In this fantasy adventure, the once great city of Ebora is on the verge of collapse, while the lands of Sarn live in the shadow of past battles against the Jure’lia. While on an exploratory expedition, Tormalin the Oathless and Vintage de Grazon cross paths with an escaped witch, Fell-Noon. The three travellers are quickly drawn into a conspiracy of magic and danger, running from the Winnowry, attempting to heal the dead tree god, Ysgrel, and racing against the clock before the imminent return of the worm people and their evil queen.
If that description sounds confusing to you, that would be because this is a fantasy novel of epic proportions. We are fully immersed in a fictional world of magic, war, and fantastic world-building. The general fantasy aspects are very enjoyable: fantastical beasts, fighting, blood-drinking but NOT vampires, and literal magic. It’s a very original fantasy world, filled with magical beings that I haven’t come across before (rather than the usual elves, dwarves, ghosts, etc).
I really liked the characters, and there’s a very mixed range of them. There’s quite a lot going on, with multiple different character threads, but all of them are integral to the story and fun to read. I especially loved Noon – she’s sassy, strong and damaged but not too tropey or predictable – and Vintage, who is a 40-something badass. It’s pretty unusual to have a female lead in her forties, and she was a really fresh and engaging character. The way she speaks was kind of annoying (a lot of “darling” and “my dear”) but it made her voice stand out above the other characters and made her much more memorable.
The plot itself was very good. It was a bit long and dragged at a few points, but none of it felt unnecessary to the story. Plus it is the first in a trilogy so the world-building and scene-setting is very important and so can be forgiven for it’s length.
I received a copy of this book from Headline in exchange for an honest review.