In Fence’s fantasy debut, a librarian protects a jewel from factions who seek its power while journeying across a world fraught with magic and mystery.
Lenna suffers through a dull day working at the library, waiting for a shipment of books from the magic-wielding Brotherhood. Her childhood friend Gilbert appears with his traveling companion, a young mage named Luc, and they ask for her help in a mission that could unify the land’s four nations. Lenna agrees to shelter the pair, but on their way to her home, a member of the Brotherhood attacks them, and they discover that Lenna has magic powers of her own. When Lenna’s father finds out about the encounter, he orders Lenna to travel with Gilbert and Luc, since the Brotherhood is now hunting them. Armed with her late mother’s dagger, she sets off to learn more about herself and her previously unknown abilities. Tragedy strikes when a mage attacks them, and Lenna is entrusted with a gemstone of mysterious power. Lenna’s travels take her to her mother’s homeland, the land of Freewomen, and finally to the city of Tranum near the border of the militaristic Krevlum Empire, where the truth of the gem’s power is finally revealed. This first installment of Lenna’s story doesn’t answer all questions; indeed, at the conclusion, her self-discovery is only just beginning. Fence writes in a tone that’s engaging and confident, and he crafts an intriguing world of shifting politics and magical elements. For fantasy fans, he delivers a wholly realized explanation for his world’s magic system. The characters who aid Lenna each have compelling back stories and effectively draw out Lenna’s strength and personality; at the story’s beginning, she was content to remain reclusive and ignorant of the struggles around her. At the book’s conclusion, Fence promises to expand his world’s scope and up the stakes for Lenna and her friends.
A promising first chapter in a new fantasy series that seamlessly weaves magic and politics.