Herlot of Alonia

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
426 Pages
Reviewed on 05/29/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Maria Rosestone is a historian and instructional designer who can always be found with a book. She particularly likes ancient and medieval history. If she is not juicing, studying, writing, or yoga-ing, she loves to lie in the grass watching bugs and go for nature walks with her family and dog.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Steven Robson for Readers' Favorite

Herlot of Alonia by Maria Rosestone is without a doubt a classic tale reminiscent of the wondrous adventures of The Lord Of The Rings. Steeped in the small kingdom of Eraska, we fall under the spell of Herlot, her family, friends, and the magical creatures that surround her, as she grows up in a land where riches are measured by the contents of souls, and gold is taboo to all. This is a land where the breath of mystery kisses the chill air, open hearths glow in the reflection of homely hearts, and the magic of times lost touches those worthy. Only evil can shatter this paradise, and it snakes into Eraska, driven by King Felix of the kingdom of Isolda, who is twisted by a desire to overthrow Ipta, the most powerful empire known. When this plague descends on Herlot’s village of Alonia, her life is inexorably changed as she is carried through despair and horror, on a journey to save her people and restore the freedom of her country.

Maria Rosestone’s Herlot of Alonia is one of those rare gems that instills in the reader a rarefied state of paradox; torn between wanting to discover the story’s secrets and equally not wanting the tale to end. The pages of this book literally crackle with wonder, gripping you in a vice you will be unable to shake. The flow of the plot is spot on, with perfect subplots that will allow you to experience the full scope of emotions. All of the characters are superbly molded, and rich in their differences and depth. I loved so many of them, and their relationships, particularly the potential triangle between Herlot, Movo, and Seum, which planted the seeds of infinite possibilities. There were other elements woven into the story that truly enhanced the atmosphere, including but not limited to, the introduction of Benyamin, the mystery surrounding Manni, and even the Rite of Passage. Ms. Rosestone has created a world that evokes a feeling of awe in me, incredulous that such words could emanate from one imaginative mind.

Ruffina Oserio

Herlot of Alonia by Maria Rosestone is a novel for fans of fantasy with magical creatures and strong characters. Born in strict compliance with Alonia’s birthing tradition, Herlot quickly develops a fondness for willow trees. She is an unusual child with unique abilities, but she is not liked by the people of her village who think her magic is a bad sign. Feeling rejected, she becomes friends with a unicorn. She revels in a magical world that defines her reason. In adulthood, a mad king, Felix, seeking magical power to conquer the Ipta, invades her village. As his unspeakable acts ravage the village, she is saved by the unicorn. But the magic is in danger as are her own people. It is time for her to use her magic and accomplish this mission, but is it real?

This is a beautiful novel that both young readers and adults will adore. The author creates a world that has its own life and that follows unique rules. The description of the birthing rite and the unique relationship the protagonist develops with willows is just one of the elements that highlight the imagination of the author. Images like the rocking and singing leaves with inviting arms are gorgeous. The prose is magical, crisp, and pleasing. It is interesting to follow the young protagonist, reveling in a magical world and suffering rejection at the same time. Her developmental arc is skillfully written and, as an adult, she is filled with doubt. Can she trust her magic, the young prince and the warriors offering help? Herlot of Alonia is an engaging story with great potential to entertain fans of fantasy.

Rabia Tanveer

Herlot of Alonia by Maria Rosestone is an epic fantasy filled with magic, and tremendous strength. Herlot’s life was laced with magic, even at birth. Being born with “special abilities” made her a pariah in her little community of Alonia, even if her parents loved her. Just because she was born in the forest, people considered her a bad omen and avoided her. As she grew older, she learned to make a place for herself in the village. However, her dreams of a stable life are pushed aside when her village is taken over by King Felix. That man is looking for the source of magic and he is not beyond using any means to get what he wants. Suddenly, Herlot is thrust into shouldering a responsibility she didn’t think she was capable of fulfilling. Herlot has to believe in magic, she has to harness her powers and find a way to save her people along with protecting the magic she has been given. Can she trust anyone offering help? Can she do it all?

Epic fantasies don’t usually resonate well with me, mainly because I don’t find a connection with the protagonists. This was not the case with Herlot. I formed a connection with her quite easily and enjoyed her reactions. Herlot is a little unsure and hesitant, but she isn’t afraid to delve a little deeper into the magical world. I felt her emotions and confusion. The buildup of the story is great, the atmosphere is perfect for the plot and the characters are well-fleshed out. The universe building was on point and done perfectly. The author added substance to the story, giving readers just enough of a nudge to read on and not put the book down. I really enjoyed how the author introduced characters, there was almost a fanfare with certain characters and then there was a feeling of lightness when she introduced the protagonist. This is a special novel, one that lays the perfect foundation for the series. Herlot of Alonia by Maria Rosestone is a great origin story for a character that will be loved by many readers!

Maria Victoria Beltran

Herlot of Alonia by Maria Rosestone is a medieval epic fantasy novel and it tells of the adventures of Herlot, the reluctant magician. The first book in a trilogy, the tale introduces the main protagonist of the story, a girl born under a willow tree in the forest of Alonia. Considered a bad omen in her village, a unicorn becomes her only friend and she enters a magical world. Realizing her magic brings her suffering and isolation, Herlot loses her power at a time when it is sorely needed. In the search for the ultimate source of magic, King Felix takes over her village, causes an epidemic, and Herlot is forced to resort to her magic. The quest for survival begins and it is fascinating.

Maria Rosestone's Herlot of Alonia is a magical roller coaster ride into a world that is gripping, entertaining, and compelling. No one can resist this girl born under unusual circumstances and rejected by her village. It is easy to fall in love with Herlot and gladly accompany her on her life's journey. And you will not be disappointed because it is a marvelous journey of rejection, insecurity, struggle, friendship, love, strength, confusion, compassion, and determination. King Felix, her antagonist, on the other hand, is a person we love to hate, but still, it is easy to relate to him. The prince and the two Iptan warriors enhance the list of characters in this medieval fantasy novel that will leave its readers enthusiastically waiting for the next installments.

K.C. Finn

Herlot of Alonia is a work of fiction in the medieval style fantasy sub-genre and was penned by author Maria Rosestone. Written for mature readers, the work contains themes of assisted suicide and some instances of graphic violence. The opening novel to a new trilogy of swords and sorcery, we find ourselves in the land of Eraska, where a terrible curse has plagued the nation. The titular character Herlot has always been a special child, but just as she reaches adulthood, invaders come to her land and her friends and family are in sudden, deep danger. Along with those dubious souls she meets along the way, Herlot must embark upon a quest not just to save them, but to put right the wrongs of the entire world around her.

Author Maria Rosestone has crafted a truly enchanting novel that encompasses everything that a traditional fantasy tale ought to have but also expands into so much more of an emotive coming of age tale. One of the things that I liked about it was the way Rosestone blends modern themes and more current emotional issues into the pseudo-medieval timeline, blending the fantasy period with realistic modern emotions that readers can relate to. Herlot is a fantastic ingenue for this tale, given room to experience, grow, and make mistakes as she faces seemingly impossible odds from the get-go. It results in an inspiring and engaging tale that is pure magic on every page. Overall, I’d highly recommend Herlot of Alonia for fantasy fans everywhere.

Christian Sia

Herlot of Alonia by Maria Rosestone is a compelling epic fantasy with a heroine that is fascinating. It is the first book in a trilogy that features ancient magic and powerful rulers. This book presents the story of Herlot, born under Alonia’s birthing tradition and whose imagination is so strong that she is alienated by the villagers who think that the strange things happening around her can only predict doom. But she develops a strong connection with a unicorn and abandons herself to the magical world around her.

But as she grows older, she leaves behind her fascination for magic to face the reality of everyday life in the village. That is until King Felix, a man who covets a source of power that will allow him to conquer the Empire of Ipta, invades her land. At a time when her family and friends are being attacked in many ways, her magical friend helps her. But the magical world that has always fascinated her is now in danger. With the help of a prince and two warriors, she has to save her people and the magical world. Can she trust in herself and can she connect to the magic that beckons to her?

Maria Rosestone’s writing is gorgeous and she has created a setting that reads like a character in the story. Herlot’s world is full of life, and even the trees have a language of their own. The setting is impeccably developed. The protagonist is an ordinary girl surrounded by extraordinary circumstances and I enjoyed how her sense of magic evolves and how she grows from a self-doubting girl to a woman filled with confidence and a leader. Herlot of Alonia has everything I always look for in fantasy and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. It is transporting.

Liz Konkel

Herlot of Alonia by Maria Rosestone is the first book in an exciting trilogy that brings to life magic and adventure. An evil king releases a dangerous epidemic that threatens the land, which leads one magical heroine to save all those she loves. From before she was born, Herlot was special and connected to an amazing magical world. She makes a shocking discovery when she meets a unicorn and for a brief time everything is grand until everything quickly comes to an end, forcing her into learning about magic. As her childhood ends, a dangerous king leads a takeover of the lands with only one goal in mind: to acquire a power that will aid in his wicked plans to conquer the empire. Her closest allies return just as she needs them most and the safety of the lands and the lives of her loved ones rest on Herlot’s shoulders.

Maria Rosestone weaves themes of magic and freedom throughout this high fantasy adventure to deliver an epic quest filled with magical and action-packed moments. The journey of Herlot is a true hero’s quest and one that started even before she was born. Magic is woven throughout as an underlying theme of belief drawn from the characters that believe in the existence and power of magic which includes music, unicorns, and inner power. Balancing against this light magical belief is a darker threat in the form of a king that threatens everyone she loves. The king’s cruel intentions twist their peaceful existence into chaos and danger as their lives are uprooted and threatened. The belief in magic also leads to isolation, as Herlot is the odd one in the village, while also becoming her most powerful asset.

Freedom is another theme explored throughout as this peaceful place raises the question of whether they’re truly free living in the isolation that has kept them safe or if there’s grander freedom yet to be found. The fight against the king gives a subtle commentary that’s thought-provoking and raises questions. Herlot of Alonia breathes new life into the meaning of magic, belief, and freedom told through an epic adventure that delivers action-packed moments, a journey of self-discovery for a dazzling heroine, and a heartwarming bond with a unicorn.

Lesley Jones

In Herlot of Alonia by Maria Rosestone, when Herlot was born outside Alonia, many believed this was a bad omen. As Herlot gets older, the curse everyone feared becomes a reality as she begins to possess magical powers and see things that others do not. Herlot is left feeling like an outcast and isolated. She finally meets someone who accepts her, a unicorn called Devotio. Devotio, like all other unicorns, has learned to fear and hide from humans. But Devotio knows Herlot can be trusted and together their secret friendship grows. However, when Herlot reaches adulthood, she discovers the painful reality of losing everything she held dear. As a disease called cowpox rapidly spreads, a king named Felix believes finding a cure is the only way to take back control of his kingdom from the Iptan Emperor. He invades villages and is willing to sacrifice anyone that stands in his way. Herlot realizes her powers must be used to defend her village and friends from the ruthless King Felix. Her quest seems doomed until help comes in the unlikely form of King Felix's son and two Iptan soldiers. But has Herlot's reality been a figment of her imagination all along?

Herlot of Alonia by Maria Rosestone is an absolute gem of a book with so many powerful underlying messages throughout. Each one of the eclectic cast of characters touched me on an emotional level, either because of their endearing heart or their brutal intentions. Each personality was unforgettable and I loved how they interacted with one another. The relationship between Herlot and Devotio the unicorn was beautiful and the kind of friendship every person deserves. I loved to see the development of Herlot's character; her sensitivity and huge heart were quite endearing. The magical gift she possessed was a definite power for good. The descriptive narrative transports you into a world that ignites your imagination and the exciting thought that anything is possible. However, there are also some important life lessons hidden throughout. The cruelty of humanity against nature and other living creatures, the downfalls of chasing greed and power but, most importantly, the knowledge that good always overcomes evil. Devotio summed up the message of the book when he said, “Everything magical originates from the heart.” I look forward to the next book in the series to discover what lies in store for Herlot and the other characters.

Mamta Madhavan

Herlot of Alonia by Maria Rosestone is the first book in a trilogy that takes readers on a magical and fantastical adventure. Herlot was born in Alonia with special abilities and though she was considered to be a bad omen because of not being born in the village, her parents, Ernest and Ilvy, loved her. They knew there was something special about Herlot because of the magical scene that greeted them in the forest when Herlot was born. As she grew up, Herlot slowly became comfortable with the village and its people. Life did not end up being as stable and peaceful as she wanted it to be. Things took a different turn when their village was taken over by King Felix. Herlot knew she would soon be at the mercy of King Felix and it was time now to use her magical powers and save the people in her village, just like she was saved by her magical friends from King Felix's anger. Could she succeed in doing it all alone?

Herlot of Alonia by Maria Rosestone resonates well with readers who love adventure, action, whimsy, enchantment, fantasy, and intrigue. The characters and their roles have been designed well and they complement each other beautifully, adding to the magnetism and charm of the storyline. The various layers in the plot leave readers with a sense of urgency and curiosity to know what is going to happen next. The detailed narration and vivid descriptions make the characters, scenes, and magic palpable. The subtle message of making readers aware of the magic that exists in their lives and the possibilities that are inside them contributes to the timelessness of the story. The kindness that resides in the heart of the protagonist, the epidemic that teaches the people survival skills, and the strength and courage of the people amid tragedy have been knitted in seamlessly. The momentum is not lost as the author builds the plot and the magic along with the characters, giving the story a good pace and fluidity. The open ending paves the way to the second book and I am sure readers will be eagerly awaiting it.

Jamie Michele

Herlot of Alonia by Maria Rosestone is a coming of age epic fantasy and the first book in a trilogy series The historical, secondary medieval world that forms as the novel begins is one where magic is misunderstood and those who are gifted with it are somewhat relegated to secrecy. Herlot is born with this gift, but a celebration of birth is short-lived as a course of calamitous events leads villagers to believe Herlot is the cause. In her childhood, Herlot's gift begins to mature and she finds herself enveloped in a setting that's congruent with her abilities and befriends a unicorn named Devotio. Unfortunately, Herlot is not the only one that is developing in a rush of transformation. So too is King Felix, who is at the helm of a monarchical government and will stop at nothing in pursuit of power that stretches into the darkest recesses of magic.

Herlot of Alonia begins with a moderately effervescent backstory as Maria Rosestone sets the stage for what is to come. We witness the growth and evolution of both Herlot and King Felix with a narrative that shifts between multiple points of view. The characters are adequately developed and the world built by Rosestone is easier to visualize than many other books in the genre. I did find areas of the story that lacked the depth of more traditional fantasy novels and, on occasion, the dialogue ventured into tones better suited for teen readers, but this changed significantly when the horrors of King Felix's ambition manifest into some incredible tension and a ferocious reign of terror. Rosestone is excellent in the depictions of medieval warfare and King Felix's Machiavellian scheming, which are driven by the promises and prophesies of a warlock and carried out through violence and the discharge of an invisible weapon that is satirically called 'fairy slumber'.