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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Legend of Eliza by Benjamin Maguire is part of the Dragon Claw Chronicles. A war is forthcoming in the land of Dragon's Claw which will rally the characters together against the various sides. Ella-Rose is haunted by dreams that tell of the arrival of a demon. She goes in search of answers in the Fortunae Forest with her best friend. While the two friends search for answers, they're guided by the mysterious legend of Eliza. Ella-Rose's brother Michael faces his own adventure when he's brought face-to-face with a vampire from whom he learns about old legends that teach about war. It's soon learned that the truth behind the legends could provide the answers that can stop a demon and close the gates to another world.
The format of the story is eye-catching as its structure is driven by the importance of legends and the history of the world. The story is framed around the legend of Eliza and her heroic actions which create a catalyst for the characters to embark on their own journeys and seek out the basis of their own courage. The structure weaves between the legend of Eliza, the present-day journey, and diary entries read by Michael with each equally important to the arc of the story. Each part drives the story forward to frame a hero's arc and to give a commentary on a war that brews between men, magic, and monsters. The present day revolves around Ella-Rose and Finn's journey in the forest and her brother Michael's discoveries under the guidance of a vampire.
The use of the legend and the diaries help establish the foundation of the world of Dragon Claw and make the setting a highly important aspect of the story. Benjamin Maguire delivers fine details in creating this world with kingdoms, thrones, and a rich history. The setting is important to how the legend unfolds, to the brewing war, and for the journey of the characters. A war is at the center of the plot which also comes with a foretold arrival of a demonic presence that draws Ella-Rose and her friends directly into the middle of all the action. Dragon's Claw is a fantastical adventure with vivid details, stunning writing, a rich setting, and a lovely structure.