The Butterfly Crest

Fiction - Fantasy - General
549 Pages
Reviewed on 05/29/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Author. Attorney. New Orleanian. Lover of Cherry Ring Pops. Confirmed Japanophile. Dreamer. Sometimes Obsessive. Blunt to a Fault. Wishful-Thinker. Tea and Anime Compulsive. Diehard.
Eva Vanrell currently lives in New Orleans with her husband, two cats and a Japanese maple.
In the beginning of 2011, Eva took a blind leap of faith to pursue what she loved most. The result of that journey was her debut novel, The Butterfly Crest. She is currently working on Book Two of the series, so please stay tuned.
To receive exclusive updates on Eva's latest news, sneak peeks and special promotions, sign up now on <a href="">Eva's List</a>!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite

The Butterfly Crest by Eva Vanrell takes us between the shadows of the human world where a war that is as old as time is raging. A long-told prophecy says one human woman will change the course of the divine war and one day Elena - a seemingly regular woman living a normal life - gets a letter about a deposit box in her mother’s name. This letter and the contents of the box are a cursed inheritance and send Elena on a journey that could only be considered mythical and unbelievable. She must make choices to see where destiny takes her.

This is a great story that merges two different realms almost seamlessly into one another and makes a complex story entertaining and compelling. The action was fast and the pace of the book was perfect. Elena is a fantastic character whom I found to be intelligent and strong, but who has to find her way in an impossible situation, giving her even more depth as well. Eva Vanrell has created a strong story with a beautifully strong female main character, in a world and with a story line that is imaginative and unique. I have read many fantasy style stories that offer a similar version of wars that have been going on for all time, but this has been by far one of the most well thought out and well put together plots. If you are looking for a read for the summer that will have you hooked within the first pages and hold your interest until the very end, leaving you wanting more … then this is your book.

Lisa Jones

SPOILER ALERT - This review contains spoilers in the first paragraph.

The Butterfly Crest by Eva Vanrell is an intriguing yet complex novel which depicts the story of the gods. Elena's life changes forever after she receives word from Japan and sets off on a journey to claim what she thinks is a substantial estate left to her by her late mother. This is the beginning of her realization of what her heritage actually is. She is, in fact, the heir to a cursed race and many believe her to be what the prophecies speak of. Soon she is reunited with her parents and the hand of death is by her side throughout, protecting her every move. Her feelings for death grow stronger with each passing moment and death shows himself in the form a beautiful man named Eiry. As the sands of time run out, Elena races to fulfill the prophecy and, even when all is considered doomed, her humanity is what may save her - even in death.

Eva Vanrell delivers a fascinating novel in The Butterfly Crest. I loved this novel and was totally mesmerized by the gods and the mythology of the era. Although the story was complex with many different characters, it is worth taking your time to digest each detail as it allows the reader to become submerged within the pages. The main character, Elena, showed tremendous strength and courage throughout, and the author's love of Japan and Greek mythology became quickly apparent in the book. The story provided a wonderful insight into such subjects. Vanrell also added an air of mystery throughout, which made the ending totally unpredictable. I liked it so much because the reader was kept guessing all the way through. Although there are many beings and characters, each one of them was unique in their own way, which I found endearing. I was totally lost within the author's imagination and would recommend this novel to all.

Mamta Madhavan

The Butterfly Crest: (The Protogenoi Series) by Eva Vanrell is a fantasy filled fiction that is contemporary and exotic. Elena Vicens' life takes a turn when she receives a letter one day regarding a deposit box belonging to her mother. This letter comes to her nineteen years after her mother's death and the letter sends her from New Orleans to Japan. She finds herself in possession of a cursed inheritance and the story takes off from there. Readers find themselves in the midst of legends and myths, the strangeness of everyday life, a human woman who will shape the outcome of the divine war and, amid all this, Elena must choose her own destiny.

It is an intriguing, imaginative and very original story with many layers and that makes it a compelling read. It moves between the tangible and intangible, giving the story a surreal feel and keeping readers guessing about the outcome. The narration is descriptive and gives more clarity to the plot. It is an exceptional read. Elena is an interesting character that has been portrayed vividly and wonderfully. Her presence dominates the story throughout, holding the plot together. There is a mysterious vibe in the theme, enhanced by the description of Elena's character.

The shifts in the story that occur between the two locations and the afterlife give it a new dimension and make it an even more attractive and exceptional book to read.

Aubrey Harris

Wonderful, exciting, and exotic tale of modern day Ophelia.

A perfect book for your summer reading list.
I always love a book with compelling female main character. The Butterfly Crest instantly sweeps you into a deliciously intriguing tale that crosses both continents and to the afterlife. The detail that Vernell artfully employs, paints a compelling backdrop for this page turning book.
A must read! You will be checking to see when the next in the series is released.

Vea T

Modern mythology for the older crowd.

The Butterfly Crest was a wonderful story with memorable characters. I’m a fan of fantasy and the paranormal and this gives plenty of both. I was introduced to new creatures that inspired my own research into the haunts of other cultures. I had several favorite characters but the one that was king of them all was Eiry. He was so caught up in his duty to Elena that he was completely unaware of his own emotions. There are so many things I would like to put into this review but all would give special parts of the story away. So I’ll just say I hope that this is just the beginning to an amazing and exciting new mythology.

Debra L. Mauldin

‘The Butterfly Crest (The Protogenoi Series Book 1)’ by Eva Vanrell is a lovely, well-written fantasy novel. The author, Eva Vanrell takes the reader on a thrilling, sometimes harrowing adventure. Elena first learns of a family secret, that leads to much more than she could have ever imagined.

All of the characters in ‘The Butterfly Crest’ are strong. Eva Vanrell writes strong descriptives that enchants the reader and pulls them right along to the heart of the story. The tale takes the reader along to not only different continents, but to different realms and worlds, including the afterlife.

The author knows her mythology well, and applies it, artfully, in her fantasy novel.

Personally, I loved ‘The Butterfly Crest’. I felt along with Elena the tedium of her job, the excitement of returning to her birth country, the total craziness that she could not comprehend when she was thrown together with some gods that wanted to kill her and some gods that wanted to save her. There was never a dull moment in this book for me. I cried, I laughed, and I bit my nails.

I recommend this book for all fantasy and mythology lovers. It is a great read.

I received a PDF copy of this book from Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.

DJ Weaver

An Intriguing and Enjoyable Read.

Vanrell is a gifted writer with a creative imagination welling out of a deep knowledge of the mythologies of Japan, the Celts, and the Greco/Roman pantheon. I love writing that brings mythology to life in a modern setting.

The Butterfly Crest builds on the classic plot line, the quest. The protagonist, Elena, is an unhappy young lawyer who lacks real purpose in her life. Orphaned at age seven, she was raised by her mother's best friend. Elena has structured her life with a rigidity that speaks to her need for control, yet in her work life she has no control at all. One day she is summoned to return to Japan, where she was born and where her parents were killed, in order to receive a previously unknown part of her heritage.

Elena and her former guardian spend an uneventful few days in Japan. (The author provides an in depth description of major historical sites in Kyoto, which many will enjoy but others may find lengthy.) Then on what was to be her last day in Japan, she receives her inheritance and all hell breaks loose figuratively and literally.

Elena is guided through the thrilling, intense events that follow by a mysterious man she had met before leaving for Japan. I will not give away his true identity, but I will say that you will never think of Hades and Tartaras in the same way again. The plot takes many twists and turns along the way. Among her companions on her quest, because all quests require companions, are twins who provide comic relief, a terrifying vixen, a Japanese demon (who has a thing for the vixen), and a formidable and protective Japanese monster.

This is a terrific read. It does get bogged down in a lot of description at times, but the descriptions are well written and provide a visual and physical anchor for a fantastical adventure story.

Becky Johnson

Eva Vanrell's The Butterfly Crest is a journey. One that takes the reader around the world, through life and death, and on an unexpected adventure. Ms. Vanrell's world-building is exquisite and her descriptions take the reader to another place. I never had a particular desire to visit Japan, but Ms. Vanrell's descriptions have made it an addition to my bucket list.

The Butterfly Crest starts in New Orleans with main character Elena stuck in a frustrating job. A letter from Japan regarding a safety deposit box left to her by her deceased mother changes Elena's life, and plunges her into the middle of a supernatural war.

With beautiful descriptions, amazing settings, and unforgettable characters The Butterfly Crest is a superb first novel. I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys fantasy or adventure.

Greg at 2 Book Lovers Rev

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from The Butterfly Crest. I really do not know my Japanese mythology. Typically I prefer my mythology of the Greco-Roman variety with a side of Norse or Egyptian. I was shocked, delighted and impressed where Eva Vanrell went with this story.

Eva Vanrell has a gift for description, covering every detail, not only allowing you to see the room, but to actually place yourself within it. All of the colors, the textures, the fabrics, my entire surroundings were precisely laid out before me. I was even brought back to places I have visited in the past.

While reading The Butterfly Crest I reached a watershed moment, I won't say when, but it did involve a road to hell. I said to myself, "Holy goat balls! She is writing a Homeric Epic!". In all reality it is more in the style of Virgil, something planned out with intricate detail and purpose, designed to bring us to a final point. The form, the genealogies, the heroic quests and the self sacrifice all lead to Virgil. This wasn't just a well researched book, she really knows her stuff. And to top it all off, the divine parent in The Butterfly Crest would be a hell of a lot more fun to hang with on a Friday night than Aeneas' mom.

I'm not giving anything away when I tell you that there is more to come from this author, and I, for one am looking forward to it. If you're like me and love a great new, fresh look at the Greek gods then you need to read The Butterfly Crest.

Sarah Wathen

What are the things that stick with you most, after finishing a great book? For me, it’s always those splendid moments when I feel like I’ve fallen through the pages and into the story itself. If an author is skilled at setting a scene and engaging my senses, I can almost look around and feel myself sitting within that space. And if the story has become a part of me—harder to do, engaging that sixth sense— a deeper reaction occurs, unforgettable and complete. Eva Vanrell might call that experience an impression, and that’s exactly what she strives to create in her work. “They have a lot to do with rhythm, tone and instinct. Very little to do with rules, preconceived notions or overly-worked designs,” she says, and she describes creating impressions as the cornerstone of her writing process.

Two distinct “impressions” from The Butterfly Crest that I think will stay with me forever were intense in totally different ways. The first was when the main character, Elena, visits a Japanese garden where mossy stones are arranged in a sea of white gravel to resemble a mountain range. Bright pink blossoms of a weeping cherry tree spill into the garden, like the patterns on a woman’s kimono that Elena remembers from childhood, and suddenly a flight of blue butterflies alights on the stones. Vanrell has already hinted at a deeper meaning to the butterflies that set my nerves to singing immediately. Another perfect moment occurs much later in the book and has more to do with imagined sensation and experience—that of a soul leaving the body, while that body slowly becomes numb and loses sight and sound. I can’t describe this last impression in too much detail, for fear of spoiling an absolutely sublime moment, but you’ll know it when you read it.

In order for us to feel the full power of these impressions—to believe them—Elena and her surroundings must be firmly established in time and place, concrete in our minds, and Vanrell takes the time to do just that. The story is rich with architectural details, historical facts, and cultural references; you might not blaze through the first few chapters of The Butterfly Crest, but by the time the real action begins you’ll be fully ensconced and committed. In fact, without Vanrell’s carefully painted reality, I would’ve been lost when all fantastical hell broke lose. The complex network of tradition, culture, and especially religion or superstition, she explains is integral to understanding the world she has created for us, and detail makes for a more rewarding read.

My favorite constructions are those in which Vanrell has mined the vast tomes of millennia worth of mythology and folklore, and then used her own imagination to make a real and concrete place. For example, the Faerie kingdom, Daoine Sidhe, is carved into the rock under the Irish Cliffs of Moher, it’s luxurious caverns so intricately sculpted and inlaid with dragonstone and jewels as to appear directly grown from the earth, rather than chiseled by hand. Elena plays a game called fidchell there with the beautiful but vicious Faerie Queen; the game is like a type of chess, with unreasonably high stakes and a corresponding life-size board, populated with enslaved deities.

The City of Eira, lovingly described in the teaser above, is actually part of Tartarus (the Underworld). And who could have imagined Tartarus to be such a wondrous, enchanted place—somewhere one might desire, or even strive, to dwell? That part of the story is so arresting, because there resides deep within the human condition both a fear and fascination with death. A hope of finding more within it. Vanrell pulls off her greatest feat as a storyteller when she allows her audience to fall in love with Death himself.

It has been said that all stories are, at their core, either about love or revenge. In The Butterfly Crest, that would depend on which deity is taking the stage, because we all know how capricious the gods can be. Sometimes the wicked ones are the most fun, especially the seductive and diabolical sun god Helios whose eternal fixation is the hunt for Elena and her kind (in a surprising twist of Classical mythology, Vanrell has us rooting for the Underworld, instead of the Heavens). Mostly, this book is a love story, though, woven into an epic tale of a human heroine who is more godlike than she could’ve ever imagined. I’ve saved the best for last, but the deathly handsome, exquisitely cold love interest, Eiry, is introduced early in the novel and he is a delicious romantic character indeed. He’s probably the main reason I kept reading, why the story unfolds in such a unique way, and why I am so anxious to continue this series. I’m glad Book Two in The Protogenoi Series is already underway, because as Helios would say, I’ll be waiting with bated breath.

Thomas Everson

Elena’s life has been average and unremarkable since the death of her parents as a child, and her moving in with a family friend, Cataline. Grown, she now works in an attorney’s office, hoping one day to be more than just a paper pusher. Her boss is cold and unrelenting, causing Elena to loathe her work. The only silver lining is when she bumps into a handsome man heading into a meeting, and then proceeds to forget to ask his name before he disappears.

But what was once a boring life takes a huge turn when Elena receives word from Japan, the place she and her parents had lived, about unclaimed property of her mother’s. Baffled and hesitant, she’s unsure about taking a trip from New Orleans across the world for some mystery items that not even her guardian Cataline, knew about. Little does Elena know that by taking this trip, she’ll be thrust into the middle of a pantheon war that has already spanned thousands of years.

I really liked The Butterfly Crest. It brought me into a myriad of mythologies that I hadn’t thought about in a long time. I always liked the stories of the heroes of old, the Greek gods and their interactions for and against each other, so I had no problem getting into this book. The story wove together a great idea of Olympus versus Tartarus (the whole of the underworld), and one who might turn the tide of a war which neither side could seem to advance, an Heir to the house of Thebes.

Eva’s attention to detail in her writing is astonishing. Not only in the way she describes something, but the way her story flows too. She paints whole portraits with her words so that you can grasp the fullness of what there is to see. Whether it’s Japanese mythological creatures like the Kirin and Tarōbō (a bird-demon), or a rousing game of fidchell, an ancient board game, played against the High Queen of Tuatha Dé Danann.

The bad about this book? That it’s a continuation! I can’t wait to read the next in the series. This book is impeccable.