This debut fantasy novel features a band of rebels who desire justice for the poor lands surrounding an enriched capital city.
On the world of Prindell, beautiful Verdanspire City is wealthy beyond measure. It’s ruled by Lord Alos, who built it with the help of metalsmiths who can forge a special green steel into just about anything. But Chloe Faren, one young “spiresmith,” realizes that Lord Alos and his Legions have subjugated the surrounding lands, commandeering their resources, mines, and trade routes. She defects from her noble family to help the nearby villagers of Ravens’hilock create weapons and train to defend themselves. Meanwhile, the town of Black Twist Hollow has been cursed with high concentrations of dark energy that sicken its populace. A healer and expert in light energy named Bo Realis hopes to trace the curse to its root and eliminate it. Other talented heroes abound in Prindell, including archer Hader Deshinov of Fletcher’s Grove and Éielon Tarsen, a sword-scout from Resenwood. The latter has been tasked by her homeland’s Seer to find the Crosis Council, a secret group with the knowledge to beat back the vicious, land-hungry Legions of Lord Alos. It’s only a matter of time before these adventurers join forces. In this action-oriented debut, Alonge taps into the fun of role-playing game–style adventure by putting his characters through their questing and monster-hunting paces. As a result, readers encounter inventive beasts, such as Corca the Plague Phoenix and Narra, a ghoul of the Fate Woven Forest who “would pick the rotting flesh from his fingers, while playing with demented scenarios in his mind.” The plot proceeds in short, cleanly written episodes that rotate among characters in disparate locales, including Chloe’s mother, Verra, who walks the thin edge of being loyal to her rebel daughter while still being a member of the Verdanspire nobility. Readers may face a rocky path at times, however, because Alonge often groups multiple speakers together in single paragraphs; also, some phrases, such as “right a short two hundred word essay,” contain simple, avoidable mistakes.
An optimistic, straightforward fantasy that would have benefited from a stronger edit.