Medley’s debut fantasy novel, the first in a series, tells the story of a prince and princess on a quest to restore justice to their land.
The sword-wielding Princess Sabine and her brother, Prince Westin, have the good luck to survive a massacre in their Kingdom of Whispering Wind, but their family wasn’t so lucky. As they set forth to learn the truth behind the slaughter, they discover that it was the work of their neighbor, King Samuel of Wellington, and his allies. They also learn that he’d specifically intended to kill Sabine, who is destined, per an ancient prophecy, to bring peace to the lands. She and Westin must struggle to survive through battles and intrigues as the ambitious Samuel unleashes dark forces against the royal siblings and the rest of the world. Worldbuilding is always a key element of genre fiction, and this novel draws from the standard fantasy-novel grab bag of cultures—Japanese names (such as Raiden) and Latin names (such as Sabine) exist side by side with names such as Blake and Camille, monotheism and implied polytheism coexist, and key characters have links to Merlin, despite no other connections to Arthurian legend. The author leaves much about the world purposefully vague, as it isn’t the novel’s main focus. However, readers may find this somewhat frustrating at times; the actual size and population of the kingdom seems a little amorphous, for example. The book is written from Sabine’s first-person perspective—a brave, unusual choice for the genre. It makes sense in the context of the story, however, which focuses mainly on the doings of royalty and their various realms. Sabine is a distinct personality, although her sensibilities sometimes seem a little odd; her nervous giggle at the book’s climax, for example, is somewhat off-putting. Overall, however, the prose is smoothly readable, although it features the usual genre conventions, such as capitalized improper nouns.
A sturdy fantasy tale that fans will find a reliable page-turner.