Generations of Tirawan kings have laid the groundwork for King Johahn. The peasants fear the Gohmdae people and everything connected to them. Their children play games of hunting them and burning them at the stake. His plan to wipe the Ghomdae out and take over their lands will be unquestioned.
The Ghomdae, wishing only for peace and to live life their own way, have kept their distance for generations. However, when reports of soldiers in the forest and on the Taarook plains start pouring in, they must send their own into the very heart of the danger to act as spies. After many years and many deaths, they find out what is going on.
To-Shora, second household to Crone Jeh-Gah, is one of these spies. During her mission, she is raped and has a child for each rape. Tar-Reesh, the eldest of these children, befriends the magistrate’s daughter, Winaiva, and grows up playing games of hunting and burning Gohmdae.
Tar-Reesh, ever seeking acceptance, and Winaiva, ever searching for freedom, are taught the truth and are forced to choose their part in the conflict. But will they be able to live with their choice? Will they win the war to keep the Ghomdae free? What are the roles of the dragons and elves? What, exactly, does Fate have in store for these two girls, these two peoples, this peninsula?
This is a debut work for this Author, and my spidey sense started twitching as soon as I read the summary of the book; not is a good way.
This was a very strange book that had me feeling it was the second instalment in a series. I even put it to one side to search and see if I had missed the beginning of this tale; but no, this is where it starts. Despite this, I thought it may be one of those rare books in a series, that is perfectly happy standing all alone and making its mark as a solo act as well as part of a series; again that was not to be the case. The Author had a great vision when writing this book, but for some reason it really didn’t translate well on to the page.
The characters, all of them throughout the book, seemed very underdeveloped to me and all spoke in the same formal manner, which made them very hard to separate from one another. They had no back-story to speak of, which again made it hard to relate to them in any way. Hence the feeling I had whilst reading this, of walking in halfway through a conversation and expecting to be able to successfully debate it. The protagonist was immediately on my ‘I really hope something despicable happens to you’ list, as they are arrogant, rigid and refuse to accept anyone else but they could possibly be right. The fact that this character provoked a response from me meant it was given at least a passing thought as to its development by the Author, as it managed to push all the right buttons when evoking that feeling of wanting to reach out and shake them. It is such a shame I felt I had missed out on their life story and why they were like this, I like characters to exhibit a few believable flaws instead of them expecting me to believe they could walk on water.
There were some wonderfully descriptive aspects to this book which, if they had been explored in more depth could really have gone a long way to helping the plot along. As it was they were dealt with in a rather perfunctory manner, as if they were of no import. The few snippets we had of this complex fantastical world were the kind that starts an image forming in the readers’ brain, but as it was coming into focus it was snatched away. This was the tone of the whole book for me; it was random and disjointed with bizarre little flashbacks happening that I had no clue as to where they came from, or what their purpose was.
This was a good fantasy read; that with a bit more tweaking and direction could become a great fantasy read. I would recommend it to lovers of this genre, but advise they go into not expecting an epic. If the Author decides to write a prequel to this, that started at the very beginning, and gave back-story to all the happenings in this novel, I would definitely read it before trying this book again as I feel it would give a lot more sense and meaning to the book I have just reviewed.