The Assembly of Thirteen

The First Two Companions

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
340 Pages
Reviewed on 10/14/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anthony Elmore for Readers' Favorite

June was a depressed, lonely young woman in her late twenties, living alone with her black Labrador retriever, Champ, outside of Livermore, California. The Assembly of Thirteen: The First Two Companions is a fantasy supernatural novel written by Omayra Velez. On one unusually windy night, June and Champ were awakened by ground-shaking explosions, after which they found a small orange-lit treasure box in her kitchen. While grabbing it, they both proceeded to fall through a portal to another world. This world had most things Earth had, such as trees and people, but they were larger with different characteristics than anything June had ever seen before. What was the reason this was happening to her? Will she ever return home? Or will she be stuck in this new life forever?

The Assembly of Thirteen: The First Two Companions is a fantasy supernatural novel but with a romantic twist. Reading this amazing book was a privilege. I loved how the deeper into the story I got, the stronger each became, yet all the while they still maintained their individual personalities. Despite some technical flaws, the story and characters were still engaging. This is an excellent first book of what promises to be an extraordinary series; the author really seems to know what she is doing. I would suggest a more mature age group because of the cussing and the violent graphic scenes depicted in this awesome book. Those who enjoy fantasy novels with a supernatural twist will not want to miss this book.

K.C. Finn

The Assembly of Thirteen: The First Two Companions is a work of traditional epic fantasy by author Omayra Velez. Both central characters are women who resent their very existence, but they must rise from their seclusion in order to save their world from a horrific genocide. Kara has spent 200 years at the beck and call of a wicked Emperor, killing mercilessly in his name, until a single act of good frees her from the cycle, earning her a place in the Assembly of the novel’s title. There she is joined by June, once a simple American girl, now thrown into the Assembly with a mission to find eleven more. Eleven representatives must join them as the different magical races unite against a plot to wipe out everything but humanity.

There are many elements reformed from fantasy classics within The Assembly of Thirteen that were very enjoyable to see. I liked this new female-led fellowship-style gathering of people with the promise of putting a stop to a great evil, and Omayra Velez paints a vivid world with interesting races and types of magic for her characters to explore. June and Kara are very different heroines in their approach to their mission (I definitely preferred Kara) but both are convincingly written and stand out as very real, heartfelt people despite the total fantasy going on around them. Velez writes well with snappy, well-paced dialogue and a cleverly-crafted plot that is clearly saving a lot for the future. Overall, I’d definitely recommend The Assembly of Thirteen to fantasy fans everywhere.

Lit Amri

June Dunbar lives a reclusive life with her large black Labrador retriever named Champ after a traumatized incident. One night, she awakes to find a strange illuminated box on her kitchen table. When she tries to get rid of it, she and Champ are transported to a different world, the Empire of Quetza. She finds herself and Champ physically transformed and she becomes the Blue Companion Judge. Meanwhile, Kara Ter Kushtaneo, an Athany in the King’s Legion, vows to protect Kuroi, a Gift-Vessel, fulfilling her destiny as the Red Companion Judge. June and Kara are fated to be part of a group who would help free the people of the Empire and the Athany from their curse. They must find the others to complete the assembly while keeping their existence secret from the murderous Emperor Klastos.

The Assembly of Thirteen: The First Two Companions by Omayra Vélez has a unique premise and world-building. The world-building is complex-a detailed tapestry of a world with an intricate magic system that took quite some time for me to process and imagine in my mind. It’s a beautiful and ingenious world nonetheless, with the different races as its inhabitants with their own history. The plot is extensive and multifaceted as expected. The overall pace is moderate. This is not a fantasy tale that is meant to be savored swiftly. There are a number of characters and POVs, and with the multifaceted story line that have a number of plot threads, there’s a lot of details to be told. That said, Vélez has included helpful appendixes for readers.

The characterization is good. June is easy to root for but at times I wished she was slightly less frantic. That said, her initial demeanor about her fate is understandable given her troubled past. I think her character develops quite well with the responsibility that she has to fulfill as a Companion Judge. I also gravitated toward Lady Starr and Kuroi. Overall, The Assembly of Thirteen: The First Two Companions might not be for some readers in terms of pace, but it’s a solid debut for the series.

Divine Zape

The Assembly of Thirteen: The First Two Companions by Omayra Vélez is an epic fantasy with great potential for entertainment. We follow two unlikely heroines on a dangerous mission to unite the Assembly of Thirteen against the encroaching darkness. June Dunbar and Kara Ter Kushtaneo both hate their lives. A visit from a demon from June’s past will set her on the fight against demons, a fight that wins her the rightful place as leader of the Assembly of Thirteen. Kara’s life has been cursed and she killed against her will for the powerful emperor. But everything is about to change because of the life of a child she feels compelled to save. The life of this baby would win her a place in the Assembly, but can the darkness be defeated with only the two of them? June and Kara must locate the eleven others and time isn’t on their side. The more time passes, the more the darkness grows and the more people are enslaved.

This is a beautiful tale with a powerful concept. It feels very symbolic to me — just like the proverbial fight against good and evil. The story has strong spiritual underpinnings. The characters are complex, each built with deep layers, and each fractured within and pulled in directions they hardly choose. And I loved how they developed through the story, sculpted by challenging circumstances and eventually led towards their ultimate mission. Omayra Vélez has a unique narrative voice and it comes out compellingly through the beautiful prose. The Assembly of Thirteen: The First Two Companions follows an exciting journey of two likeable characters, a journey fraught with danger. The heroines explore who they really are as they discover new strengths and identify hidden gifts. The tension grows steadily with the quick pace while the conflict drives the plot in many exciting ways.

Ruffina Oserio

The Assembly of Thirteen: The First Two Companions by Omayra Vélez is an epic fantasy with a strong conflict and memorable characters. Set against the backdrop of a surreal world, readers are introduced to a powerful conflict. It’s a magical world where demons are very common and slaves are everywhere. The darkness grows and people are oppressed. June Dunbar inadvertently receives a mission; a magic ring given to her by her mother makes her the one to rescue the oppressed. But she will have to fight the darkness to prove her worth. Kara Ter Kushtaneo has been used as a killing machine against her will, but now she can’t see a fragile little child killed. She is irresistibly pulled towards saving the child, even at the cost of her own life — an act that makes her worthy of joining the thirteen members of the Assembly. Now June and Kara must find the other eleven to complete the mission. Follow their journey through dangerous paths and challenges. Can they assemble everyone on time before the darkness consumes the whole lake?

The world that Omayra Vélez creates feels strangely familiar, and I couldn’t help feeling as though it existed in my soul. The theme of good versus evil is expertly handled and, just like in normal life, the reader gets the impression that evil is about to triumph, and it is this realism that makes the story believable and hard to put down. I loved the way June and Kara are developed. Each of them seems tired of living. Each of them experiences a kind of prison, but a mission sets them free, gives them a purpose, making them the hope of the suffering multitude. The story grows from page to page in emotional intensity and the reader quickly learns to care about the characters. The conflict is intense and it moves the plot forward. The Assembly of Thirteen: The First Two Companions is a beautiful story spun by the hands of a master story crafter. Engaging and entertaining.