Satis’ debut fantasy epic offers a multifaceted tale of darkness and flame, forgotten lands and vanished peoples, corrupt nobles and determined rebels.
The night that Brandyé Dui-Erâth was born, his home burned to the ground around him, killing his parents but leaving him mysteriously unharmed. Growing up with his grandfather Reuel Tolkaï, Brandyé becomes a village outcast, with a boy named Elven Dottery his only friend. As the two boys mature, they discover the vanity and dishonesty of the local nobles, and find themselves caught up in a growing rebellion. At one point, Brandyé observes: “I had no idea our world was one of such terrifying corruption. My grandfather has always spoken of terrible things outside of Consolation, but right here people are dying for nothing but greed!” But dissent is dangerous, doubly so when magical forces and prophetic dreams are involved. When a rescue plan goes horribly awry, Brandyé finds himself alone, without friends or allies. Because the powerful ruler Lord Garâth remains a ruthless and unforgiving man, Brandyé will need more than luck if he is to retain his freedom. He will face even more trouble if, as he suspects, the vengeful lord embraces the dark forces that are slowly encroaching on Consolation. To survive, will Brandyé have to journey beyond the borders of Consolation, into the wild lands ruled by Darkness and strange beasts? Brandyé is the sort of protagonist who is well drawn and competent, while still making understandable mistakes that drive the plot and his development. Unfortunately, that’s not always enough to propel the plot swiftly. Brandyé takes a very long time growing up. That said, Reuel and Elven and their relationships to Brandyé significantly enhance the long beginning of the novel, the first of a projected series. Reuel proves especially intriguing, for it is his stories and writings that sketch in the majority of the wider landscapes beyond their village. And the worldbuilding remains compelling enough to make one wish for more than the bits and bobs that come through, although it seems likely that a great deal more will be revealed about this wondrous realm in future installments.
A slow-moving saga about a beleaguered hero that has yet to catch fire, but shows glimmers of the rip-roaring yarn it could be.