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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Rogues of the Crosslands: Azoria's Blade is a young adult epic fantasy novel by John Daze. Azoria Dash, a twelve-year-old elfin child, survives a brutal massacre of her village by orcs, losing her father and everyone she cares about. Armed with an ancient Klarion sword and seeking revenge, she sets off toward the dangerous Crosslands, where she is rescued by a mysterious shadow ranger named Jandar. Slowly, Azoria learns to use her abilities and discovers that Jandar is her uncle. With the help of her allies, Azoria must prepare for a daring mission to rescue her childhood friends. Meanwhile, the orcs are getting ready for an invasion under the orders of the Sorceress Queen. Will Azoria and her friends survive their confrontation with the orcs? Will she be able to temper her quest for vengeance?
Author John Daze offers fantasy lovers a meticulously crafted new world to sink their teeth into. Rogues of the Crosslands: Azoria's Blade is action-packed, filled with vibrant characters, unforeseen reveals, and fantastical lore. Daze puts readers into the scheme of things from the get-go, and the plot never loses its breakneck pace until the end. The world-building is simply phenomenal, with a prime focus on the lay of the land and the in-universe mythology. There's a certain authentic feel to the atmosphere that Daze brings to the narrative, which makes it immersive and riveting to read. Each character is distinct and adds to the dynamic within Azoria's group. Azoria is a precocious child with some naivety and prejudices, which only makes her more believable as a person. Overall, this is a fantastic book for young adult fantasy readers.