Ellie’s Journal
by M. E. Castanares
Writers Republic LLC

"'Druids and Elves were said to have a wealth of wisdom, and it was this wisdom they used to help those in need.'"

Emily Castle is a spirited young woman with a stubborn disposition and a big heart. Given the circumstances of her life, one might expect her to be forlorn. Her mother has recently gone missing and is presumed dead. Her father is unknown, and in his paternal place is Daniel Sangelos. Daniel is a man of means and mystery, but what many do not know about him is his true nature as a vampire. When a stranger named Evans contacts Daniel, the two learn of their shared link to Ellie, Emily’s mom, and Daniel’s partner. Evans has Ellie’s journal, which holds clues to her disappearance and opens the possibility to her still being alive somewhere. Along with Cy—tech expert, inventor, and Daniel’s confidant—the two men and Emily travel to England, the site of Ellie’s last known whereabouts.

Upon arriving, it becomes clear that they are too close to the truth, and danger seems to find them wherever they go. From a sabotaged horse to Evans’s repeated disappearances, every moment they spend in England without locating Ellie brings them one step closer to an untimely end. Eventually, the journal points Daniel, Cy, and Evans to a cave that houses the history of the elves and the druids and reveals the existence of the Medallion of Oris, a mystical item that can make its wearer immortal or return someone from the dead. Emily’s unknown father plays a crucial role in the plot, and his identity is a key piece to the puzzle, as is the threat of Gideon, a rival vampire who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the medallion.

This adventure tale is crammed full of action sequences and supernatural elements. It is enhanced by its strong core of central characters. Daniel’s superhuman abilities and weaknesses are often the catalysts that drive things forward, but Emily’s youthful spark keeps readers grounded in a more relatable drama. Things build up quickly, and the narrative is not overlong in explanation or worldbuilding, plunging the reader into the thick of things without overwhelming them with details or the unexplained. Striking the sweet spot in this regard, the story gives the audience plenty of questions without bogging them down in the details, allowing the story to unfold and entertain at a very natural rate. The combination of vampiric and elvish folklore creates an interesting blend that comes across as atmospherically enthralling but also ancient and forgotten to time.

The search for missing people and ancient relics makes this tale feel like a blend of fantasy action and an Indiana Jones film, with Daniel, Emily, and Cy racing to uncover the past while being pursued by a shadowy evil. That cinematic sense is best captured in action sequences featuring fighting vampires, burning buildings, and ancient obstacles that keep the reader quickly turning to the next event. With Daniel and Emily committing to plenty of heroic sacrifices in the name of protecting and preserving family, readers will quickly gravitate toward the protagonists and root for them almost immediately. The execution of the storytelling here is of superb quality, but what will certainly pull readers in the first place is the interesting settings and genre crossings that make up this story’s DNA.

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