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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
The Island Siege is the third book in The Black Phantom Chronicles and it is clear that author Esther Wallace plans on intensifying the stakes for her characters as more crises and conflicts loom. Arnacin sailed away from home and found civil war on Mira. He still hasn’t returned home after four years, and neighboring Elcan’s brewing war is about to disturb Enchantress Island’s peace. Meanwhile, Prince Evan Maxwell wishes nothing more than to find some wild land and disappear as he loathes the idea of taking the throne. Yet he is aware that King Wilber will seize upon his lack of interest and use it to increase his authority. As Evan finds friendship and a confidante in the stallion, Darkfire, and meets the people of the enchanted Ice Woods, he realizes that it is his destiny to save Ansky from being crushed by an iron rule.
Esther Wallace puts a fascinating and brilliant twist on the reluctant hero archetype as the star for this installment is clearly Prince Evan. He is supported by a host of intriguing characters that include a talking wild stallion. The Island Siege is one of the most imaginative and spectacular young adult fantasy novels I’ve ever read. It is a visionary fantasy that follows the path of classics like The Magic Cauldron and The Lord of the Rings. It is a rousing coming-of-age tale with a skillful blend of world-building, characterization, and good plotting. Even if you haven’t read the two books that precede it, the details of the story, such as the history of the characters and settings, are clear. Wallace has created an enchanting and unique work of fantasy literature that deserves to be read and applauded.