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Book Review: Corona by M.J. Heiser

Long past the Age of Wonder, several thirty-somethings form an unlikely band of adventurers in the fair landof Jaenrye. Can they keep at bay the seemingly unstoppable power of a creature determined to destroy the magic they can’t bring themselves to believe in?

Tom Strausser is a lonely failed musician with a day job he hates. Rose Smith thinks she could be a best-selling novelist, but can’t be bothered to spend time writing. Father Rey Lopez was a rising star in the Catholic Church until depravity got the best of him.

All three of these everyday nobodies are pulled from the world they know and are forced to find out what they’re really made of, confronting their own cowardice, malice, and complacency. Will they rise to the challenge, despite themselves? 

When I read the blurb, I was prepared to read a Chronicles of Narnia clone. I thought it was going to be a sappy story with no bite or reason behind the tale, a smooth fantasy that would entertain me, but not hold me or make me think about anything.

However, “Corona” is anything but a Narnia clone. From the start, you are made incredibly aware that this is an adult fantasy story.

All of the characters are beautifully rounded. Rose is introduced as a dreamy child whose mother thinks she’s not practical enough and when we rejoin her as an adult, we find that she’s had constant put downs and disappointments, causing her to need therapy.

Father Rey is a curiously charming, yet scarily evil catholic priest (I won’t tell you why he’s scary – go read the book!) and Tom Strausser is a drunken, stifled bassist…

All of the Outworld characters are drawn into a world that they end up becoming part of and in the process, discovering more about themselves than they ever dreamed.

The Jaenrye characters are a seamless blend of pure fantasy and modern world. My favourite is Jimbo St. James, a teetotal Barkeep in Ellerdag. He’s so friendly and very much like various bar people I have known over the years. The other characters lend their voices in such a realistic fashion that you begin to wonder if you are reading the book or listening to it!

MJ Heiser’s style is easy to read and the language is perfectly used; even the swear words are in context and in character for the people speaking them.

The story itself is pretty much your normal “Hero rides in to save the Heroine who can save the world” plot. However, the characters and the world building have freshened the plot up and created an original story that is a joy to read and leaves you wishing that you could extend your stay in Jaenrye.

I can thoroughly recommend this book to all adult fantasy readers. I will be reading and reviewing the second book in the series, “Canticle”, next month. I suggest that you pick up a copy of “Corona” and catch up with the story, as this is one series you are going to want to collect.

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20 thoughts on “Book Review: Corona by M.J. Heiser”

    1. I intend to enjoy it again! I do love having new fantasy authors to read… shakes me out of my rut.

      Now I have to read Canticle – got the eBook of that one!

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