Progeny: The Children of The White Lions by R. T. Kaelin

In a matter of a few minutes, everything Nykalys and Kenders held dear is destroyed by an evil force.  In order to save themselves, they must run for their lives and leave all they knew behind, including their parents and their older brother Jak.   What follows is the journey Nikalys and Kenders set out on in order to learn the truth of what happened that day.

The Children of The White Lions
R.T. Kaelin
Terrene Press
November 2010

After the destruction of their home, Nykalys and Kenders set out on an epic journey.  It is imperative they remain hidden, as Kenders has magical capabilities in a world where magic has been outlawed.  As search for an answer, they are met with living legends, the likes of which neither sibling has never seen.   Creatures that only existed in myth are brought to life, all pitted against one another in a classic battle of good versus evil.

After reading the back cover of Kaelin’s Progeny, I was very anxious to get started!  The main story line hits you right from the start, and from there, things get…interesting.

I am going to attempt to avoid the path of other reviews I have read about Progeny that simply rank the book the way they do because it’s “too long.”  I’m not comfortable with that blanket assessment of why this book sometimes didn’t work for me.   Granted, it is long, but that is simply too generic a reason to score it down in any ranking system.

After the initial destruction, the book takes a downturn for me.  It really took me over 100 pages of plugging through to be able to get to a point where the story picked up.  I do have to qualify that by letting you know I am very much a story driven reader.  It is the progressive motion of a tale that keeps me intrigued.  The better the cliffhanger, the more likely I am to breeze through a book.   I think the trick here is to understand that the destruction of Nykalys’ and Kenders’ home is NOT the central point of this story.   It really is just a  catalyst used to start the journey that will lead them to knowledge of their true selves.  I entered the book with the idea that the siblings were going to be searching for the one responsible and that this would be a mystery throughout the story.  In reality, they are really searching for the WHY of it all, not the WHO (since you learn who did it in the chapter after their home is destroyed).

If you are driven by back story, history, and details, details, details, then you will love Progeny from start to finish.   I actually would liken this to The Lord of the Rings in its focus to detail and creation of the world and history that the characters inhabit.  I struggled through LOTR as I did Progeny, and I read them the same way:  skimming through some of the longer stories and histories to get back to the action.  I feel that this book is written with a specific reader in mind.  I simply am not that reader.

I will tell you that once I was reading sections that were more action driven, I was riveted.   The characters themselves, as well as most of their exchanges, were very well developed.  Kaelin weaves a tale about a group of people who are thrown together by fate and destiny.   His characters are in turns warm, kind, humorous, sarcastic, and, in the case of those on the evil side, down right frightening. Nundle quickly became one of my favorites.  On the opposite side, I am still unsure about the reasoning behind naming the horses and repeating those names over and over.  They weren’t talking horses and didn’t really add anything to the story, so that became a minor irritation for me.

I applaud Kaelin’s efforts to build a new world in his first novel.  Still, in the end, I fall solidly in the middle.  I would love to see where Nikalys and Kenders (and Nundle!) go from here.  I am just not sure that I would move it to the top of my to-be-read pile to find out.


Robin Gwaro is a founding book review blogger at and has generously supplied this review. She describes herself as “a woman just trying to keep it all together. Most days, I have the juggling act down! Others, I have the broom and dustpan handy to clean up the mess. My life is not always easy, it is not always neat, but it is always worth every minute!” Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.