Review: Odessa – Rebecca Ryals Russell

Series: The Serphym Wars #1
Genre: Steampunk/fantasy
Pages: 272, ebook
Published: 2011
Source: for review
Review by Lis

Myrna Ashlin Watts graduated from High School in Jacksonville, Fl just in time to find herself transported to a bizarre and primal planet corrupted by demon-dragons. And they want her DEAD. Her problem is she has been recruited to kill them, too.18-year-old Myrna is drawn into the middle of an epic battle between Seraphym and Demons. An average High School student from Florida, struggling with inner demons resulting from a rape two years earlier, she wakes one morning on the Steampunk planet of Dracwald, home of the demon-dragons responsible for her brother’s recent murder as well as many other atrocities in the news. She meets Michael, who becomes her guide and explains that according to prophecy, Myrna must gather the remaining six Vigorios (teen warriors with special talents) then train with the Majikals on an enchanted island.
Reluctantly, and knowing it is her only way to get back home, she agrees to lead, battling dragons and monsters while crossing swamps and mountains, forests and seas. She wrangles with the old inner demons when three very different men join her quest—a seasoned demon/dragon-slayer who irritates but beguiles her, a tender and sweet mentor in whom she trusts completely and a roguishly handsome Scientist who sets her senses aflame. How is she expected to lead the others and keep everyone safe with so much inner turmoil?
High school graduation is supposed to be the end of a period and the start of a new one. Well, Myrna’s is just a tad bit more unusual than most. She just graduated high school in Jacksonville only the find herself on the bizarre, steam-punk like primal planet of Dracworld. 
Oh yeah, did I mention there are dragons? Oh and Seraphyms. 
When I first got this book to review, I didn’t read past Steam Punk before I said yes. Heh, I may have mentioned I like Steam Punk before, right? While this book certainly didn’t disappoint, it wasn’t entirely my cup of tea either. 
Odessa is an ambitious piece of work that has a little bit of everything in it: from Steam Punk to Fantasy, from Religion to Romance. And some hunks! It is the story of sweet, strong Myrna; who, along with some demon dragons, has her own inner demons to slay. When she is transported to Dracworld, fate bitchslaps her with a great big destiny and a bit of prophecy: she is to find the remaining six Vigorios – that would be teen warriors with special talents – and train with them on an enchanted island (I want one of those!)
Fantasy is a big theme in Odessa and as such there is a lot of world building. You get to see the planet through Myrna’s eyes as well as a lot of history. Let me tell you, it’s a dark, disturbing and violent place to be. There are also a lot of creatures in this story and along with the characters they make this story pretty interesting. However, at points it was hard to follow. Not so much as in what was going on, just that there is a lot going on. 
As there are a lot of characters, besides Myrna, it was sometimes a bit hard to keep track of who’s who and who was leading in the story. But that also could have been me, ‘cause I was pretty tired at the time I read this. 
Odessa is a likeable first installment. It’s a pretty ambitious project. However, what didn’t work for me – but let me stress that this is a personal hang-up – were the Christian undertones in the story. There are a lot of themes going on here and Christianity and other religions have played many a part in fantasy stories – but in this one it didn’t quite work for me. Steam Punk and Fantasy, yes, Steam Punk, Fantasy and Religion, not so much. Add to that the Seraphyms – who are becoming a big thing in the fantasy world – and well it had me rolling my eyes at time. 
But don’t let that pull you off. Myrna’s story is a good one to tell and to read. 
———————
From Blodeuedd:
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20 thoughts on “Review: Odessa – Rebecca Ryals Russell

  1. Anachronist says:

    Steam Punk and Fantasy, yes, Steam Punk, Fantasy and Religion, not so much. Add to that the Seraphyms – who are becoming a big thing in the fantasy world – and well it had me rolling my eyes at time. AMEN…er…I mean right you are, my friend and thanks for the review, I love steampunk but I would be conflicted about that one for sure.

  2. Missie says:

    Dracworld? Wow! That sounds more like a vamp filled place than dragons. LOLOr maybe it just sounds that way to me. This one does sound pretty ambitious, as you said. Glad to know more about it. Thanks.

  3. Rebecca Ryals Russell says:

    Thank you for the review. It was honest. I have found people either love or hate the book. I meant it to be controversial. But you're wrong about the religion–there's no hint of Christianity in it-deliberately. It's exclusively the war between Heaven and Hell retold. And the Steampunk is minimal to the story which is about fighting evil. The next book in the series came out in Sept. Prophecy is about how the prophecy came to be. It's a prequel. http://rryalsrussell.com; http://seraphymwarsodessa.blogspot.com; http://seraphymwarsprophecy.blogspot.com

  4. naida says:

    When there's too much going on and alot of characters, the writing and storyline has to be good, or I'll lose interest.This isn't something I would normally pick up.

  5. Carole Rae says:

    Mhmmmm, sounds interesting. Like Aurian, I'll have to put it on my maybe list. I'm greating into Fantasy novels again (I was avoiding them because I needed a break). Great review…of course.

  6. Blodeuedd says:

    Aurian:)Ana;)LindaHope you doMissieYou have vamps on your brain it seems ;)CarolCan't help you thereMelissaIf it put off Lis then it would surely put me off too. I can't do pushyCarrieSame with me, too many are just too many sometimesStephLOL. I like it tooMelissaThe cover is so coolNaidaSame with me sometimesCaroleYay good to hear, I can give you tons of recommendations ;)AlexisSame with me ;)CherryAye, ebooks :/MelissaGood to hear

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