The Poet Heroic

A Kota Short

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
84 Pages
Reviewed on 12/31/2015
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Author Biography

Sunshine Somerville lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She self-published her first book in college in 2004 and has been evolving The Kota Series since she was nine, basing the story on childhood fantasies derived from watching too much X-Men and Star Wars and reading too much Chronicles of Narnia and A Wrinkle in Time. Besides writing, her creative outlets include painting and making feature-length, spoof movies.

She would like to point out that, yes, this is her real name.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Barbara Fanson for Readers' Favorite

What a great story in only 50 pages. The Poet Heroic by Sunshine Somerville is a short but captivating read that will keep you spellbound with turns and twists on every page. Vale’s life turns upside down with the sudden death of his father, the Lord High Commander of the Dominion. Unfortunately, the reins of power are passed onto his evil twin brother and Vale; but the lead character is exiled from the country. Not only driven out and alone, he is also a marked man, who is easily recognized. The Poet Heroic is a tale of trust and good versus evil, but mostly nonstop adrenaline rushes. The Hood rebel group is always on the run, hiding from the Dominion’s soldiers and innocent onlookers. Vale’s secret gift helps him decide who he can trust and when he should run. Author Sunshine Somerville draws us into the story with her vivid character descriptions and depiction of the surrounding area. Somerville invites us to participate in the rebels’ war against the corrupt twin brother and the governing body. I like the author’s style of starting and ending the book with a newsfeed.

The Poet Heroic ends in a cliffhanger, leaving us to wonder if the Hoods — the rebels — will escape once again. And now I’m yearning to read the sequel. In the last chapter, Vale reveals his biggest regret and repeats a story he heard in the second chapter, while bullets are being fired and sirens are blaring! Can they dodge the Dominion soldiers one more time like they’ve done before? The Poet Heroic should be an award winning short story. The page turning plot, riveting character descriptions, and edge-of-your-seat excitement create a must-read for both adults and young adults.

Kayti Nika Raet

The Poet Heroic is an action packed short story by Sunshine Somerville, set in a post apocalyptic future after an insidious virus has turned the afflicted into gruesome zombie like monsters. The Olander family has taken control of the world, keeping those afflicted at bay and ruling everyone else with an iron fist. In The Poet Heroic, Vale Olander is the younger twin and far from his father's favorite son. He is a telepath and is used to empathizing with people, the opposite of his brother, Cruelthor, and far from the Olander ideal. He is content to remain in the shadows, but everything changes the day their father dies and Cruelthor begins to see Vale as a potential threat to his rule. Soon Vale is forced to risk everything and team up with people he has been taught all his life were the enemy. He may be a telepath but Vale still has to discover who he can really trust.

I haven't read any of the other books in the Kota series by Sunshine Somerville but The Poet Heroic makes for a fine introduction. It is fast paced and filled with intrigue and action. There's also an interesting dynamic between telepathy and mere brute strength throughout. Since it feels like a prequel to the bigger series, there is just enough backstory so that fans of the series will enjoy a peek into Vale's past. Somerville also fills The Poet Heroic with enough mystery to get new readers interested in diving into the complete series.

Carla Trueheart

The Poet Heroic by Sunshine Somerville follows the story of twin brothers Vale and Cruelthor in the Dominion who, despite their similar looks, could not be less like each other. Vale is telepathic, and while this would probably make him a better candidate for rulership of the Dominion, his brother Cruelthor is chosen when their father, the current ruler, passes away. Not only that, but Vale’s brother has him exiled once he moves into a rulership position, has his head tattooed, and basically blocks all telepathic thoughts so Vale has no idea what’s going on. Vale is also looking for his mother and his sister, and he is hoping to keep them safe from Cruelthor in the Dominion. The story moves forward after that with Vale assuming a role of leadership in the rebel force against the enemy — his own twin brother.

Vale is an honorable character and the reader can’t help but want to read along with his quest. There are also some interesting side characters, such as Nocturna, who make the story enjoyable and relatable. The action is fast in The Poet Heroic, each scene quickly moving to the next, and it’s a fairly short read. Because of the short length, however, it does become difficult to get attached to the side characters, and in some important scenes I did wish I felt a little more for Vale and his plight. Although it’s probably a difficult balance with action and story development, Sunshine Somerville does a great job overall, and I will definitely look for more of her work.

Michelle Stanley

The Poet Heroic: A Kota Short is a young adult science fiction story by Sunshine Somerville. Vale Olander, born a telepath, is the rejected son of an unruly Dominion ruler. Cruelthor, Vale’s twin brother who also has special skills, becomes ruler after their father dies and is even more tyrannical and repressive. He feels threatened by Vale, who is caring, logical, sympathetic to the citizens’ needs, and a mind reader. Cruelthor falsely accuses him of disloyalty to the empire and Vale escapes, but is treated like a traitor in society. He unwillingly unites with rebels who make him their leader in order to overthrow Cruelthor, and soon realizes how dangerous his brother has become after Cruelthor hunts for their mother who fights against Dominion oppression.

This young adult novella is an interesting one by Sunshine Somerville, who writes imaginatively. The Poet Heroic: A Kota Short has a unique plot that includes a minor spin on the story The Man in the Iron Mask. This good science fiction read sees its mild mannered protagonist mature quickly when his life and the fellow citizens he cares about are endangered. However, I felt disappointed when I arrived at the last page because the story ended too abruptly. Nevertheless, Sunshine Somerville writes engagingly and the story is still a good one that will capture the attention of young adults who enjoy science fiction.