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The Darkening of Deacon (Tree of Life Series, Book #1) by [Daniels, Elita]
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The Darkening of Deacon (Tree of Life Series, Book #1) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 380 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 979 KB
  • Print Length: 380 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: PL & EF Daniels (22 Sept. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004477YCM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,435,710 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition
The story begins not with the main character of this tale, Deacon, but rather with the people and the betrayal that would guide the journey occupying the bulk of this book. Though initially a bit disappointed at the brevity of the first adventure, I was quickly placated by the realization that it was only the backdrop to a more involved production.

Daniels proves herself as one with a good understanding of human nature. Her characterizations are consistent, even with the transformations and maturation of personalities. Deacon himself displays aspects of the Byronic hero, a man whose inner darkness drives a self-destructive attitude towards those who surround him. We are slowly drawn into his inner turmoil, and while much of this is elicited through his scenes with Magenta, the interest gave purpose to the otherwise overly-romantic sections. With that being said, there were still moments when I wanted to knock him upside the head for being so slow to make up his mind.

Many of the names, as well as the fantasy realm itself, seem to draw heavily from Tolkein. The similarity of elven attributes was difficult to ignore, and while this facilitated the process of picturing an ethereal race, it took away from the mysticism of it all as my mind started drawing parallels between Tree of Life and Lord of the Rings. Fortunately, the creativity of the plot, as well as the well-paced storyline, maintained my interest in the reading at hand. Daniels displays a firm understanding of "show, not tell," as she introduces the reader to concepts and characters without giving excessive background information. We learn the details as we would in real life -- through conversation, action, and events.

For the most part, the text flowed quite readily.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I saw this book being promoted on Facebook and Twitter. So I decided to give it a try. I stepped outside my normal genre and stepped into a Fantasy land, following the roller-coaster ride that Deacon finds himself on. A totally enjoyable read.

Well worth trying this talented author, looking forward now to reading more of her work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesomely written by a talented writer. 15 Mar. 2011
By Beck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm not exactly sure how to start a review, but I'll try and keep it somewhat conversational. Last night, I finished reading a book called Tree of Life by the talented E.F. Daniels, it is her first book and the first part in a series of books to come, this taken into account, the story starts off pretty slow and much of the language is not as sophisticated as what was to come in the rest of the book; while there were many typographical errors in the first half of the book, I feel that in the first edition of a book, it should not matter greatly unless those errors persist past the second and third printings... and anyway, I believe it makes my copy of the book special.
What I wanted to talk about first was the characters and the rest of my review will probably pale in comparison with this section of discussion. Elita once mentioned that her characters would not leave her alone even while she slept, they whispered inner dialogue in her ear and I cannot blame her, for the characters she creates are intensely realistic, self-aware creatures. The main character, Deacon is, at his core, a good person but he is filled with hatred and other dark emotions, this is portrayed so strongly that at times during the story we're not sure whether he's the hero or villain. He is a singularly determined, stubborn and at times, indecisive character with such pride that it becomes his downfall more than once; both physically and emotionally. Deacon is a unique protagonist in that he is so often his own greatest enemy that we nearly forget what greater purpose he is hellbent on.
The book begins with Deacon as a child, he is quiet and intensely introverted to the point of strangeness, this remains a constant throughout the story and many people are able to detect something strange about him on first glance. While some may be put off by the illusion of "not much going on", there is, in fact a lot going on in the story at any one time when you think of the characters as people.
Elita writes in a style that stirs emotions within people, especially those that have lived with mental illness and can empathise strongly with the characters. I, as a fairly unemotional person found myself almost in tears at several points in the book.
I wanted this review to be special, but I really can't find the words to be erudite right now, so I'll shamelessly plug this book. It's awesome, go buy it if you haven't already.
2.0 out of 5 stars A 2.5 of 5 would be generous. 18 Oct. 2012
By Michelle J. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For starters, this book was much darker and creepier than I expected. My impression of the cover and summary seemed to make it seem more like a swashbuckling Elven fantasy, like Lord of the Rings. Instead, the story was all about necromancy, divination, undead creatures, a priestess heroine who served the some goddess of the dead, etc. I almost gave up early on but figured it had to get better. I was wrong.

Another issue I had with the story is that if I can't understand or identify with the characters, I find it difficult to stay interested. I'm sure the author meant to portray Deacon as conflicted, but all I saw was that he was cruel, angry, bitter, and pretty much just like his father. Each time he had an opportunity to improve his circumstances, he had a bad attitude and made the worst choices and was cruel to everyone in the process. I couldn't stand the character so the story was hard to stick with.

My final issue with the story was the transitioning. It seemed like the plot and timeline jumped all over the place. There was no good explanation for why Deacon's father instantly turned mean after being a loving father and husband. One letter could not have made that big of a difference. There was very little transition between the plot of Deacon's mother and Deacon, and sub plots involving Cade and Brielle popped in and out of the story without much rhyme or reason. And I didn't understand how everyone was so horrified by the idea of Deacon's revenge when they didn't have problems with violence and killing along their trip. Overall there were just too many plot holes and I was irritated every time yet another one popped up.

I will not be reading the next book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revenge is a Double-edged Sword that Cuts the Soul 10 Mar. 2011
By Jennifer L. Melzer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Revenge... it incurs bitterness and motivation unlike any other emotion, settling deep into the soul like a festering pustule until the seeker is completely consumed.

This is Deacon--the protagonist in Elita Daniels' debut fantasy novel, Tree of Life Part One. Abducted and scarred by his cruel and power-hungry father as a child, Deacon's mother risked life and limb to save him from the cruel fate his father planned for him. The bond between mother and son becomes even stronger as they survive the terrifying ordeal, but when Deacon's mother falls in love with the elven man who helps her save her son, her frail, human mortality is only enhanced by the everlasting elven world they live in.

Both set free and ensnared by his mother's death, Deacon embarks on a quest to avenge her and punish his wicked father. Accompanied by his cousins, despite his pleas for solitude, Deacon, Cedrik and Derek find themselves caught up in a strange plot involving a beautiful young priestess-in-training named Magenta. Despite his unwillingness to let himself fall in love, Deacon is enamored with Magenta, and discovers that sharing his vengeance with her is both liberating and dangerous.

There is something about Deacon's inner turmoil that appeals to the soul. As a reader I found myself frustrated and enamored with his struggle to love and be loved. A struggle that continually leaves him feeling empty and enraged, this presents a powerful lesson about the dangers of self-loathing.

For a debut novel from a first-time author, Daniels captures the otherworldly essence often found in works by master storytellers like Tolkien. Tree of Life is both character and plot driven, urging readers to embrace the struggling enigma that is Deacon in hopes that he can be saved--more than anything from himself.

Overall, I give Tree of Life Part One 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it to fantasy lovers who relish in conflicted characters on a quest to quell their vengeance and discover who they really are at heart. I'm anxiously awaiting the second installment, as Daniels split the novel at the perfect cliffhanger.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Darkening of Deacon (Tree of Life) by E. F. Daniels 12 Nov. 2012
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Darkening of Deacon is a fantasy Sci-Fi world building novel set in a mystical time of elven and magic. The world building is very good, understandable, realistic and believable. It is easy to accept and this reader found a good suspension of disbelief in the world developed by the author. There was enough detail to fuel imagination but not so much as to bog the story down.

Deacon, the primary protagonist, was not quite as well developed and defined but he was still interesting and imaginative. His quest to find his father and avenge the mis-treatment of his mother is, while not unique in the world of fantasy, understandable and relatable. But his inability to be anything other than morose, cranky and bull-headed takes a bit away from the full development of his character. I would have liked to see more humanity in him.

The secondary characters are very well developed and compelling. The love interest is one of the best I have seen written lately. She brings a lightness to an otherwise very dark story. The dialog was very good and moved the plot forward with skill. But the back-story was lacking in that some of the motivations were not clearly defined and explained.

Overall this is a very good book with the potential to bring an epic story to the genre'. Hopefully in the following novels the small problems will be corrected and the story will form more fully. I did like it and will be reading the rest of the series.

Karen Bryant Doering,
Parents' Little Black Book
MistBlueEeyore@gmail.com
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable but..... 16 Mar. 2011
By amanda hutchison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good romantic fantsasy, good characters ,a good story line, but .....lacked explanations as to why , how ,where . just when it got interesting and you wanted to know more and why ..place and subject of story changed.several parts were fast page turners where nothing much happened. I did enjoy this story but just feel it is lacking in details of why things are the way they are.
will most likely buy book 2 .out of curiosity ,to find out if Deacon ever becomes happy and if him and Magenta can really get it together .
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