Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Eye of the Moonrat (The Bowl of Souls #1) by Trevor H. Cooley Review

Hey Readers, Ethan here on this Wednesday afternoon to bring you one of many reviews to catch up on my days off! For this read, I was fortunate enough to briefly meet the author at UtopYA back in June and was so excited to meet another male author. While this type of read isn't my 'norm', I still took the plunge and am glad I did! On the chopping block this time? Eye of the Moonrat by Trevor H. Cooley. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:

Justan was raised on the outskirts of the Dremaldrian Battle Academy. He watched his father ascend the ranks within the academy to become one of the most respected warriors in the kingdom. The only thing he has ever wanted is to become an academy student and follow the path of his father. Unfortunately, only the best can enter the academy and Justan is a horrible fighter. Everyone tells him that he is more suited to scholarly work than swordplay. In desperation he hurls himself into training, eager to overcome the doubters and walk into the academy triumphant, unaware that secretive powers plot to disrupt his plans.

Meanwhile, an evil wizard of immense power is using magic to twist the bodies of the creatures of the land and transform them into monsters. With these creatures and the peoples of the wilds, he is building an army . . .

Ogres and dragons, warriors and wizards are destined to clash, their fates guided by The Bowl of Souls.


Trevor H. Cooley

I was born in South Carolina and have lived all around the United States. Utah, New Mexico, Michigan and Tennessee.

I started reading novels in second grade and my love of Fantasy started with Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain series. I couldn't get enough, continued with David Eddings, Tolkein, Robert Jordan. All I wanted was to become a published writer.

The characters and concepts that eventually became the Bowl of Souls series started in my teens. I wrote short stories, kept notebooks full of ideas, and generally dreamed about my world constantly. There were several attempts at starting a novel over the years.

Not long after I was married, my wife told me to stop talking about the story and write it down. Here I am, many years and rewrites and submissions and rejection letters later taking the plunge into self publishing.

My Thoughts:

Ogres? Wizards? Dragons? Rats? Ethan are you sure you're okay? Rest assured friends, this is Ethan and I am definitely not ill. As you guys well know, Ethan here is not a fan of high fantasy. I don't do ogres, I only recently became a fan of dragons, and any rodent that isn't my guinea pig and I are probably not going to be pals. But have you met Trevor Cooley? While I'm not here to say that I'm now the biggest fantasy fan on the planet, I am here to say with authors like Cooley, I may need to change my outlook on the genre!

In true One Guy's Guide to Good Reads fashion, let me get a few negatives out of the way first.

First off, this was a huge novel. This novel was nearly 400 pages, which is just fine, but I really think a whole lot of it could have been condensed. This is my biggest problem with this genre is that a lot of this are described to the point of overkill and the stories end up being phonebooks. It works out well for fans of the genre, but for casual readers such as myself it can be a little daunting to see those numbers.

Second, while in the end I enjoyed the story immensely, it took a long time for me to get there. The biggest reason it's taken me two months to get this novel finished and reviews is because it was rather difficult for me to wrap my mind around and to get into. As I stated before, it's a lot to take in. This is the very first novel in a long series (with each book being massive as well) so there was quite a lot of groundwork to lay (which Cooley did a fantastic job at). It is definitely a conflicting issue, but while in the end it worked out, it took a lot for me to get 'into' this tale. 

While I did mention that the story took a while for me to get into, the plot really hit the mark. The story picks up right from the beginning and hits the ground running. While there were several scenes that could have been condensed, overall, the plot line was fast-paced and complete. There were few plot holes and most all side plots were wrapped up to completion in this first installment, while leaving many questions to be answered in the remainder of this series. I can only imagine Cooley had one heck of a time laying out the intricate plotline to this series. Major kudos to him!

Guys. I can't even hardly speak about the characters in this novel. Why? There are SO many, I couldn't even begin to break it down. From Justan to Squirrel, Fist, Tamboor, magical creatures, and so many more, how is one to wrap their mind around it? I know I sure couldn't. One of the great parts about the story was that regardless of how many characters were involved, Cooley really did a fantastic job in keeping true to the fantasy-style of writing and devoting more attention to the plot and the setting and letting the characters speak for themselves. It's a bold move in writing, but when you have a cast of dozens, it's often the greatest course of action which Cooley chose to perfection. While the character development for our main cast was great, it really left me thinking about the development of the supporting cast. While the supporting cast doesn't get near the attention of the main one, the characters are still well-rounded and definitely worth a closer glance as everyone is not who they immediately appear to be!

In the end I found myself genuinely impressed by Cooley's imaginative and unique storytelling ability. Moonrat is clearly a work of passion as is evident on each and every page of this tome. Cooley has released several stories as of now and I am sure each are a unique and impressive as Moonrat. The ending of the story definitely leaves the reader wanting more so any fans of fantasy will be thrilled to know there is an entire Cooley-Literary World waiting for them out there. 

This all being said, I am granting Eye of the Moonrat by Trevor H. Cooley a well-deserved 4-star review. While fantasy is never going to take the top stop on my genre shelf, this was a great addition to my summer readathon regardless! I highly recommend this read to all fans of high-fantasy and to readers of YA and up. Add this one to your TBR today!


Alright readers, that's all I have for you on the topic of Eye of the Moonrat by Travor H. Cooley. If you're looking for a new fantasy series to satisfy your bookish mind, look no farther, this is the read for you! Thanks so much for stopping by. Until next time, Happy Reading!


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