First Impression: Great title and cover although 600-some pages is daunting.
Characters: Kieko and Aiko are adolescents with typical teen problems. They hate each other out of fear and jealousy, yet strive towards a common goal. Their mentor is reminiscent of an old samurai warrior mixed with a Buddhist priest. I thought at any moment he would say, "patience, young grasshopper." Their relationships with family and each other were my favorite parts. The pieces that fell flat for me surrounded the character building of the evil enemies.
World Building: Set in the time of the fabled Atlantis, narrations by some wise and aged yet unknown lifeform interject the plot. We get to know the story of a previous generation, then focus for the remainder on Kieko's present. The descriptions of the temple and the Lemurian way of life paint an image of some remote untouched corner of the world.
Writing Style: Domenico is gifted with the ability to draw the reader into a story, even if it's not their typical preferred type of story. The details are reminiscent of Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series. At times however, I felt the dialogue a bit overdone. Shinsei and Keiko especially would benefit from variation.
What I Enjoyed: The relationships between all characters ring true and complex, which is not always easy to accomplish in the fantasy / sci-fi realm. Many of the action scenes are shocking yet realistic, which is appreciated in an adult series.
Deal Benders: Why were the Atlanteans attacking? Were they even the Atlanteans at this point? What is behind this evil force? What motivates them to kill and destroy with such force? I had way too many questions about the motives and the whole point of the antagonist throughout. I think if this is to be a 6-part series each installment could be condensed by removing uber-detailed depictions and lengthy conversations.
Overall Rating: 3.5 stars - An enjoyable read with a fresh premise. However, this first book does not warrant 616 pages.
For Fans Of: Kung Fu, The Karate Kid