Publisher: Holland Books
Publishing Date: July 2015
Publisher Description: All Jamie Pel wants is a quiet life in his demesne and someone to share it with. As the secondary heir—the spare—of the Magne of Pel, his uncle, he’s avoided the pomp and ritual other Magnes and their primary heirs seem to relish. But with talk of a nascent slave trade circulating in Gallia, the Magne of Pel recruits Jamie to join an observation mission to the Scour, the blasted, burned-out territory where people sell themselves into slavery to get out.
Review: I had my doubts going into this, mainly due to the prior fail in “Matcher Rules“. I am really glad I gave this one a shot, only because I liked the cover art. The character development coupled to the constant movement of the story line is fantastic. The scenes are descriptive enough to render vivid mental images and does not bludgeon you with minutia.
The only mild downer is that the world building is slightly compressed to fit the bounds of one novel. A shame really, as this could have been an epic series if Jamie’s travels were extended. I thought that once he was in the Scour he was going to be lost for months, trying to survive and finding lost magic and unlikely allies etc.
The sinister elements could have been built with more depth in order to weave a sense of foreboding into the story line. The evil characters were quickly revealed as to their intent and motivations and thereby lost a fair amount of impact. The Void and the Boundaries were never fully explored and developed. Stumbling into the Void and escaping then using the Aaber to navigate within the Void was just too easy and patterned.
Interweave the Void into the lost Magne of Pel and a rediscovered ancient magic within the Scour with a malignant evil and you got yourself an awesome novel. As it stands, a really well written and creative world.