Keeper of the Jewel: Highcliff Guardians Epic Fantasy Series (Soul Forge Universe Book 1) by Richard H. Stephens Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young heir to the throne is sent away to be protected from a looming threat, but finds sins of the kingdom’s past may find their way back to her in author Richard H. Stephen’s “Keeper of the Jewel: Highcliff Guardians Epic Fantasy Series”, the first book in the Soul Forge Universe series. 


The Synopsis 

Something evil lurks beneath the palace.

A phantasm from a darker past makes its presence known to Khae Wys, Queen of the Elves.

Braving the perils of a haunted tower, the queen seeks the counsel of the mysterious Fae, for only they can predict what is to come. A future that doesn’t bode well for her only living child.

In a desperate attempt to save the heir to the Willow Throne, Princess Ouderling is exiled to the only place capable of protecting her. Highcliff, the home of the coveted Crystal Cavern and the dragons that watch over it.

The Duke of Grim, however, has other plans for the princess.

The Review

I absolutely loved this book! The world-building was phenomenal, and the imagery the author infused into the narrative, (both literarily speaking and literally) was superb to see. The use of artwork throughout the book was an inspired choice, as the author was able to give readers a visual representation of the tone and quality of the characters that strengthened the emotional connection readers had for them.

I loved how complex and realistic the relationships and personalities of these fantasy characters felt. While I absolutely love fantasy-driven narratives, some novels can get so heavy with the fantasy elements that character choices and personalities can feel stuffy or disconnected in some way. Yet this author found a great way of making the characters either relatable or realistic enough for readers to recognize. Even protagonist Princess Ouderling perfectly represents the young woman who must undergo a heroic journey and face the past of her kingdom, but also holds that youthful sense of rebellion and need for an identity all her own, which will resonate greatly with younger readers especially.

The Verdict

A brilliant, entertaining, and amazingly haunting world of epic fantasy that readers won’t want to miss, author Richard H. Stevens’s “Keeper of the Jewel” is a must-read novel and the perfect start to a brand new fantasy series. What really was great to see was that this book was the first of a new series, but was set within an even greater series the author already has written. Yet the story felt fresh and was able to be enjoyed seamlessly by newcomers while still hitting great story strides with established lands and characters at the same time. It made for such a rich and powerful read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Born in Simcoe, Ontario, in 1965, I began writing circa 1974; a bored child looking for something to while away the long, summertime days. My penchant for reading The Hardy Boys led to an inspiration one sweltering summer afternoon when my best friend and I thought, “Hey, we could write one of those.” And so, I did.

As my reading horizons broadened, so did my writing. Star Wars inspired me to write a 600-page novel about outer space that caught the attention of a special teacher, Mr. Woodley, who encouraged me to keep writing.

A trip to a local book store saw the proprietor introduce me to Stephen R. Donaldson and Terry Brooks. My writing life was forever changed.

At 17, I left high school to join the working world to support my first son. For the next twenty-two years I worked as a shipper at a local bakery. At the age of 36, I went back to high school to complete my education. After graduating with honours at the age of thirty-nine, I became a member of our local Police Service, and worked for 12 years in the provincial court system.

In early 2017, I resigned from the Police Service to pursue my love of writing full-time. With the help and support of my lovely wife Caroline and our 5 children, I have now realized my boyhood dream.

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