Title: Tales of Atlantis: The Dawning of a New Age
Author: D.M. White
Publisher: D White Publishing
Publication date: March 20, 2022
One Sentence Summary: Alfred just wanted to complete a rowing competition across the Atlantic, and definitely didn’t count on washing up on Atlantis amid a power struggle.
Tales of Atlantis: The Dawning of a New Age offers a story chock full of Greek mythology. It’s grounded in myth and then takes it a step further and brings it forward in time to the present day. There’s a prophecy that looks like it’ll be fulfilled and siblings at war with each other for the right to rule the island. Sometimes it felt like there was too much going on, and sometimes some story lines felt like they were abandoned for more interesting ones, making the story feel uneven. Still, there’s a lot of set up here that can be useful for the next book, but I felt the world building was lacking as I couldn’t stop puzzling why Atlantis felt kind of stuck in time while the outside world managed to advance. Tales of Atlantis: The Dawning of a New Age, though, is fast-paced with plenty of action and some intrigue.
In the UK, Alfred and his old friend Shep are preparing for a rowing competition to Antigua. Alfred has thrown his whole self into it, but Shep seems to be running from something. In Atlantis, the high lord has suddenly died, leaving his Equality for All act up in the air and his two remaining children, Hestia and Attalus, vying for his position. With the abrupt arrival of Alfred and Shep, many fear a bard’s prophecy coming to pass, one that has the potential to rip Atlantis in half, especially when the high lord’s seat is in dispute.
I was quite excited to read Tales of Atlantis: The Dawning of a New Age. I’m a long-time fan of Greek mythology and have a long-standing fascination with Atlantis. I couldn’t pass this one up. I also really liked that the description hinted at a large, complex story with multiple characters and view points as big fantasies will always hold my heart. Tales of Atlantis did deliver on a large story with multiple characters and took a fun take on Greek mythology, but I kept getting the feeling there was both too much and not enough going on.
There are a number of characters who are given their own perspective: Alfred, Shep, Hestia, Attalus, the baker Kaspa, former trident Aliz, servant to the Paymaster Axil, a woman referred to as the Botanist, and tavern owner’s son Xee. There’s a lot to keep track of, but it’s not too difficult; it just made it feel like there was too much going on. The overall story felt either a little burdened or too short considering all the characters and their different story lines. I did find most of them to be quite interesting and different from each other, but some of them felt more absent from the story than the others. Overall, though, there wasn’t a lot of depth to any of them, though I did appreciate that they all had histories and motivations. Personally, I found Axil’s story to be the most interesting. I loved how conflicted he was and how he took things into his own hands, but also lived with some fear. The Botanist was also fascinating in a kind of scary way and I never want to meet her, but I found myself continually intrigued by her and wanting to see more of her. As for the other characters, they tended to feel more like they were playing a role assigned to them, but they didn’t necessarily feel like they worked well with who the character was supposed to be.
Since there are so many characters, I kept getting the impression that there was both too much going on and not enough. Specifically, it seemed story lines were woven in only when there was a significant event or plot point needed to move the story forward. The constant forward motion made the story flow by quickly, but part of me was screaming for it to slow down a little. There were sections where maybe two or three view points were followed while the rest were just somewhere operating in the background and then suddenly they would be woven in when there was something notable. There are a lot of stories, but, when taken separately, they all felt fairly simple with not as much as I would have liked going on with them. I would have loved the story to slow down a little and get a peek into what was going on between the major plot points, which I think would have also been great for character development. But the only one that felt really well woven in was Axil’s.
I did love the overall story of a person from the outside world coming in and upending everything as the high lord’s seat is in dispute. Atlantis, or Atalantea as it’s called, has been cut off from the world and a prophecy claims a middling from the outside world will appear to bring great change. There’s disagreement between the people of Atalantea as to whether the middling is a good or bad thing, and I can certainly see the rest of the story revolving around this and the effects of the people being at odds. In that way, Tales of Atlantis really set up the series well. There’s more to explore and more dangers around the corner. Then there’s also the story of all of this happening while the high lord’s two remaining children are bent on taking their father’s place. Until now, the seat has always gone to the eldest son, but the high lord had introduced an act to speed up equality for all, giving his daughter the opportunity to take his seat. But, of course, her brother doesn’t want that, bringing more divisions and unrest. Then there’s the ever-plotting Paymaster, a shadowy figure who seems to have deep pockets and lot of influence. His game is intriguing and forms a great foundation for the conflict between the brother and sister. It has all the makings for delightful political intrigue, but this story felt less interested in that and more on setting the stage. Overall, I wish the story had been slowed down and more meat had been added to make for a fully fleshed out, intricate story.
To me, the weakest part of Tales of Atlantis was the world building. I did love that it borrowed heavily from Greek mythology and I delighted in recognizing names from mythology, but I had a really hard time picturing the world. I assumed it was like I imagined Ancient Greece to be, but, other than a grand city, some small towns, forests, and a surrounding ocean, I really struggled to picture the world. I was also a little puzzled by what felt like ancient and modern times clashing. The book description claims the civilization to be advanced, but much of it just spoke Ancient Greece to me. I struggled to find the advancements, and all I could come up with was the equality act. There were some bits and pieces here and there that whispered modern, but I really struggled to find anything truly advanced. The act itself was interesting and felt like it should have been a natural progression that might have been further on it’s way considering the way the real world has advanced in that regard, though there’s still much work to be done. But women seemed to have some strong sources of power, opportunities that might not have been extended to them in ancient times, making the idea that only men can inherit power feel awkwardly archaic. The advancements felt uneven to me and I was left feeling like this was set in Ancient Greece, which also felt strange that a civilization wouldn’t advance past those times while the outside world managed to.
Tales of Atlantis: The Dawning of a New Age offers a story that makes excellent use of Greek mythology. The story lines are relatively easy to follow and the characters are similarly easy to remember. But it often felt like there was too much going on in such a short span. There are a lot of good things happening in this story, but I longed for some tightening here and expansion there. At times, I felt like some characters should have been cut out, but I also really enjoyed their story lines. Overall, this was a fun read though there were some scenes that tended to be more graphic than I would have liked. Still, there’s some excellent material provided and this book has laid a good foundation for the next.
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Thank you to the author, D.M. White, for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
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