4 Star Reviews

Newest first

1st April 2012

What a wonderful surprise!

What a wonderful surprise! I thoroughly enjoyed venturing into this new, exciting, and dangerous world. The characters are well thought out and just downright likeable. You can't help but be swept away by the action and the emotion of this story. I will admit I am a bit above the target age range of 12-15, but found the book both held my attention and made me wish the sequel was ready to read. I will be eagerly awaiting Hexult 2 and praise the author for creating a world that is fun to get lost in. Give it a try, you'll be glad you did.

20th March 2012

Enjoyable story, bad science.

I really, really wanted to like this book.

I did find the story, characters and writing engaging and the story well paced. It was a enjoyable and the characters realistic.

Like most juvenile fiction it fails on several points.

Like the vast majority of new SF it fails it's reality check.

The story itself, is a coming-of-age story, but it's more fantasy than SF. This isn't unusual for juvenile fiction, since young adults (heck, even mature adults,) seldom find themselves in position to influence major events. It's a good story of dealing with loss, change and responsibility.

I enjoyed the story despite it's factual problems.

I'm a 'hard science' SF fan, and prefer the physical and social universe to be as accurate as possible (though I'm willing to let things wiggle a bit if it is necessary for the story.) Unfortunately, the inaccuracies were not necessary to the story.

But in juvenile fiction I especially dislike to see misinformation distributed as fact.

Thus the small technology introduced in the story is refreshingly accurate; fire-starters, compasses, signal towers (though why one would use a lodestone rather than a compass for navigation...and I would have gone with the cylinder/piston fire-starter rather than flint & steel...it's far less well known, and much easier to fabricate in areas with little metal and rock.)

Hard science errors are mostly really large background assumptions. This is especially tacky when Internet research is so effortless. The errors cover the gamut from geology, to hydrology to biology and psychology/sociology.

The biggest background errors relate to a poor understanding of the physics of water--a far from intuitive substance! First is the concept of the planetary ice all melting, and then refreezing thousands of meters thick, in particular while maintaining a surface over thousands of miles which would be suitable for ice boats. The amount of energy retained in liquid sea water, even at freezing, is difficult to imagine. The air could freeze and there would still be miles of liquid water under the ice.

([...]) tells you the requirements of weather to create ice suitable for boating. Deep water tends to freeze slowly, and generates pressure ridges as the expanding ice buckles. Any pictures of the Arctic ice sheet will show you that it is far to rugged to ice-boat. Ice-boating also requires moderate temperatures--below freezing, but above -10, both to ensure the survival of exposed crew skin and to permit runners to function. physics of ice skating

Still, such a surface COULD develop, it would require a major energy input after the freeze to remelt the air and top few meters of ice, A period of substantial solar radiation increase following a period of very low solar activity might cause such melt--which would then have to be followed by a quick freeze and then more moderate temperatures. Still, the story implies thousands of miles in all directions of near-perfect ice--unlikely. (An ice boat has no trouble reaching speeds of over 60mph, and with sustained winds as described, this would be easily maintained for 8-10 hours per day. 20 days * 10hr/day * 60/mph = 12,000 miles!)

Another 'freaky' ice fact which causes problems is the fact that water with the greatest density is a few degrees warmer than freezing. This means that the water in a puddle formed on an ice surface is warmer at the bottom than the top, since water absorbs sunlight better than ice, this means that such puddles tend to grow deeper over time. It's a major factor in glacial melt and movement. (Density is also a factor in skating.)

While it is certainly possible to have huge areas covered with water & ice (most of the planetary surface is already,) even melting ALL ice won't raise the oceans a huge amount (of course, if you happen to be inundated, any amount is probably more than you'd like.)

Most ice on land (the only melt which can affect sea levels,) is in Antarctica, with a substantially lessor amount in Greenland.

Total ice melt in Greenland would raise sea levels ~15m.

Antarctica is much larger and has thicker ice, but maximum total sea level rise predictions are under 200m, which leaves substantial land above water. (Actual levels are harder to predict because while rising, the seas also widen, covering a larger area...Google Maps has a layer available to show various sea level changes. Sea levels today are substantially higher than during the peaks of the ice ages.)

Geologically, geothermal energy melts the ice in contact with the earth, leading to, at the least, shoreline effects.

Wind and sun degrade the edges of any crevasses as substantial as described. Ice particles in wind will sculpt just as sand will...which also implies possible odd shapes in the rock.

Light towers using fire or mirrors have a limited range of under 100 miles.

At one point the runners are described as 'frozen into the ice due to the cabin heat.' More likely, they would settle in due to the weight on the runners.

There is a lot of concern shown about freezing to death, but people are extremely resilient, and assuming temperatures below freezing and above 0F it's not particularly difficult to stay warm enough to live. In fact, people lived naked in Tierra del Fuego at temperatures hovering around freezing. Oddly, there's little concern about frostbite, which is far more common. (A person who spent years of ice-sailing daily, would be likely to be missing some facial parts (ears, nose tip,) and possibly some digits...it's very easy to freeze moving at 60mph with even a slight bit of skin exposed.)

Most people who freeze die because they were unable to achieve any sort of shelter--most are drunk, most of the rest are simply ignorant of survival methods for the climate. The easiest way is to fall through ice into water and not have both shelter and fire available if you get out.

Biologically, there seems insufficient area and life to support the numbers of people and animals...but that's difficult to tell.

Sociologically, as is typical in juveniles, authorities are too readily persuaded by logic and obvious best interests--people are largely driven by emotions, and seldom act in their own best interests--especially long term. People generally go for the apparent short-term benefits. Few in authority will take an action unless they are convinced that it is their own idea--regardless of how good the plan may be....to think otherwise is to be overly hopeful and dreaming...but it is fantasy....

It is very unlikely that people living in the world described would not have established. navigational markers on the ice; and they would certainly have established warnings around such a dangerous crevasse--in particular if they were ignorant of compasses. Not to mention that sailing quite far from landmarks becomes fairly easy if one builds a line of marker cairns, each within the sight of two others.

Any such problems as raiders and the Horde would have, at the least, have been tracked down and their general if not specific hiding areas known--they do leave tracks, and at some point it's economically worth the time and risk.

On a smaller level, like most juvenile fiction this book almost totally avoids the aspect of life which occupies the vast majority of teenagers and young adults--sexuality. This is not 'part' of a teen's world--it's the center, from 13-14 to mid-20's it's difficult to get them to think about much of anything other than food & sex.

The idea that a pair of teens 15-18, in a society which considers them adults at 16 would live in a small ship's cabin for days on end together and not at some point get physical (if only sharing a bunk for warmth,) flies in the face of experience.

I enjoyed the book, and despite it's factual flaws, I recommend it solely because the story itself is good.

As a story it rates ***** but as SF it rates **

Charles Barnard

12th February 2012

Review by Madame Diotte

An original premise, good character development, and lots of action make this a truly enjoyable read! You will love getting to know Aulf, Ingar, Jacob, and Elya in this unusual adventure! Great for teens and adults alike!

4th January 2012

Review by killie81

"Hexult" by Perry Aylen is an enjoyable adventure story with the shadings of a post-apocalyptic and dystopian tone. It is firmly aimed at the earlier end of the young adults market although I believe that even younger children will also enjoy having this light and easy going story read to them. The genre of this story was am interesting aspect as I had to decide on if I would call this Science-Fiction or Fantasy. However, as the premise appears to imply the story is set in the Earth at an undefined future date I decided just to lean towards classing this as a Science-Fiction novel.

The story is set on a world where the temperature has dropped substantially and is now mainly covered in ice and people now use boats adapted to slide across the ice rather than sail upon water. On this world there is the land of Hexult which is a collection of islands that poke out of the ice, the islands are kept habitable thanks to the heating effects of various elements of geothermal activity.

When, Aulf a mailman and his crew member, Ingar discover a wreck on the ice they find two survivors, mysterious twins named Jacob and Elya who claim to have come from a land far across the frozen wasteland. These two youngsters have an understanding of science far beyond that of those on the islands and this science is soon mistaken for magic by a people who have forgotten much of the knowledge that may have been known in the past. Very soon, the twins find themselves the centre of fearsome prophecy and their attempts to save both their lives and reputation leads them on an adventure across the frozen wastes to all corners of the Hexult island chain.

I have to admit that I am well past the target age group for this novel but I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it as the plot was engaging and moved at a decent rate. The world that has been created by the author is imaginative and exciting although I will say that it was a shame that it felt like the surface has only just been scratched. I now hope that in the proposed sequel we get to uncover even more about this interesting place and the people who live there.

One element I really appreciated was the various utilisations of knowledge and technology thrown into the book regarding things such as compasses, steel, ice lenses, mirrors, etc. I can actually envision children reading this novel and then asking their parents or teachers more about the interesting elements contained. I myself actually went and read up a little bit more on steel production and its history after reading "Hexult". Any book that can inspire the search for more information and knowledge in either me or others is a great thing in my opinion.

I found the main characters to all be rather endearing and there was an innocence present that was quite nice to behold. It really helps to draws you in so that you actually care about them and wish them on to succeed in their various endeavours. However, it did feel like there was something lacking a little in the characters to make them feel fully rounded. Basically, the large amount of innocence present within the various people in the story meant that it was hard to see any other elements personality, especially in regards to charisma. Even some of the various leaders in the isles just seemed to be missing a spark that I would have expected to see. It doesn't spoil the story but it just meant that the characters feel slightly unreal to me.

Overall, this was an enjoyable and interesting adventure story that should appeal to most young readers. I fully intend to read it with my own children when they are old enough to understand it and hopefully it will inspire some interest in the science and technology utilised in the novel. If you are a younger reader who wants to read something different form the current trend in vampires, zombies, etc. then you should give this a try.

4th November 2011

There are several great descriptions of the story on here. I will add that it is a lovely epic for early teens. I have to add that I really enjoyed the story and it would make a good "chapter" book, as each chapter added something to the story. I look forward to seeing more written in the Hexult world.
Cindy Spangler

21st October 2011


This was an enjoyable read. The genre is only very loosely science fiction (I would hesitate to even call it as loosely). I would describe this as a YA fantasy adventure with suggestions of post apocalyptic and dystopian tones. Even though it wasn't the genre I was expecting, I enjoyed the story very much. I think this would be a great read for children as it should keep their attention but would also provide some very important lessons.

I was happy about the message but also pleased that the author created believable characters that were fairly well developed. It was also nice that the ending wasn't wrapped up in a nice tidy bow- yes the story took care of the bulk of loose ends but not specifically with an unrealistic "happy ever after".

How was this relatively short book able to encompass tones of dealing with politics, superstition, irrationality, science and prejudice all wrapped up in an adventure story? Well- to find out that I would recommend reading it.

Carol Brannigan

7th October 2011

Sample only - Extensive and atmospheric

I didn't know what I expected from the title and the cover (which, by the way, looks very good on the Kindle, as does the 'Part 1' image page), but it wasn't really this. The story is like an icy mixture of Mad Max, Waterworld, The Postman, Icelandic sagas and a few of Jules Verne's old Winter Amid the Ice type tales, but not really like any of them and better than most. It started off a little slowly, but by the time I finished the sample, I really wanted to read on, despite this not really being my favourite genre. I think kids aged 10-15 would love it, and many adults would give this 5 stars too. Very good.

Andrew Ives (Atur, France)

6th October 2011

when's the sequel out?

This story is great and I like the characters; Grim, the blacksmith, is my favourite and I also really like Elya and Isambard. The story is exciting with the raiders and interesting. Sailing on ice sounds cool. I like books that have more in a series too. E.E.M. age 10


3rd October 2011

Action, adventure and fantasy all rolled into one!

I love a good fantasty novel, especially as I'm one of those people who can imagine themselves in the places described in a book and I had no problems in doing so with this one. The text is so richly descriptive and highly imaginative that I found I could picture everything with clarity, from the Varja Crevasse and on to the wonderfully named Islands of Orking Do, Quayven and Pelago (among others!). With regards to this, perhaps the only issue I had with this novel was that there was a lot of new terms and places to absorb and at first I found myself struggling to take it all in, but by the time I was further into the novel and place names and people had been repeated I found that it had all sunk in, so much so that even with the huge gap in reading this book due to my broken kindle, I was able to remember names of places and people with ease when I went to finish it.

For those who love your adventure and magic (erm science, I mean) this is also an adventure story with a twist and I found myself laughing on occasion at the citizens of Hexult who, in the bigger part, drove me nuts with their superstitions, and I found myself wanting to yell at them all. One of the things that I quickly came to wonder was if the seas did rise and the world froze over and people forgot about science and common sense, would we go back to believing such things as magic, prophecy and judging people on such things? Or would we at least retain some of our knowledge? To me it would feel like a step backwards, but reading this book, it makes complete sense, because it would be quite easy in the absence of knowledge to revert to a very medieval attitude.

All that aside, the trips across the ice coupled with the fights, the raiding and the fantastical buildings that are created captured my imagination with ease and had my heart racing in some instances and I was left fascinated by some of the ideas and by the simple thought that it only takes a small group of people to change the world, even in the face of so much adversity and superstition. Character wise I loved the twins and how they dealt with the situation they were dropped into despite everything that was against them and I got rather attached to Aulf and Ingar too so I will definitely be reading the sequel to this to find out what happens next.

If your looking for something different to read give this a go, you won't be disappointed.

Magic of Reading (Canterbury)

24th September 2011

Are You Looking for a Book for Your Tween?

What a exciting change from the vampires and werewolves I have been reading lately. This book was a wonderful and entertaining adventure. Hexult is the story of two teens who are shipwrecked and saved. They are brought to a land where they are very different from the people around them. They are attacked verbally and physically due to fear and ignorance. The teens bring with them knowledge and information on how to build helpful items that are considered "magic".

I am always looking for a lesson learned and this story has a few. Perry expertly weaves in a lesson about predjudice. We learn along with the characters that just because someone or something is different doesn't make it "bad". Secondly, there were bits of science woven throughout the story. I found myself wanting to build an ice tower!

This story is aimed at ages 12-15 but I believe that it can be read aloud to younger children. Even adults will like it. Although it took me a chapter or two before I "got into" the story once I was in I didn't go to bed until I finished the book!

Wild About Reading

11th August 2011

This book has a very unique plot. I really liked this new world that the author created. The characters were also very unique and interesting.

At some points throughout the story, though, it was kind of hard to tell where the story was heading and what the purpose was, but the ending was great. I really hope this is part of a series.