Lleydrin by J.B. Moran (Book 1: Lleydrin Chronicles)

Book Blurb:

Like most fifteen-year-olds, Kier enjoys gravityball, starship simulators, and pranking his little sister. Unlike most fifteen-year-olds, he’s the crown prince of a small planet.

Then Devcorp arrives. The intergalactic giant has a history of ravaging worlds and assassinating stubborn rulers like his parents.

Kier’s initial plan—punching Devcorp’s ambassador in the face—might not do the trick. Perhaps the legendary rangers could help… if his dad hadn’t banished them to a dragon-infested jungle.

Kier’s adventures soon lead him to a marooned space pirate and a scrappy slum girl, but not everyone is what they seem. He’ll have to stay alive—and decide who to trust—in the quest to save his homeworld from Devcorp’s jaws.

I received this book for free from the author. All comments and opinions are entirely my own, and I am writing a voluntary review.

Renae’s Review:

Dinosaurs, world invasion, and blaster guns! What more could you ask for in a book?! With a handful of main characters learning some tough life lessons, Lleydrin has a lot to offer its readers. Journey with Prince Kier as he learns about what it means to be a good leader alongside his class rival, Wren, who is a spy sent by the exiled rangers to save her people. Together with their classmates, Kier and Wren navigate the hallways of space cadet school and later navigate through the stars!

LLeydrin is full of action and intrigue from the first chapter and the humor-filled dialogues will keep you laughing as you fly through the pages. The characters are unique and spunky, but the book is 100% clean, so it’s perfect for kids! It’s definitely geared toward a younger/mid-grade age group, so older readers should keep that in mind if they decide to pick it up. The writing is not as detail-rich as many adult readers prefer, but the age group it is written for is less likely to want to sit through extensive and tedious writing anyway.

“There’s still evil in the universe. There’s still evil within our shielded little city. But we’re fighting for something better, Tev, little by little.”

That being said, I do think there was room for more explanations of and/or dwelling on certain plot points. For instance, when certain characters die or appear to die, it feels like the grief of the other characters is almost passed over. The author had a tremendous opportunity to help young readers learn how to process grief or handle tough news, but he chose to jump to the next action-filled plot point instead. I understand that there is often editorial pressure for brevity, but I think sometimes brevity should be sacrificed for emotional depth, and this was one of those instances for me.

“Sometimes to survive, you have to give up birdsong.”

Some of the characters in the book have awesome character arcs, which I love. For instance, one character starts off rather snobby and elitist, but changes their ways after learning some important life lessons. I also appreciate the unwavering love and faithfulness of Quil, the pink-haired best friend of Wren, who also acts as her biggest cheerleader. Even when negative things happen to Wren, Quil is there by her side and never leaves. I think that makes her a great role model for the preteen readers of Lleydrin.

Consider for yourself what is right and good and meaningful, and let those values guide your path. You’ll make some true friends along the way.”

However, for some reason, the adult characters seem to lack in terms of depth or character development. The adults tend to be a little too 2-dimensional and stereotypical for me, jumping to conclusions for the sake of pushing the story along, or being overly prejudiced. Adding depth and rationality would make the story more realistic and relatable, especially to a younger audience who expects adults to be the voices of reason and wisdom.

Overall, although the story doesn’t necessarily have the level of depth I would’ve liked to see, it was still a fantastic adventure! The overarching story is well-crafted, and the author should definitely be proud of this charming and exciting book! I eagerly look forward to the next installment in the Lleydrin Chronicles and plan to buy a copy of Lleydrin for my little brother to enjoy. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Content Warning: Use and Mild Glorification of Weapons; Violence (non-graphic). If it were a movie, it’d probably be rated PG, but as a book the verbal descriptions are pretty light.

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