After the destruction of their home planet Ajyin, the peaceful Numah race are captured by General Vega of the violent Olokun’s and taken to live on the planet’s moon of Neos. So begins “The Bane of Yoto” by Joshua ‘Josh’ Viola. Living in bondage, the Numahs are enslaved so that they can mine Aegis which is a material used to create a shield over the moon to help hide them all from the feared Arbitrators which are a god-like race of beings that disappeared ages ago. It is believed that the Arbitrators shed their physical forms to be able to transform themselves into a higher level of energy beings. One particular person, a witch named Lagaia knows the truth, and she has no intentions of sharing it with anyone.
Two brothers, Eon and Yoto, have their childhoods ended the night that they are forced to watch the brutal deaths of their parents in an arena that was created purely for the entertainment of the Olokun’s. Their friend Celeste, who has also won the heart of Yoto, is with them to witness this tragedy. Eon is the older and braver brother. As he grows into adulthood, he becomes the leader of a rebellion against the Olokun’s. Yoto, while fearful and timid, is also intelligent. He uses his wits to form alliances with the enemy so that he can sell drugs on the black market. Celeste becomes a healer and distances herself from Yoto because of her distaste for his actions.
Previously refusing to join Eon’s rebellion, Yoto suddenly involves himself to help rescue his brother when Eon is arrested during an uprising. The witch Lagaia has plans for Eon that involve him becoming very powerful with the magical strength of the Arbitrators which is hidden in a supposedly vanquished blade. Everybody wants the power from this blade including the insane General Vega and his favored son Cadoc. When the power is mistakenly given to Yoto, it transforms him into a giant of incredible strength. He now has Olokuns after him to try to steal back the blade so that they can harness its incredible power.
As the story progresses, Yoto has to find his inner strength so that he can stay alive and decide to do what is right. In spite of his disagreements with his brother, the two share an incredible bond that they need to help them overcome the trials that they have to face. Yoto must also turn his love for Celeste into a strength instead of something that weakens him. Time will tell which side is the most powerful.
“The Bane of Yoto” by Joshua Viola totally captured my attention. I hated having to put it down so I could do the mundane things in my world like eat, bathe and go to work. I really wanted to read it in one sitting. The author Josh Viola did an excellent job of holding my imagination captive. He also created some incredible characters that have both physical and mental obstacles to overcome. Writing the scenes in vivid detail really brings them to life. Fans of both fantasy and/or science fiction will love reading “The Bane of Yoto,” and, along with this reader, they will look forward to future adventures in the series.
The Bane of Yoto
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (9/12)