The Legend of Demnog
by Seth Stadel
Trafford Publishing

"The secret sleeps in darkness deep/where worthless and majestic meet/and cowards come to guard their keep."

From the beginning, The Legend of Demnog assumes a mythical structure through Stadel's use of ancient characters, an intriguing plotline, oracles, and the ever-famous riddle that leads to all the riches. The plot revolves around two regions, Demnog and Wooernog, and four strangers who are brought together by the legend: Gottliem, Unsun, and the Pumpernickle brothers, Cleatis and Sesstis.

Though the story is undoubtedly interesting, the concept of the legend is far more alluring then the actual execution. The storytelling lacks adequate dialogue sequences, and much of the story is being "told" rather than "showed" through descriptions and character exchanges. The constant shift from block paragraphs to verse (poetry structure), in addition to the slew of foreign character names requires a careful reading of the book.

Nevertheless, the story picks up steam once the chosen four have made their way into the city of Divinora. There, they are met by deception, creation theories, the all-powerful Ena Ocmar, and a series of thought-provoking encounters that address many of life's philosophies. The subsequent journey to the legend is full of revelations and insanity—literally—and quest after quest that will test the resolve of the central characters.

The story depicts a number of life lessons; most importantly, that one should trust in God, whether that be Ena Ocmar, or another guiding force. Conjure the image of reaching the Suit of Armor and a room full of gold, only to be slain. Such is the fate for those who do not believe in Ena Ocmar. Which of the four Narethmar, if any, will survive the wrath of Ena Ocmar and reap the benefits of the Legend of Demnog?

Overall, Seth Stadel's story idea is compelling and the characters are drawn out. Although there are a host of characters that the book could have done without, the crux of the story focuses on the main characters’ travails in search of the legend. The author’s world building skills are impeccable—a major reason why readers will look forward to Stadel's next two novels: The Nachinare and The Parables of Ancient Ocmar.

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