I read the first part of Over Odyssey: Yellow by Tony Carnival a few weeks ago, and was captivated by its warmth and sweetness; traits not normally associated with urban fantasy or post-apocalyptic works! I am currently reading the whole book, with an eye at posting a review in the future.
Then I heard from Joe Pagano, aka JC Page, a good friend who beat me to it. Joe has kindly agreed to share his own review here! So… take it, Joe!
Hi Nicholas, thanks for having me. As an avid reader and one who constantly looks for that next great read, I came across Over Odyssey: Yellow while perusing some amazon listings for kindle ebooks. Being eclectic in my reading tastes, I was grabbed by the plot summary and after reading a sample decided to plunge in. I ended up finishing the 600-plus page epic more quickly than I had anticipated, largely because the author has an uncanny way of taking the reader by the hand and leading him gently through the story, without any “reader strain“. The plot, intelligently crafted and extremely well written, had elements of touching romance, surprising twists and turns, unexpected outcomes, and a flavor that simply screams out “best-seller.”
Over Odyssey in its simplest form is the story of a troubled teen, Exodus Magaba, and is narrated by his younger brother, Leviticus, such narration occurring many years after the events of the story. After finishing the novel, I was able to dig up some information on the web on the author, Tony Carnival, and learned that this is the first of six epics recounting the story of this protagonist, the next to be Blue, and the succeeding four to be named by a different color of the rainbow.
The epic begins on the night of the thirteenth birthday of Exodus Magaba, in his home town of Marlboro, New Jersey, and the day before the family is moving to Staten Island, New York. Exodus, or more simply Ex, as he goes by in the story, finds himself distraught at the move, the recent loss of his beloved older sister, the abandonment by his father, and the dread at the start of a new life in a new school in a new town. On this night, Ex has an unexpected encounter with a mysterious man. This encounter reveals Ex’s supernatural destiny as an “Era Key,” the only one of his generation, who can move freely and mysteriously through time. And thus the magnificent epic unfolds.
Little by little, Ex begins to discover his mystical roots. With help from his mother’s chronodelias—fantastic flowers that let you watch memories as though watching TV and which port you through time as easily as walking through a door—Ex starts to piece together the truth of the mysterious man and the forgotten magical world of Odyssia, wherein lie both his and his family’s origins. After the move to Toronto Town in Staten Island, Ex meets street-tough Jared, who invites him to the debut of a new video game, which is the latest craze and sweeping across the country.
The whole of Ex’s life is opened up to him at the video game exhibition in Manhattan. There Ex and his group of zany friends have a “run-in” that defies explanation and here the author starts to concatenate the plot like a master weaver of exotic alpaca blankets. Because of events that occur (which will not be revealed here so as not to spoil the story), the group of friends is led on the “Great Escape,” which involves a chase that rivals the chase scene in the classic movie “The French Connection” in scope and thrills. Here fantasy in all its phantasmagorical elegance—and all its darkness in the form of the evil Malice monsters—comes through, raging like a storm-tossed sea on the stormiest of nights. Here we see creative and realistic writing at its best. In the car chase scene out of the city, in which Ex and his group of five friends are chased by the Malice monsters, we read:
“The terrific roar of ninety mile-per-hour swerving reverberated through the empty tunnel as the old pick-up spun around and around in complete circles. Jared fought desperately for control of the wheel; the Malice’s “crash-landing” had caused the vehicle to spin completely out of control, and there wasn’t an awful lot of room in that solid brick tunnel – a very loud and painful crash seemed inevitable. Thankfully there were collapsible guardrails on either side of the tunnel, but the twirling truck was now playing a human game of Ping-Pong with itself and those nauseated within it serving as the ball. Still, it was better than colliding with brick and beams of reinforced steel…
… schools of sparks flew into the air as the back tires grinded against the street pavement, the Malice’s hind legs mimicking Ryan’s as they dangled over the back edge of the soon-to-be demolished truck, its hind claws sending off their own share of sparks as they scratched against the road. The spinning had gotten so fast now that my brother felt he was caught in the center of a small but vicious tornado. Combined with the overdoses of fear and adrenaline that rocked his equilibrium more and more with each passing moment, a monstruous nausea congealed fast and furiously in the deepest pits of his stomach like a moldy bacteria… “
Yes, loads of chills and thrills at every moment. And if that was not enough, the story commingles moments of romantic tenderness that are described in a way that make them leap off the page and caress your entire soul. The whole story is written with a command of the English language which shows the author to be a maven, and yet without the “stiffness” that one might find in so clever and original a plot. All I could think of while reading was my past reaction to well-known classics that I have read and how they moved me so overwhelmingly—-certainly nothing that I was expecting from reading something in the genre of epic fantasy.
This novel will be found to be universally appealing and something for all ages and walks of life. The story has such a warm tone that—when not during the thrilling, rollercoaster ride sequences—you will feel a tenderness for the characters, so well are they developed, that you will fall in love with each and every one of them. Yes, in my humble opinion, I am predicting great things for this series of epic fantasy novels and expect to see Over Odyssey on the best-seller lists very soon. Read and enjoy. You will not be disappointed.
Check out Over Odyssey on Amazon!