For years I had intended on reading the classic fantasies of J.R.R. Tolkien, but never did until a few months before the films were released. Then I was hooked. I had been a long-time sci-fi fan, but I still wondered how did I miss this genre? So I began seeking out more.
Of late, however, I have had a tougher time finding new fantasy authors that I enjoy. A couple of times I have, in the middle of a series, given up and moved on. These authors have created detailed worlds and epic adventures for sure. Yet they are afraid to let their stories breathe. They don’t want to leave any details to the readers’ imagination. So instead of the story drawing you in and propelling you along, it can be like slogging through a swamp. Time is too valuable to spend on such books and there are many others needing reading. Maybe it is the conditioning of the instant-everything-society, but the plodding style of writing is a dying breed.
It’s the story of Rowen Mar, who is learning she is not another average human in the Lands. Evil is rising and she is being called to make a choice, lead the fight or deny her gifts. In some ways a classic fantasy tale, but rather than focusing on a particular quest (finding this or that object), this one is more centered on the people finding what they were meant to be. The story quickly draws the reader in with just the right amount of detail to allow your mind to quickly form a vision of Busse’s world. It is not as heavy on the fantasy elements as other books and in this and other ways reminds me of Terry Goodkind’s stories. Fans of that series also may see a similarity in Goodkind’s Confessors and the reluctant Rowen’s abilities.
Busse’s story, though, is original in its world. Good and evil aren’t the vague ideas of many novels. There is something real and tangible behind both. I won’t give away any more details here, but this book should be on all fantasy fan’s read lists. The adventure moves quickly and readers will be waiting for the next volume, which the final pages of this one surely indicate is coming. In fact, this book seems almost a prologue to a much longer story. The characters are just beginning to realize who they are. Evil is still spreading through the countryside. They have yet to fully engage in the struggle.
The battle between Darkness and Light has only begun.