The story is set on a breathtakingly beautiful planet that’s literally being destroyed by war, including a conflict between the planet’s two indigenous species, the Darracians and the Quyroos. Three interconnected storylines follow key characters: V’sair, a young Darracian king of mixed blood who’s determined to unite the races and save the planet; Zayden, his warrior brother; and Tulani, a Quyroos high priestess who’s also V’sair’s love interest. As the novel begins, all three heroes are in desperate straits: V’sair, jettisoned from a floating city, has fallen into the Hixom Sea. Zayden, a once proud Darracian prince, has been blinded and struggles to understand his significance in the world. Tulani, meanwhile, finds herself imprisoned and incapable of helping her people—and her planet—from being summarily wiped out by ignorant Darracians. Separately, they must all undergo painful journeys of self-discovery in order to end the bloodshed. This novel (and the trilogy) has numerous noteworthy aspects, including exceptional world building, impressive character development, nonstop action, jaw-dropping plot twists, and some powerful, profound themes (including “equality for all”). The criticisms are minor ones; the ultimate conclusion, for example, is a bit too predictable and one main character, Bobbien, speaks so much like Yoda (“Throw him in prison, they will”) that it becomes grating by the novel’s end. That said, the story’s blend of science fiction and fantasy is highly palatable, as is the old-school adventure fantasy undertone—comparable to classics such as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars saga and Jack L. Chalker’s Well of Souls series.
Readers of this well-crafted sci-fi epic will be left suitably satisfied, and hungry for more of the same.