinct and colorful and at times hilarious. My favorite storyline was the Avatar one. I found Cornhill's humor spot on, and Dane's bewilderment at the incompetence of his friends was ridiculously funny to me. I will highly recommend the book to readers who enjoy fantasy fiction with a satirical edge.

Rabia Tanveer

An Ancient Evil is the first book in The Year Reality Broke series by Russell Cornhill. The God of Everything wants to make a new world and the God of Myth is delighted with the decision. So they do what they want. One of our heroes is Lukas, a young man who wants to be a farmer like his father. He lives in a world where ogres, dwarfs, and other creatures freely roam - a person has to be very careful what they wish for. On the other hand, we have Dane who is about to become an avatar. He wants to become the strongest and best avatar he can be. While Dane and Lukas are very different, their destinies are intertwined. Lukas has a destiny to fulfill and Dane has a job to do. They have no idea that they are about to embark on a journey where they will face evil in its purest form, and they will have no one to rely on but themselves. As the gods sit back and watch, Lukas and Dane have to fight till death to serve their purpose.

Fast-paced and well-developed, An Ancient Evil is perhaps one of the best novels I have read so far this year. Russell Cornhill's descriptions are out of this world. The imagery is so real that I can almost imagine myself beside Lukas and Dane. Dane is obsessed with perfection, while Lukas is barely holding on to reality. They both have their challenges, and the author provides them enough page space to tackle their challenges head-on. I liked Dane's character more, to be honest. He is smart, determined to do better, and looks for every opportunity to do so. The pace is just right for the story, the narrative runs smoothly until the end, and the characters are developed to perfection. I cannot wait for the next novel in the series.