Book Review: The Final Decree
Reviewed by Alexandria Ducksworth
A wild, kick-you-in-the-teeth fantasy adventure
Shami Stovall’s The Final Decree is packed with action, emotional turmoil, and jaw-dropping secrets. The plot keeps readers on their toes; the characters are surprisingly multi-layered; the story takes place in a world with so much intriguing lore you’d wish you could visit the area. If you need a fantasy recommendation with dragons, legends, and ancient gods, this book is it.
Stovall opens The Final Decree with Artemis (short for Artemisia). The crazy powerful tyrant God-King Eliezer has cursed her. Anybody who defies the God-King’s laws eventually becomes a wild raging monster. Strangely enough, she hasn’t changed into one yet.
Running away from those trying to hunt her down, Osmund and his family welcome Artemis into their home. At first she feels safe, but she soon learns Osmund is a renowned monster hunter. Rylion, one of Osmund’s sons, reassures Artemis a single hair on her head wouldn’t be harmed unless she has transformed. He also promises he won’t turn her into the King’s Scourge. Eliezer’s top knight has no mercy for the cursed. He’d go to great lengths to hunt down Artemis and return her head to the king.
Artemis accompanies Rylion, Osmund, and the rest of the hunters to Mt. Regel to hunt a powerful cursed monster. Eventually, she and the hunters must confront Eliezer to stop his ruthless decrees and the curses. Hopefully Artemis will make it to the God-King before she transforms.
One of the many significant aspects of Stovall’s story is her characters. They wear many masks. Artemisia is your favored main heroine. However, her spurts of jealousy may have you questioning otherwise. When she develops deeper feelings for Rylion, her ugly side emerges whenever other females are close to him.
Meanwhile, Alexavier (the God-King’s Scourge) is not the perfect knight his kingdom perceives him to be. He, too, questions the king’s authority. And lastly, Rylion appears to be a good son and fighter with no issues at all. Yet, he carries a tragic wound preventing him from living a happily ever after with Artemisia if he wanted to.
Stovall makes it clear perfect characters make a dull story. Her characters make the story even more enjoyable. Artemisia and Rylion’s flaws are recognizable. They’re humans too.
Another attractive feature of The Final Decree is the world’s lore. Long ago, gods ruled the land. There was a god of temperance, falsehoods, wrath, and more. They all disappeared during a great war, but their descendants carried on their powers. Lore like this makes readers want to learn more about the world, similarly to J.R.R. Tolkien’s expansive Middle Earth.
Additionally, this book points out an interesting moral question: “What are the limits of power?” A kingdom looks up to its leader as a model of good moral character. However, in Eliezer’s case, power has turned him into an over-controlling & strict tyrant. Innocent people, like Thea, are cursed. Thea fails to follow the king’s decree even though she saves her mother from her abusive father: Who is wrong in this situation? I like how Stovall has readers thinking about this. What is right and what is wrong can lead to a fascinating grey area. Power can be good but terrible if in the wrong hands.
The Final Decree is well worth the read. It’s a definite page-turner and a fantasy favorite. Readers know they have fallen in love when it leaves an emotional hole in their chest; Stovall’s adventure is one of those books.
Genre: Fantasy / Adventure
Print Length: 448 pages
Thank you for reading Alexandria Ducksworth’s book review of The Final Decree by Shami Stovall! If you liked what you read, please spend some more time with us at the links below.