The Last War

Book One of The Cynnahu Saga

Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 12/06/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Last War is a work of fiction in the epic fantasy and adventure subgenres and forms the opening novel of The Cynnahu Saga. It is intended for the young adult reading audience and was penned by author Ian E.S. Adler. In a faraway fantasy land plagued by war, the threat of a new invasion sets events in motion for this to be the war to end all wars. Two youngsters and three talented mages set forth on a quest to save their land from the serpentine threat of the Naga, but the riddles they must solve to traverse dangerous lands and collect all the pieces of the Song are only the beginning of their challenges.

Author Ian E.S. Adler has found a superb balance between a fantasy adventure novel that is accessible and appealing to young adults, and one which is suitably complex and immersive enough to also grip adult readers from start to finish. I particularly enjoyed the ensemble cast of characters and the mixture of ages, which bridges the gap nicely between the young heroes who have much to learn and the older wise mages with echoes of the classic fantasy heroes that young readers will no doubt go on to enjoy in the future. The worldbuilding is also a highly engaging aspect of the work, with Adler putting a great amount of detail into the history and culture of Cynnahu, so much so that every battle-scarred vista becomes cinematically real in the reader’s mind. Overall, I would certainly recommend The Last War as a superbly engrossing series opener, and I cannot wait to see what the author has in store for us next.

Liz Konkel

The Last War by Ian S. E. Adler is the first book in the Cynnahu Saga. The Cynnahu people have a heritage rooted in a war that saw their ancestors taking over the land from the Dragonkin. Now history seems to be repeating itself as the Cynnahu people are facing a war with their long-time enemies, the Naga, who have decided to invade. A prophecy comes to light that tells of the Last War between the two enemies with salvation for their people coming in the form of five chosen ones. As the five are drawn together, they discover their true destiny and undergo rigorous training. At the heart is an ancient riddle that serves as a catalyst for the prophecy and as a guide for the characters to follow. The riddle features hints as to what's to come in the story, the Hour of Doom, and a reference to one that shall fall in Elderland. But will it be enough to stop the invasion of the Naga?

Fine details stem from classic fantasy elements such as swords, magic, war, fantastical species such as the Naga, and destiny. These elements work to create a world that draws you in with lovely visual images. Magic is heavily featured, rounding out the culture of the Cynnahu and the world to create a fantasy atmosphere. Several instances of magic are seen in training and used in battle with various spells that conjure up the four elements. These are subtly included by Ian S. E. Adler which makes magic feel like a natural part of the world. The world has a rich history that ties back to the Cynnahu's ancestors who took over the continent after wiping out the Dragonkin. This history is deeply rooted in the progression of the story with Adler weaving in various details such as the diary of Gwydara, various texts read by Aneirin, and letters that refer to the prophecy. The focus of the plot is on the war between the Cynnahu and the Naga which is where each character is found, training for their destiny, digging into the prophecy, and with individual journeys that push them to become heroes. The plot is character driven with the growth of the protagonists rooted in the destiny they were handed. Dive into The Last War which delivers a fantasy adventure through a vivid world with great details, magic, a map, prophecy, and characters seeking their destiny.

Alex Ndirangu

The Last War: Book One of The Cynnahu Saga by Ian E.S. Adler takes you on an epic ride into the world of fantasy. Peace had reigned in the Archipelago of Cynnahu for hundreds of years. Now ancient serpentine foes, the Naga, cut across the waters of Cynnahu, seeking to unleash destruction upon humanity. Guttural screams and hisses can now be heard closer than ever, and a great fleet of dark vessels can be seen fast approaching the westernmost isle of the Archipelago. The island's defenders are outnumbered six to one by the enemy, and even the most astounding magic from a mage will not be enough to keep these snake folk at bay. When the dying groan of the defender's captain echoes across the island, all know that it's a lost battle. With every mile that the Naga invades, doom for humanity draws nearer. Hope stirs on the heels of fear. A group of two young people and three mages are on a quest to summon an ancient power that ended a war thousands of years ago. Humanity may have a chance to escape the impending catastrophe if the team succeeds in its quest.

The story is set up with a prologue to give readers a basic understanding of the setting. You learn the history of these lands and how the first human mages arrived with great might to save them from a race that had oppressed humans for a long time. The author also visually sets the stage with a precise map to help you get into the story and keep you from losing your way. Whenever a challenging term or concept is introduced, Ian E.S. Adler uses footnotes crafted in easy-to-understand language to provide explanations. This is a great way to guide the reader without disrupting the flow of the story. Even though this book has a large cast of characters, they all had important roles in advancing the plot. Even so, you will choose your favorites. My favorite character was Sakura. I liked her ability and quickness to learn new skills, despite her youth. With war looming, every fighting skill she learns will be vital to her survival. With a fiery mage for a teacher, she'll be the best. Or will she? The Last War takes you off the grid for the epic adventure you are seeking. Grab a copy and enjoy.