In a pseudo-medieval world, the kingdoms of humans as well as other races have made peace with one another, vowing to not engage in war or combat amongst themselves. However, this peace was not accepted by the darker races and evil still lurks within the shadows, causing death and destruction wherever it can. Demons, vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of darkness torment the land and its inhabitants. Who will fight them and protect those who cannot do so themselves? Enter the Order of Achavites: a race of magical people with phenomenal powers and fly with the wings of a butterfly. With the help of messengers known as Ajals, the Achavites partner with angels, magicians, goddesses, and other various races to fight the evil and keep the land safe. Morner, a newly dubbed Achavite, discovers new evil and corruption that lie in wait across the land and, with the help of his Ajal Nymph, they accomplish amazing feats together to rid the once peaceful kingdoms of threats and ensure all are safe and protected.
Fans of fantasy are in for a treat as they read Polish author Robert Przybylski’s debut fantasy novel The Ahava Order. It is a rather unique take on what readers are accustomed to when reading this genre for Przybylski has taken certain predictable aspects and molded them into something new and creative.
To start with, The Ahava Order does not read as one would expect a book to read. It is the length of a novella (being roughly about 120 pages) and readers will read through it relatively quickly and, with this in mind, it is more beneficial for the reader to read the story all in one sitting. There are no chapters and no breaks in the story which can make it difficult to find a stopping point. The story itself could have used another round of editing for certain parts can be a bit jumbled as far as following the characters and plot go and it jumps quite a bit between past and present tense which can make reading the story a bit confusing at times. The Ahava Order may have worked better as a collection of short stories following Morner and his Ajal, Nymph, to separate their adventures. There is somewhat of a main plot in the story, but readers will find themselves following more separate mini adventures and missions all seemingly leading up to a main plot.
While it could have benefited more from these changes, readers are encouraged to read The Ahava Order for it makes a rather enjoyable read as one long story. Przybylski has created a rather entertaining and unique story and one fantasy readers will find themselves enjoying. He takes many familiar aspects of the fantasy genre as well as aspects from monster stories and even theological stories and melds them together to create something readers have not really come across before. What makes Przybylski’s story enjoyable is the fact that he created a story that reads almost like a classic fantasy. The classic fight of good versus evil and light versus dark is present. Many new foreign kingdoms within a new land are introduced that really have no explanation or in-depth descriptions on how they came about or where they are specifically located in the land, the kingdoms are just there. There are also no overly thought out plots or politics that are normally found in fantasy series nowadays which, while they add to stories, they are not always necessary.
One very memorable fantasy aspect of The Ahava Order are the creatures, monsters, and races found within. Readers will find the average vampire and werewolf; however, Przybylski has created entirely new creatures and races and monsters that are incredibly clever. These races, following the classic fantasy aforementioned, range from good to evil and readers will have a very good visual of what they look like for each of these races have been described in great detail. Take the Achavites, for example. They are a race of human beings born from a Magician and Sorcerer/ Sorceress and merge with a butterfly messenger of the Order of Achavites and gain wings and armor that resemble a butterfly. While the kingdoms have formed a pact with each other not to fight, the kingdoms have formed an internal pact with the Order of Achavites to fight the dark creatures and nonhumans that threaten the kingdoms themselves. Who has really ever come across this in any other fantasy before? The descriptive detail that Przybylski gives on not only his Achavites, but his many other races will makes readers have a clear visual within their minds while also making them wish they could see them in person.
Along with these many new races, Przybylski introduces many new characters, as well. While they could have used a bit more development, they are easy to follow and rather likeable. The main two characters readers will follow are Morner and Nymph. These two have a bond that may remind readers of Link and Navi from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (at least, the way fans have portrayed these two if Link could talk back to Navi). They work very well as a team, but they also have some fun moments of back and forth witty banter. They meet many new characters along the way who help them in their adventures and these additional characters make frequent appearances to aid Morner and Nymph in thwarting dark conspiracies and overthrowing evil doers before they can cause major damage.
The Ahava Order proves to be a rather clever and unique take on fantasy. Przybylski has taken many familiar elements and created something new and entertaining for his debut novel. While the lack of chapters and the need of a final round of editing can be a bit daunting upon starting this book, readers are encouraged to give this quick read a look. As a whole, with all of the clever races and creatures Przybylski has created as well as the land and kingdoms along with the elements of light versus dark straight out of a classic fantasy, The Ahava Order is almost like a blast from the past for lovers of the fantasy genre. It reads almost like a video game or an anime series where readers will follow Morner and his Ajal, Nymph, on many different adventures and readers are simply along for the ride. The story is simple, yet complex, almost like reading a book for a young reader mixed with an adult fantasy. The Ahava Order is the first in a series of unknown length (as the second book, The Ahava Order, Vampires, was just recently released) and is a new fantasy series that holds much potential. It seems each novella will focus on one of the different races, whether known already or created by Przybylski, and, with some chapters added in and a bit of clarification on certain aspects of the story, this series could certainly be one to follow in future books to come.