The brave and pure of heart are recorded in scripture, to be sure, but so are the craven, the venal, and the foolhardy. No man is perfect. Rememeber, even the Warrior Angels were once brawlers, rogues, and thieves. One single man, even be he the reincarnation of one of the Five Warrior Angels, cannot be totally without blemish. Only the reincarnation of Laijon himself is to remain spotless of all stain.
So what’s the book about?
There is war in the land of the Five Islands. The ambitious prince of Sør Sevier – Aeros Raijael – leads his army of fanatics from island to island, bringing nothing but suffering to subjugate the believers of the ancient Laijons religion. Somewhere in the lands, the orphan boy Nail is hiding. On him rests the secret hope of salvation. Jovan, the eldest son of the fallen king, rules over Gul Kana, possessed by ever worse delusions. Desperately, his two sisters try to oppose him. Jondralyn learns the fine art of swordplay with all the hardships and torments, while Tala uncovers a secret that is capable of destroying not only the family, but the entire country. Can the kingdom survive both the dangers from within and the threat of Raijael’s new religion? And does the fate of young Nail have something to do with an ancient prophecy?
Why I wanted to read this series?
A long time ago, in a far away land, it was once possible to go into a bookstore and browse for all I cared, and so begins my story about this book 😀 Honestly, I bought the book at the time because I was so impressed by the German cover that I thought, if the cover is already so grandiose, then the content must be at least as good. In addition, I already knew that the book was going to be breathtaking, since the German publisher Hobbit Presse put it out and this publisher has never disappointed me before. Moreover, I bought the book, despite the fact that the blurb didn’t excite me at all and you can see from this example again that you shouldn’t get too hung up on the blurb, because it somehow doesn’t say anything about the book. In the meantime, I also own the English editions of the book and have now read it in the original language.
These aspects attracted me the most while reading.
- The book not only gives you a classic fantasy story that got us all into the genre back in the day, but is combined with new elements from the genre. Lord of the Rings, but also the Osten Ard series or many other classics has enchanted many fantasy readers and this book does exactly that. One is taken into an eerily beautiful world with different people, each harbouring a different culture and personality. Indeed, the world of the five islands is populated not only by humans, but also by other races, dwarves, orc-like Oghuls, and graceful Vallé, and there is a sea-dwelling race. However, this lovingly and detailed world is quickly destroyed by bloody and especially dark influences in the story, which nevertheless also brings a slight touch of the grimdark genre. Thus, blood, violence, death and other atrocities are a constant companion. At the same time, these two genres are combined so well that it comes together to form a unique whole.
- The war that reigns on the five islands is a war of faith, but also a war for power, revenge and fanaticism. Finally, in a fantasy book, which I find exceedingly appropriate in a medieval setting, I get different religions. Thereby the question of faith, which is like a kind of prophecy, is the main theme. Because just like in our world, there are different religions that all say the same thing, but are not entirely the same or interpreted differently. Thus intrigues arise against the other faiths to fulfill the prophecy. The characters rely so much on their faith that they can be influenced by it and partly do not make independent considerations, because the prophecy has predicted it so. In addition, that makes this prophecy more than exciting, because there are so many moments when you no longer know whether the prophecy will come true or not.
- Nail was written with so much dedication and detail that he is one of my favourite characters. He’s not a special guy, and his environment makes him feel that way all the time, but you can see how he grows and becomes more and more the person he was meant to be. The relationship that is built between Nail and the reader is unique, as you can relate to each of his actions – even if they sometimes don’t produce the happy ending you want. His loving, almost naive nature makes you want to be there for him and help him along the way. This way is strengthened by his interest in art, and if you know a little more about the author, who is also an artist, you can imagine that the author finds himself in Nail. Even if Nail always wants to do the right thing, in some situations he is a person with doubts and capable of making decisions that make him seem human, but also vulnerable and also vicious. Nail is simply the character that every story needs.
- The royal family, divided into the king, who is the eldest brother, and his two sisters, was so complex and intricate to read. Each of the siblings has a completely different personality, which is why it is not boring in this palace. Jovan turns out to be the gruesome ruler who is so fanatical about his faith in Laijons that he causes unrest even against his own family. Then there is Jondralyn, who, as is often the case with male heroes, wants to become a legend, but unfortunately was born into a woman’s body and now opposes the fantastic faith and its path of her brother’s prophecy. And finally yet importantly Tala, who I liked the best of this royal family despite her childlike nature, who actually has nothing to do with this religious war within the family and is dragged into it by lies and intrigues. Each of these three characters contributes its own individual part to create a complex work out of this classy story that puts fanaticism and intrigue even more in the foreground.
So what are my final thoughts about it?
The book combined exactly what makes a perfect story for me. The classic fantasy adorned with heroism, battles and matured people, which was then matured with the power hungry intrigue and hopelessness. In addition, the book is then combined with such an exciting religious war that this story becomes something quite unique. Each page was decorated with so many details and yet each page is so exciting that you just fly over the pages. Brian Lee Durfee has put so much love and dedication into the world that you can feel it while reading and get infected with this euphoria. Moreover, not only the world has received this devotion, but also each individual character in this book contributes its part to the story. Each character in this work has contributed its part to make the book even more exciting and this is not only about the main characters, but also every single secondary character was unique and essential to this story. Brian Lee Durfee has managed to build a world that is like an epic and I am already worried that this series will end. This book has made my reading heart beat faster and if you haven’t read it until now, you definitely should.
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