January 10, 2012

A compelling fantasy

The Witchlanders and the Baens have always been at odds. After the war, they retreated to their respective lands and kept to themselves. Now Mabis sees danger coming. An assassin is in the mountains. But Ryder’s convinced that her vision is clouded by maiden’s woe and that the casting of bones is false magic. The coven doesn’t even believe her. Then the village is attacked by men made of earth. And Ryder becomes haunted by strange dreams that are not his own. Meanwhile, a Baen named Falpian is having dreams too. It turns out that he and Ryder are talat-sa (twins in spirit). Together they must defeat a greater evil, expose a lie,and prevent another war.

A mysterious and challenging book; a bit different from many fantasies currently being published. The main characters are boys and there is no romance or quests to find missing persons. There is even less violence. Swordplay is kept to a minimum; Ryder and Falpian use song as weapons, making the final conflict much more suspenseful. The story also contains themes about coming-of-age, trust, and loyalty. An open ending suggests the possibility of a sequel. Well worth reading.

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