In Hudson’s fantasy novel, a 20-year-old royal attempts to change her hometown’s violent ways.
Traedis Atenel, the recently enthroned king of Tolin—a city-state known as the City of Assassins—has been deemed a traitor for recalling all assassins from duty, abolishing a 2,000-year-old tradition of bloodshed that’s embedded in the culture. Although this choice brings Traedis new allies outside Tolin’s walls, it places Traedis at odds with her own family. But, though she’s young, she’s far from helpless against the forces that amass against her reign. She’s a skilled bard and magician, empowered by the falmyros, the supernatural bond between a lord and their domain, and equipped with an ethereal harp of “dragon gold.” As the story unfolds, it’s not only through the use of her supernatural gifts, but also through her honor, empathy, and courage that Traedis demonstrates her ability to rule. She goes up against two powerful demons while struggling with her own troubled past. This is a complex story, replete with vivid imagery that will leave readers looking forward to the planned next entry in the series; for instance, one entity “shone with the luminosity of cave moss or deep-sea fish, a cold dead light reminiscent of something long buried.” Traedis is a dynamic heroine who will appeal to readers of all backgrounds, and she and other strong female characters have a sincerity and richness of personality that effectively brings them to life on the page. Although the story is consistently exciting, it’s seldom graphic in its content and thus will be appropriate for a range of audiences. It’s thoroughly steeped in fantasy elements, including mythical beasts, but also offers serious themes of duty, family, and justice. Overall, this novel offers an excellent blend of style and substance that will keep readers’ attention.
An engaging and imaginative fantasy tale.
Pub Date: yesterday
Page Count: 348
Publisher: Leaf Litter Press
Review Posted Online: yesterday
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021