Down a Lost Road is about a teenage girl who is whisked away from her world, and replaced in Arah Byen. Ungulion, dark creatures plaguing Arah Byen, chase her. Yatol, a mysterious boy who rescues her from the Ungulion clutches, keeps rescuing her and teaching her her part in his world. Soon Merelin sets out to save Arah Byen from the Ungulion.
Merelin Lindon–A spunky young girl who is sucked into another world. Like any good main character, she proceeds to explore the world. She learns that her dad was once a citizen of this strange world, where trees are blue and there are no stars in the sky.
Yatol–A teenager from Arah Byen who befriends Merelin, if you could call it that. He rescues her from repeated danger.
The Ungulion–Strange creatures that have taken Arah Byen captive. They are dressed in long, dark robes and have no real body. They have a face with dull, glowing red eyes and two rotting hands. They can dig into your mind and read your thoughts.
First of all, I like the cover. It betrays little or nothing of what actually happens in the book. So, for those of you who judge a book by its cover–don’t do that for this one!
I loved this book. There were so many intriguing details, like the Ungulion, for example. I sort of envision them like dementors from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, except they are more dangerous. They can read your mind, not just suck your happiness away. Merelin feels futile against the Ungulion, but she makes it her goal to rescue the people of Arah Byen from them. It doesn’t faze her that she might not succeed. She didn’t even grow up in this world, but she feels at home in it. She uses the Blade of Heaven, a dagger that hurts the user but causes greater damage to the attacked. This blade is the only weapon against the Ungulion. Yatol and Merelin have the help of the Brethren, a group of mythical creatures acting the roles of gods. Not everyone can see them.
The world itself was very intriguing. Near the people of Arah Byen, the sun never sets. There is no true night like we know it. Closer to the Ungulion camp, though, the sky darkens almost to pitch black, not even lit by stars. The trees in the forests of Arah Byen are shades of blue, another cool detail.
The Ungulion cause darkness with their evil spirits, causing one side of the planet to be covered in darkness all the time. Their fortress is situated in the middle of this darkness. At one point in the book, Merelin learns that the Ungulion used to be living souls. She talks to the soul of a young boy, trapped inside an Ungulion. This was really cool, to know that they once were human.
J. Leigh Bralick does a great job incorporating The Lord of the Rings references into her novel. I loved how she makes Tolkien out to be a believer in Arah Byen!
There isn’t much bad in this book. The only thing that kept returning was Merelin’s periodical black-outs. She seemed to black out every time the excitement was rising. This kills the excitement in the book at certain points, but J. Leigh Bralick does a good job of building the tension back up.
The prose in this novel was flowing, never really jerky or unnatural. I felt like this story was good because of its simplicity. There were no confusing plot twists to worry about, really. It was pretty focused on the main goal (saving Arah Byen) the entire time. J. Leigh might think that her novel isn’t the best because it stemmed from a childhood dream, but I actually like it better than her other books in the series, Subverter and Prism. The rest of the series gets so complex. I’m not saying that I don’t like the rest of the series, because I love them. I just feel like Down a Lost Road is my favorite. At the time of this review, I have read Down a Lost Road twice and hope to read it again sometime. I absolutely love it.
P.S. Yatol is my all-time favorite character from Down a Lost Road!