The threat of war hangs over Kellar’s debut tale of epic destinies and humble beginnings, replete with dark powers and all-but-departed gods, sorcerer giants, and pious and impious men.
In ancient times, the Land of Landorim defeated the brutal tribes of Santor with the aid of the Lord of Destiny, last of the gods in the realm of Primian. Centuries have passed, however, and the men of Landorim have grown corrupt, faithless, and skeptical. But the dark powers that guide the Santorim people have not forgotten. They faithfully watch for a sign from their dark lord Zaketh that the time for revenge has come. That time, it seems, is now. A Santorim overlord named Elekshiem has come to power, and he will not hesitate to use dark powers and assassins to eliminate the opposition. Among his targets are two destined to oppose him, the Witch Princess Larissa and Sachin, a troubled though powerful young “adept” devoted to her. To survive, they will battle curses, dark powers, and the madness that infects those of mixed blood and great power. But if they prove victorious, love and happiness might be the rewards. The characters are so engaging, it’s difficult not to hope they win all this and more. Sachin’s story is particularly moving, as he deals with unjust persecution and struggles with complicated feelings for his father. The villains are a bit more problematic and less convincing. Elekshiem the overlord and Oni, a witch ally, tend to be scenery-chewing caricatures rather than characters in their own rights. The fairly standard high-fantasy plot is serviceable if not overly original, performing its function and giving characters plenty of room to live. Finally, the book would benefit from additional editing, since dropped commas and eggcorns are common, and the odd malapropism is jarring: “He was not a monster, a man without a conscious.”
Despite a few rough spots, this standard high fantasy will likely appeal to hard-core fans of the genre and admirers of “troubled youth” narratives.