Fantasy, with creatures and great sounding names, adventure, conflict and an enjoyable mix of olde world and something from the future we’ve yet to encounter.
Title: Summoner’s Dirge: The Last Canticle
Author: Evelyn Shepherd
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
Because of the strange tattoos that decorate his body, Damir Rosen has lived a secluded, quiet life on his farm outside of Canaan. But the peace and calm of his daily life is shaken when he finds a broken and half-dead man in his field. Taking a grave risk, Damir heals Balin and discovers a passion he never thought possible in the exotic stranger from another land.
On a mission to kill the king of Pheor when his airship crashes in the mountains, Balin grieves that he’ll die before he ever finishes the job. An unexpected angel—who glows with the strength of the stars—saves him, though, and now Balin must decide whether remain with the sensual man who brought him back from death or finish the job that could stop a war.
Tragedy strikes, forcing Balin and Damir onto the run. With the aid of a group of sky pirates, they begin a journey, one Damir only dreamed of ever taking. If Damir can overcome his grief, and learn to trust Balin, they may just be able to uncover the truth behind Damir’s healing powers, save the world, and each other in the process.
Buckle up, take a breath, relax and then…
His bones rattled inside his body, beating against flesh until it felt like they would turn to dust.
From the first paragraph, I could tell I was in for a feast of names of people and places that came from far off lands. I ate it up, YO. Normally, this type of story isn’t my first choice but I was sucked in and I’m glad I tried it. A trick for those of who are you like me and consider yourselves fantasy-lite readers: just roll along with it, kind of like reading Shakespeare – your brain will understand and interpret for you all on its own.
This fantasy world is set in a time that felt similar to “wagons west”, yet with airships, secrets, and twists and turns that kept me on my toes. Lightness and grit. Despair and healing. Wariness and curiosity. We get all of these and more right from the start with Balin, an assassin trying to leave that life behind after one last job, and Damir, a man with a special power the he himself doesn’t really understand.
These two meet rather early on in the story and they end up spending a lot of time together on Damir’s farm that he shares with his sister, and it has served as his place of self-imposed banishment due to that special power I mentioned. For me, we were in this idyllic location of wagon rides and sexing it up like bunnies in the moonlight for too long, even with the time jumps. It allowed for language that flirted heavily with flowery land, as well as what felt like that odd need some writers seem to feel to try and get overly inventive with words used to describe body parts and actions using those body parts. Despite this drag, those moonlight sexy times were hot.
Now, I must give you this directive if you do decide to read this book: stick with it! Once we get back to the action (in all ways), wow this one is FUN. The adrenaline rush from the opening paragraphs returns, along with many surprises and excellently described settings.
There is also heartbreak. This author knows how to do this very well. I bought it hook, line and sinker.
No one is innocent. Conflicts and roadblocks are dealt with in realistic ways. No cheating with the lame literary shortcuts. I really like how much Balin and Damir have to work on this relationship they’ve created, not knowing if they’ll make it, literally and figuratively. They struggle with acceptance, changes and themselves.
The cast of supporting characters are very well done. Damir’s younger sister, the crew of the Bahamut – it’s a toss-up between Zephyr and Israel as to who my favorite is – the nasty General and the townspeople, not to mention Elma and the various creatures that enjoy wreaking some havoc.
This author seems at her best when her main characters are working hard, for survival and for each other. Everything is more intense. Everything. She definitely goes grit better than fluff in this case.
Overall, her writing flows, it keeps things moving at a good clip, especially when that intensity spikes.
I could picture all of the different locations, feel the changes in climate, both physical and emotional, and I bought into both Balin and Damir. They and this adventure they find themselves hurtling through are all worth that slow start. Believe me. This is a fun read and I definitely recommend it. If we ever get a sequel? I will definitely read it. 🙂
I would like to thank LooseId for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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