In this debut fantasy novel, a hunter and members of his tribe attempt to slay a monster that’s terrorizing their land.
After a gigantic, four-legged creature called a Preature wreaks havoc on the great Dahrk village, those who survive splinter off into different, sparring tribes. Aldra leads a hunting tribe called the Hahls, which is named after their god and distinguished by sacred masks. They’re struggling after the Preature killed several prominent hunters and many women. In a meeting with the village elders, Aldra suggests teaming up with neighboring tribes—the Dahrks and Furies—to defeat the Preature. The elders are resistant at first, but as the Preature continues to stalk the land, they finally task Aldra with reuniting the tribes. Supporting him on his quest are his son, Jackal; an oafish orphan named Sàid; and a rowdy young girl named Ilana—one of the few female members of the tribe who’s trying to become a hunter. Aldra and members of the older generation of Hahls train the younger ones as they prepare for a final showdown with the Preature. In this novel, Psaila presents an imaginative world that’s rich with potential. The action sequences are often riveting, and the fast pace will capture readers’ attention. Nevertheless, much of the prose feels dry and unpolished, and there are too many underdeveloped characters. Psaila often switches perspectives without transitions, which becomes problematic as he introduces more characters. The depiction of the Hahl culture also has overtones of sexism; the narration claims, for example, that there were not more female hunters because “the ones who did try normally couldn’t keep up, and they would quit over the pressure.”
An unevenly written novel with some promising elements.