If your looking for a fantasy, Lord of the Rings-ish book, then look no further. Quest for the Red Sapphire takes place in a world where goblins, elves, and humans interact in an old society, but not without complications.
Linvin, the main character, is rushed home after his elvish mother writes of his father’s disappearance. He takes up his father’s rich trading company, and happily continues the business until his uncle, Anvar, informs him of the quest his father set up for him before his untimely demise. With the help of his irksome twin cousins, Bander and Rander, Linvin and Anvar embark on a journey to find and utilize the legendary Red Sapphire before it falls into the wrong hands. Facing armed patrols, sneaky bandits, and man-eating wolves, the four race to retrieve the Red Sapphire in hope of yielding its magic for good rather than evil.
First, all the great things about this book. Gates constructs a beautiful world in which one can get lost in. He skillfully adds in historical and legendary facts that help make the world seem more real. He applies racial problems we have in our world to Linvin’s– instead of discrimination against skin color there is discrimination with elves vs. goblins vs. humans. These problems make the world easier to relate to despite being fantasy.
I also enjoyed Gate’s writing style. He used beautiful words and was descriptive of the setting, characters, and events that occurred throughout the novel. My favorite line:
“The skin on her face had wrinkled like an old potato…” (p. 191)
Both his dialogue and descriptions held figurative language and a sort of proper tone. He never wavered from using prestige writing, both in narration and speaking, which made it clear this world had elegance not found in modern day.
The plot proved to be more of a boy’s book as I read further in. I don’t like to categorize books like that (I like plenty of books from guy’s perspectives or books geared towards guys), but all the battles and killing had me reading a bit faster in particularly gruesome parts. Gates didn’t favor gore, but all the fighting and battle plans had me skimming a bit.
Now, for some of the bad things. I didn’t like the characters very much! I think Gates showed their personality well both direct and indirect characterization, but I just didn’t like them. Firstly, I felt like they didn’t have much depth. You could basically label each one of the four: the leader, the wise one, the stupid one, the annoying one. In some places they showed more dimension, but mostly I felt they were thin as paper.
And, Linvin is mean. I don’t think you need to kill people for insulting you. Calm yourself. It isn’t that big of a deal. It irked me how thin his skin is and how rude he is! Just plain rude. Yeah, we get it, you’re the leader, but that doesn’t mean you have to be bossy and aloof. I found myself physically rolling my eyes at some of his words or the praise everyone gives him. He seems too great, and he isn’t kind enough to receive his greatness while keeping a down to earth demeanor.
I thought the book was a bit too long. I felt like some fights (again, boys book!) could be cut out and maybe a little less talking. I love the conversations, but I don’t love conversations where one characters speaks for a couple paragraphs, then the next character speaks for a couple more paragraphs. It got to a point where they just over-explained everything. I would have liked it a lot more if the book cut down a bit. Also, there were some editing error, but nothing that took away from the plot.
Overall, I would recommend Quest for the Red Sapphire for fantasy lovers. Anyone who’s looking for a good journey, this is the book for you. It has action, mystery, and depth. But I’ll warn you the cliff hanger at the end is excruciating.