Title: Pariah’s Lament
Author: Richie Billing
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: March 17th, 2021 (Of Metal and Magic Publishing)
Synopsis: When an attempt is made on the life of Ashara, Keeper of Yurr, his young, hapless advisor Edvar must uncover and stop those behind it. With enemies in the capital city and the belligerent Tesh, Keeper of neighboring kingdom Karrabar stirring trouble in the Borderlands, can Edvar hold together Ashara’s brittle reign?
The troubles ripple throughout Yurr, affecting an ancient race of people known as the Amast, who in their time of utmost need, turn to pariah Isy for salvation. Rejected by society, kith and kin, can Isy guide the Amast to safety during the greatest turmoil Yurr has known since the War of the Damned?
Thank you to the author for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Edvar, the youngest advisor to Ashara, the Keeper of Yurr, is charged with finding out who is behind the assassination attempt on the Keeper. Trouble is brewing and Edvar seems to be surrounded by enemies on all sides, with unrest in the city and the looming threat of war from the neighbouring kingdom of Karrabar, whose ruler, Tesh, has an old enemity with Ashara. On the other side of Yurr, an ancient race of people called the Amast who have been in hiding for many years are on the verge of starvation and in a last effort for survival, turn to social outcast Isy for help in taking their plea to the Keeper.
The world-building in this book is excellent – this is quite a complex world with a good amount of history, but it is presented in a manner that it never feels like an info dump. This was an interesting type of fantasy novel in that the typical fantasy elements are more subtle and the story instead concentrates on the politics and approaching war. Even towards the end, when I was almost sure that magic would make some kind of appearance, things took quite a different path. I’ve never seen this done before in fantasy and it was a nice change of pace.
I loved Isy’s character arc. She starts off as a pariah amongst her own people, unsure of herself and content to hide away with a book, but then grows over the course of the story into a strong and courageous figure. Edvar was also a really great character and his unyielding loyalty to the Keeper was admirable. The author did a very good job of giving us a glimpse of their thoughts throughout, emphasizing even more how the two of them worked past the fears that had held them back all their lives to save the very people who have shunned them for one reason or another. It’s clear how much effort the author has put into trying to develop the secondary characters, and while that didn’t work in all cases, it was a great try, and in Vil’s case, worked really well.
The only thing I didn’t enjoy was way the story was narrated – it was a bit confusing for me. Edvar and Isy’s POVs were quite distinctive and easy to follow, but when Tesh’s POV suddenly started showing up, interspersed with that of a Yurrish soldier, it started becoming confusing. Showing us Tesh’s motives was a good addition, I just feel like the POVs could have been more clearly indicated. I would also say that Pariah’s Lament felt like it was holding back at times. There were a lot of opportunities to take the plot down a more intricate route and this story and world has a lot more potential than what was used.
The ending was nicely done, tying off things perfectly after some battle scenes that were truly epic and the tension and anticipation was built up beautifully to that point. Overall, Pariah’s Lament was an enjoyable read. The story was perfectly paced and I was so wrapped up in the story, wanting to know how it was going to end that I read the entire thing in one go. I would highly recommend this book for any fantasy lovers and I’m looking forward to seeing more from this author in the future.
Pariah’s Lament releases on March 17th, 2021.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!