Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe.
The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.
Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of the folk that were taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.
When Iwan and Ashael meet and she invites him to stay in Oak Cam, neither of them realise that she is the one the Zanthar seek. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on Ashael’s shoulders.
Although this book wasn’t in the genre I usually read, I really enjoyed it. KalaDene was so well-drawn, the characters were expertly crafted and the whole story was put together in a really engaging way.
I really enjoyed the human elements within this book. Ashael and Iwan’s struggles were very real and I found myself able to relate very easily to them. The pace throughout was excellent and I was thoroughly gripped as I read. The weight of responsibility on both Ashael and Iwan was clear throughout the book and I rooted for them to emerge triumphant at the end. Shona Kinsella makes it really easy for you to invest in the characters’ journey, especially with such a well-crafted world to lose yourself in.
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves well-drawn fantasy with excellent, relatable protagonists.
Shona Kinsella is a fantasy author who lives near the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, in the west of Scotland. She is a member of the British Fantasy Society where she writes reviews of indie books. Shona has a degree in Law from the University of Strathclyde where she learned a lot about narrative structure.; everyone loves a story.
Shona enjoys spending time outdoors and much of her writing is inspired by the environment that she lives in, at the edge of Scotland’s first national park. When she is not writing, she enjoys geocaching with her husband and children and reading as many books as she can get her hands on.
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