Rogues of the Crosslands

Azoria's Blade

Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
203 Pages
Reviewed on 10/12/2023
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    Book Review

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.

Nino Lobiladze

A young elf named Azoria Dash lived in the small village of Averstone with her father, Gradian. She never knew her mother, Janella, who had died while giving birth to Azoria. One day, Azoria found a fascinating sword among Janella's things. There was an old family secret regarding the Klarion Blade, but Gradian postponed the conversation with his twelve-year-old daughter, trying to protect her. The orcs invaded Averstone, killed its inhabitants, including Gradian, and destroyed the village. Azoria and a group of friends were outside Averstone and escaped death. But now, all Azoria has is her sword and a thirst for vengeance. She is going to find and kill the orcs that wronged her and Averstone at any cost. Somewhere in the wild Crosslands, a ranger named Jandar sees a sign in the sky. He knows that it's time for him to fulfill his promise to an old friend. Rogues of the Crosslands by John Daze, the first book in a series, is an engaging read for young adult fans of epic fantasy and adventure prose.

Rogues of the Crosslands is a straightforward coming-of-age story. The narrative is fast-paced, and the main events unfold right from the beginning. John Daze offers us solid, well-developed world-building and interesting mythology. At the same time, the author avoids tiring his readers with overwhelming details. Rogues of the Crosslands is a quick and smooth read. The characters are relatable and realistic. Azoria is a very brave and loyal girl. However, she likes to exaggerate and has difficulties controlling her anger and her ego. Another multilayered character is Jandar. He is wise, kind, and courageous, but he has his weaknesses, like an additional mug of ale. Although this is a dark tale with elements of horror, John balances the book, adding a good pinch of humor to it. The story of Razzle the talking cat is a fascinating subplot narrated in a whimsical way. The main plotline confidently leads us to the logical conclusion of the book. Rogues of the Crosslands touches on the meaningful themes of duty, a feeling of belonging, and self-realization. I am looking forward to the second book of this thrilling series.

Mimie Odigwe

Rogues of the Crosslands: Azoria’s Blade by John Daze is an enthralling tale that traces the path of Azoria, a young elven girl thrust into a world of chaos when her peaceful village falls prey to marauding orcs. Fueled by an unwavering desire for revenge, Azoria embarks on a daring journey, armed with her mother’s small sword and her rage, venturing into the perilous Crosslands—a lawless realm inhabited by thieves, tricksters, and bloodthirst. Amidst this chaos, she forges unexpected alliances and unravels the secrets of her lineage. But the question remains: is twelve-year-old Azoria too young to wield the blade and rescue her people? This action-packed book is a must-read, promising a gripping adventure you won't want to miss.

John Daze’s book masterfully weaves themes of fantasy and revenge, making it an excellent choice for young adult readers seeking an immersive and imaginative experience. Throughout the story, Azoria’s evolution intertwines with her relationships, particularly her interactions with Jander and Razzle, which are engaging and beautifully encapsulates the book's emotional depth. One of the strengths of this book lies in its portrayal of Azoria as a relatable and imperfect heroine. She is young, rash, and short-tempered. Her rage and struggles make her a character that readers can root for, and her personal growth is a central theme that resonates throughout the narrative. Rogues of the Crosslands: Azoria’s Blade is a compelling tale that will leave teen and young adult readers eagerly anticipating the next installment in this series. This book is not only an exciting adventure but also a thought-provoking exploration of themes like family, addiction, and personal growth.