Elevator Quest by Emmanuel M Arriaga is an interesting fantasy tale for young adult readers and fans of adventure. The elevator cable snaps and everyone in it is frightened, thinking they will end up dead. But something unusual happens: Tasha and the others who survive the accident find themselves in an alternate, strange world. The group composed of office workers finds themselves catapulted into an adventure no one asked for, discovering new weapons and facing vicious and dangerous creatures. Do they have what it takes to survive these challenges and ultimately return to their own world? Or, could it be that they are actually dead and on the path to another form of life? That is for the reader to find out.
I loved this book right from its very opening. Readers are introduced to characters who are going through their normal day until something suddenly goes wrong with the elevator. The humor is injected into the narrative right off the bat and I couldn’t help smiling and laughing at characters like Tasha and Arnold. Right in the heart of danger, instead of thinking about survival, Tasha shouts: “Oh Lord, I’m going to die a virgin.” The chapters are short and well-crafted with endings that literally compel the reader to turn to the next page. Emmanuel M Arriaga is good with dialogues and the writing features a compelling blend of well-crafted prose and intelligently written dialogues. The setting is the work of a great imagination. Elevator Quest is well-plotted and beautifully written, a fast-paced, pulsating story that is as suspenseful as it is entertaining.
This was like being on a roller coaster ride. As crazy as this is, every chapter had something unexpected. The premise caught my interest right away since I enjoy reading books with a unique concept. There is plenty of action in this book, and I do mean plenty.
The author crafted this world where unlikely office workers become heroes and come together to fight fantastical creatures from another dimension. You never know what will be around the next corner. The characters take on a life of their own. I would have liked a little more background on each of them, but I think this was meant to jump right into the thick of it all. Anything goes in this world. The question is, will they make it out alive? This will appeal to fantasy readers and those who love great fighting scenarios.
Reviewed by Janet of the GothicMoms Review Team
If the thought of Dwayne Johnson, accompanied by a United Nations cast of supporting characters, trapped in an alternate dimension and endowed with magical fighting abilities appeals, then ELEVATOR QUEST by Emmanuel M Arriaga will be right up your alley.
California author Emmanuel M Arriaga spent his early years in the inner city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, obsessed with fantasy and science fiction. Stepping out of low-income life, Emmanuel developed an interest in science, technology and engineering. He went on to graduate from Pennsylvania State University with a Master’s in Information Science, spent time in the financial industry before landing a job with Google in Silicon Valley. His debut novel was the 2015 FOUNDRA: THE RIFT WAR and now he publishes his second novel ELEVATOR QUEST. With a solid foundation of this sort it is no surprise that he is able to create integral science fiction and fantasy in the manner of the current infatuation with IT instant adventure.
Emmanuel kicks off his tale with the incident that proves to be the driver – and we meet Tasha, the finely painted lead character in this complex and satisfying novel. ‘Autumn sunshine painted the floor of the large lobby, the décor old but impressive. Crowds of people were hurrying to elevators, ready to start a day’s work. Arnold sighed as he walked through the double doors of the office building that had become his second home. His muscles were still sore from his heavy workout the night prior. Arnold subconsciously rubbed his arm, his gaze coming up to meet that of his personal assistant, Ann Richards. The older, brown-haired European woman was waiting for him at the entrance to the elevators. Without a word, she fell into step beside him. They hurried into a waiting, packed elevator. He buttoned the top button of his exquisite black suit as he glanced around at the other people, many of whom eyed the large African American curiously. He returned their stares with a broad smile. A young Brazilian woman looked up at him from near the elevator control panel. “What floor?” Her expectant gray eyes immediately caught Arnold’s attention. “Twenty-seventh floor please,” he said. Arnold presented her with a dashing smile, which she returned, blushing slightly. Pressing the button, she looked down toward the floor as the elevator doors closed. Tasha watched the whole scene from the back of the elevator, a low sigh escaping her lips. She glanced from Arnold to the Brazilian woman, her stomach tightening. Shaking her head, she muttered under her breath. The words weren’t clearly audible, but if someone had listened closely enough, they would have heard a short rant about black men and light-skinned women. Tasha glanced at her own reflection in the elevator wall. There was insecurity in her gaze. Her gaze lingered on her own dark brown skin. Tasha noticed a Japanese American man watching her from the other side of the elevator. Suddenly caught, he glanced toward the ceiling, feigning innocence. Letting out another sigh, Tasha pulled out her smartphone and turned up the volume to her earbuds. The elevator started to rapidly ascend.
Arnold leaned back against the wall. Thoughts of his busy schedule filled his mind. He would be giving a presentation to the CEO in an hour, and he felt that he was just steps away from being appointed the next managing director of his firm. A crackle of electricity could be heard from above. A few people glanced around, seeking reassurance. The lights in the elevator began to flicker. Gasps went up from throughout the packed metal box. “What in the world?” Glances of concern were exchanged. Arnold pushed through the crowd toward the control panel. The elevator began to slow before eventually coming to a stop. Arnold glanced up at the ceiling. The sounds of creaking cables caused his heart to skip a beat. Looking around with a controlled calm, his years of service in Iraq rushing back to the forefront of his mind, Arnold went into emergency mode. “Everyone remain still!” he shouted. His booming voice pulled the attention of everyone in the elevator. Tasha hit pause on her smartphone.’
And it is just that degree of characterization and creation of intrigue that fills ever page. The synopsis outline the story well – ‘When the elevator cable snaps, they all think they are going to die. Instead, Tasha and her office colleagues find themselves trapped in a fantasy world, the crash only the beginning of their problems as they fight for survival. But the mystery of what happened gnaws at them as they venture deeper into an adventure filled with monsters, mystical weapons, and deadly challenges.’
Strong writing with a subtle commentary on racial conflicts make this a successful novel. Grady Harp, March 18
Office life is the bane of many existences, and who hasn’t wished for the universe to throw them a magical curveball to save them from boredom? In Elevator Quest, a whimsical and creative novel by Emmanuel M. Arriaga, those wishes for an exciting escape are granted to a ragtag collection of corporate professionals who are transported from an elevator into a completely new and harrowing world.
Within the first few pages, readers are introduced to a dozen people facing the most terrifying experience of their lives – plummeting to their deaths in an elevator failure. However, the book doesn’t begin with a gruesome scene of carnage, and these unlikely adventurers instead emerge into a world of magic and danger. Using what impractical skills they can muster, the group must battle through a video game-like series of adventures and “baddies” that test their survival instincts and ability to work as a team.
What could have been a clunky and heavy-handed allegory for workplace cohesion becomes a riveting and quirky novel with tongue-in-cheek jokes and enough laugh-out-loud moments to keep the mood perpetually light. Like a party of first-time players in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, the characters fumble their way through one hazard after another, desperate to survive, but also increasingly suspicious of what brought them to this new world, and why.
Certain characters, such as Arnold and Tasha, rise to the occasion, becoming the informal leaders of this harried troupe, becoming the focal point of the action. Arriaga does an excellent job of driving the plot with strong female characters and isn’t afraid of tackling more complex issues of gender and race. Remarkably, the novel unpacks intense problems of human nature in the midst of a surreal and unpredictable world, which Arriaga handles admirably.
Mostly, the novel is an entertaining glimpse into ordinary people thrust into fantastic surroundings, in a way that is immediately recognizable and accessible, despite the fantastical elements. Readers can recognize many of the characters and behavioral tropes, and the modern-day details blended with supernatural settings is particularly entertaining. Trading in smartphones for battle axes, this unique group of anti-heroes represent a compelling and dynamic crew that carries this gem of a story, while the author’s technical skills glue the haphazard pieces together.
Any writer who spends as much time on description as Arriaga should have a knack for it, and his approach is idiosyncratic and powerful. Masterfully avoiding the cliché of telling, rather than showing, readers are forcibly sucked into this vivid realm, adventuring right alongside these cubicle denizens. At times the visceral details are so prevalent that they can become slightly numbing, and some of the action scenes drag on a bit too long, but Arriaga injects enough mystery between the mayhem to keep readers intrigued.
As the book plays out, and it becomes more and more apparent that something fishy is going on in this mystical universe, the action genre bleeds into the mystery and thriller niche, which is an unpredictable and pleasant shift. Don’t let the pulp nature of Elevator Quest fool you: this is a multi-layered fantasy novel with far more going on between the lines than you could ever expect.
I don’t think we’re in the office building anymore, Arnold!
What can I say about this book except, Wow…. just Wow.
An elevator full of people who work together in an office building plummet and find themselves? Where? Is this Hell? Some kind of Game? A part of the building we’ve never seen? They all must work together to fight and escape or die trying.
““Is this hell? Maybe, but who knows for sure? What I do know is that there is a path ahead of us. We can choose to take that path and see where it leads,” Arnold motioned towards the patch, “or we can sit here and die.” Moving back to pick up the crest on the ground before picking it up and tossing it to Jiro, who caught it and slid it into his pocket. “I, for one, refuse to die here.”
They each come across a weapon that calls out to them: the rogue, the black mage, the healer, the monk, the berserker, etc. taking on RPG (role playing game) roles like they are within a live game (with deadly consequences) and acquiring skills they didn’t know that they had. Working through the levels they must defeat the monsters and bosses they meet in this hellish place in which they find themselves.
I had a love hate relationship with this book. While it was an amazing story, it was a little confusing having about 14 characters from the beginning all doing things at once. It was a long time before you really got to know any of the characters with any real depth as well because there were just too many of them. The fight scenes seemed jumbled because there was just too much going on at once to follow everything, and there were SO MANY fight scenes that the book almost became exhausting, BUT WHAT A RIDE!
I will warn you readers now… don’t become too attached to any characters! You may have a rude awakening if you do! This story is definitely for those who can handle things like “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” There are many twists and turns and it’s definitely not a “And they all lived happily ever after” sort of novel. Which, I actually loved! It is a great thrilling read, I highly recommend it. I would have given it 5 stars if it was just a little better organised and edited!
Released on Feb 6 2018 it’s something everyone should be putting on their TBR list!!
Elevator Quest is a Finalist in the category of Young Adult - Action & Young Adult - Adventure in the 2020 TopShelf Book Awards!
Readers' Favorite recognizes "Elevator Quest" by Emmanuel M Arriaga in its annual international book award contest, currently available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077CL8CFN.
The Readers' Favorite International Book Award Contest featured thousands of contestants from over a dozen countries, ranging from new independent authors to NYT best-sellers and celebrities.
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We receive thousands of entries from all over the world. Because of these large submission numbers, we are able to break down our contest into 140+ genres, and each genre is judged separately, ensuring that books only compete against books of their same genre for a fairer and more accurate competition. We receive submissions from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants such as Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times bestsellers like J.A. Jance, James Rollins, and #1 best-selling author Daniel Silva, as well as celebrity authors like Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty), Henry Winkler (Happy Days), and Eriq La Salle (E.R., Coming to America).
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Readers' Favorite is proud to announce that "Elevator Quest" by Emmanuel M Arriaga won the Bronze Medal in the Young Adult - Action category.
You can learn more about Emmanuel M Arriaga and "Elevator Quest" at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/elevator-quest where you can read reviews and the author’s biography, as well as connect with the author directly or through their website and social media pages.
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What can you tell us about your new release, Elevator Quest?
Elevator Quest is an action packaged homage to D&D style fantasy with a modern twist. It’s a story of survival, highlighting leadership and teamwork with real people in impossible situations.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I fell in love with the Dragonlance and Legend of Drizzt series many years ago. Those fantasy adventures helped fuel my vivid imagination. This imagination spills over into my dreams and leads to extremely detailed stories that I write down as soon as I wake up. It’s from these dreams that I began crafting my own novels. I also owe my passion for reading to my mother. It’s from her reading to me from a very early age that I’ve gotten to where I am today. This is why I’ve dedicated this novel to her.
What fictional literary world would you most like to visit?
You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited?
RA Salvatore because he’s my favorite author. JK Rowling because I think she’s an awesome person. And Richard Knaak because he’s written some of my favorite lore with the Warcraft and Diablo franchises.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
When I get into a hyper focused flow state, my creative energies in full swing. Those are some of my favorite moments and when I think I do my best work.
BAM. You’re a superhero. What’s your superpower?
Whatever it is Doctor Manhattan’s superpower is from the Watchman series. Ability to fully manipulate atoms at a subatomic level? I think that pretty much wins them all.
What scene in Elevator Quest was your favorite to write?
Not to give anything away, but there is a later scene in the novel where the team is face to face with one of the most intimidating and calculating monsters they have ever faced. That whole set of dialogue and encounter gave me goosebumps. That whole section is probably my favorite theme in the novel.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”