Debut author Lewellyn-Hughes’ fantasy novel about a group of friends and their quest to escape a troubled land.
Welcome to the island nation of Merith, a place of strict rules, an active slave trade, and a violent past. Under the direction of Chancellor Ryhn, failure to obey the demands of the state can bring harsh consequences. With its own set of domestic spies known as Catalysts, the citizens of Merith must be ever wary. Four residents are desperate to escape: Rorry te Gwirion, a young woman of noble birth with “golden-orange locks”; Kylan Nock, a woodworker; Scarlett Hywel, the daughter of a “wandering foreigner” and a simple farmer; and Cord Sullivan, recently promoted to the rank of Catalyst. Leaving Merith, however, is no easy task. Will the foursome succeed in fending off deadly wolfkin and a host of other difficulties? Complete with magical creatures, like a golem, the story incorporates many familiar aspects of the genre. While details certainly play close to the expectations of fantasy, Merith’s many mysteries (who, after all, is this Chancellor and what sort of master plan does he have for his army?) keep readers in constant suspense. Certain sections grow repetitive; for instance, the heroes introduce themselves to one another, though their identities are already well-known to the reader. Likewise, the discussion about whether Cord can be trusted is as predictable as its conclusion. Still, despite the repetition and a high page count, Lewellyn-Hughes keeps readers needing to know more.
Some unnecessary rehashes, but the novel delivers a twisty adventure.