SPFBO: Belief’s Horizon by I. W. Ferguson

Series: The Lightfeeder Menace #1Rating: 6.6/10
Date of Publishing: October 22nd 2018Genre: YA, fantasy, sci-fi
Publisher: self-publishedNumber of Pages: 358

 

Blurb

Treachery at home. Otherwordly visitors. What else lies beyond belief’s horizon?

Happen Fell lives on an isolated farm deep in the rainy woods on the magical planet Grith. It’s past time for him to go to the annual trade fair to begin his rites of passage, but one untimely trouble after another keeps him from exploring further than his home and the tiny school he attends with his cousin.And one person seems to lurk behind every trouble: Osgar.

Once Happen finally leaves on his journey, he fears his father’s loyal employee will turn up any moment. But when a stranger claims that Grith could be facing a threat from beyond the stars, Happen’s coming-of-age journey becomes much more treacherous—and mysterious.

That looming threat is the Lightfeeder Menace, and it could destroy everything. Almost no one on Grith—Happen included—believes it could be real. But what they don’t believe might kill them.

Belief’s Horizon is the first book in The Lightfeeder Menace series, introducing the world of Grith, where every river deep enough has its naiad, and every sea worth its salt has its dragon.

 

SPFBO Note

Please keep in mind these are personal thoughts only. This book has already been eliminated from the competition, but at least one of us liked it enough to write a full review. You can follow our progress on our SPFBO page.

 

Song of the Book

Of course it had to be this one 😉
Coming of Age by Foster the People

 

Jen’s Review – 6.7/10

Enjoyable coming of age tale.

Happen is ready for his summering task (which is like a passage into manhood where he has an important job to prove he is capable of doing things on his own.) His task is to take the wagon to the annual fair where he will sell the family wares, and return with supplies to see them through the next year.
Happen’s cousin Cor joins him on the journey, and they run afoul of trouble almost immediately when Happen’s wagon is stolen, and the boys find themselves in danger of drowning.

This event springs the rest of the story into gear, when the boys try to overcome this obstacle and in doing so meet otherworld travelers- discovering their world is a bigger place than they ever dreamed, while making some new friends along the way.

This is kind of a tamer, more thoughtful (or is that responsible) Tom and Huck style friendship/adventure story, in a sci-fi/fantasy world with magic, tech and other planets including Earth. It is an interesting blend and the inclusions of the off-worlders gives us a good idea of the scale of the in-story world, while keeping this a small and personal journey to adulthood for Happen.

We learn a lot about the kind person Happen is; he was such a well-rounded character and we get glimpses of it in so many ways. His reliability, his honesty, and his kindness, in the way he treats Ariadne (who is quite obviously not from Grith) and Nora, to how he meticulously deals with each obstacle that arises. And of his youth- when he acts like the unsure boy he is, and would run away and was scared of repercussions from authorities, or his reasoning out things he was learning to fit what he knew to be true, to stuff like the fight he had with his mother. He was a solid character all around.

This was a nice change of pace and even could be a little sweet at times. Because it has a slice of life/coming of age feel, and maintained the same pace almost throughout with not much build to the end, I just found it a little slower and more thoughtful in tone than the adventure tale I’d expected with a couple of boys off discovering the world, but I enjoyed it a lot.

Nice presentation all around but the story could use a little urgency at times, to keep things interesting and moving along.

Other Notes

Even though the time is measured differently in this story, I didn’t find it as jarring as I usually do because it’s scattered here and there and not overused.


Timy’s Review – 7/10

I can’t really put my finger on why this book touched me, but it did which caught me by surprise. Belief’s Horizon is a coming of age/slice of life kinda story – or at least at the beginning until Happen starts his journey because from there on it’s coming of age/adventure. It has a slow space, but that’s also gives it a charming atmosphere without being boring or dragging. I felt compelled to follow Happen on his way to adulthood. Things seemed to pick up toward the end of Part I, and though I’m usually not a fan of travelling in books, here I didn’t mind. There was a lot of worldbuilding in the background, mostly hinted at which was intriguing, but I felt like some things would have needed a bit more explaining – the magic, for instance.

Despite it needing a bit of polishing, I’m definitely thinking about coming back to finish reading this book, but until then, I definitely recommend if you are looking for something less action packed but still full of wonders and likeable characters who form friendships while there is also a character – Osgar – who you are going to love to hate.

 

Belle’s Review – 6.5/10

This was quite a fun smoosh up of sci-fi and fantasy providing the framework to a lovely coming of age story.

Joining Happen as he navigates the world beyond his family’s farm for the first time reminded me a lot of my own experiences as a young adult desperate to get out there and experience everything all at once. Like most people, Happen doesn’t have a particularly smooth journey, and I enjoyed seeing him grow and learn as he overcame each obstacle.

The world building was a high point for me. Often sci-fi/fantasy mash ups end up being a confusing mess of tropes, but it was done really well here. I hope there’s more exploration of the galaxy beyond Grith, especially with the tantalising glimpses we’re given as we learn more about his companions. I also enjoyed all of the characters, and the deft way their backgrounds and personalities were worked into the story, especially as Happen is the only POV (and often a sceptical one at that).

One thing that let it down for me was the lack of information about the Big Bad of the series. We get a lot of information about Osgar, but not so much on the larger conflict. I assume this will be fleshed out more in future books, but being kept in the dark was occasionally frustrating.

This is definitely a series I intend to continue, and I quite recommend it for anyone who enjoys young adult fiction in particular.


Nick’s Review – 6/10

Happen Fell is a simple farm boy who lives on the planet Grith.  His family has told him that it is time to embark on the traditional rite of passage for every young boy his age.  This requires travelling to the annual trade fair held in another town and showing that he can hold his own with the various traders buying and selling their wares.  If he is successful he will prove to be worthy of taking up the family farm and passing it on to the next generation of Fells.

But things don’t really go as planned for Happen and his cousin/travelling companion Cor.  Along their journey they are beset by treachery that could not only postpone their arrival at the fair but also potentially threaten their very lives.  It is in the midst of these troubles that they encounter two mysterious travellers named Nora and Ariadne.  Ariadne in particular has a strange appearance as she has no mouth and speaks through what seems to be a magical box that her companion Nora holds.

Things get even more strange when Ariadne claims that she is from another planet and calmly discloses that there have been scouts from where she is from that have been travelling to Grith for centuries undetected.  Not only that but she fears that Grith is in immediate danger from something called the Lightfeeder Menace, which could end up destroying everything and everyone on this tranquil world.

What is the Lightfeeder Menace exactly and could what Ariadne says actually be true?  Happen can hardly believe the things that are being revealed to him by the enigmatic space traveller but he may find that his coming of age test may be far greater than simply journeying to a local farm fair to barter with the locals.  He just might be a crucial component to saving humanity on his home planet from a devastating threat that nobody, including himself, could ever envision.

I thought that BELIEF’S HORIZON was ultimately a fun and enjoyable read.  I like a good coming-of-age story from time to time and this one is handled fairly well in most respects.  Happen is the perfect example of how the main characters in stories such as these are usually constituted.  He doubts himself on a number of different levels, not really certain as to whether or not he is ready to take up the mantle and become a responsible adult.  He’s often hesitant and doesn’t trust his decisions etc…

I also liked the other characters in the story Nora and Ariadne and thought they lent a very cool mystery to the book with regard to why they travelled to Grith and delivering the message of the Lightfeeder Menace.  As they became more and more a part of the narrative we get little nuggets of the planet that Ariadne comes from and the reasons for her arrival at this particular time in Grith’s history.

What I was somewhat disappointed in were certain components of the story and how they were relayed to the reader.  For instance, the thing that made this just an okay book for me was how most things happened far too easily.  A lot what took place was told rather than shown which is not what I normally prefer in a story.  Also, quite a few situations that arise are resolved too quickly without a lot of buildup beforehand or explanation afterward.

While BELIEF’S HORIZON was pretty enjoyable overall, I felt like there was not enough tension and I wasn’t completely satisfied in the end due to the reasons that I just mentioned.  But that is simply my own opinion and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to readers who enjoy SF stories with interesting otherworldly space travellers, a decent coming-of-age plotline, and a mystery that ties everything together.  I liked it enough to want to check out book #2 in The Lightfeeder Menace series once it is released to see what happens (no pun intended) next to these characters.

Available: Amazon, Barnes & NobleAuthor website: Goodreads

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