By Alex Robins
Publisher: Bradypus Publishing
Print Length: 232
Release Year: 2021
Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.06
Available on Amazon
Over 400 years ago, twelve great warriors united the beleaguered armies of men and scoured the war-torn lands of evil, pushing the enemy back into the underground pits and caverns from whence they came. To ensure their legacy, each of the Twelve founded fortress monasteries to impart their unique knowledge of war and politics to a select few, the Knights of the Twelve.
But now the last of the Twelve have long since passed from history to legend and the Knights, their numbers dwindling, are harbouring a dark and terrible secret that must be protected at all costs.
Merad Reed has spent half his life guarding a great crater known as the Pit, yearning for some escape from the bleak monotony. Then the arrival of Aldarin, one of the few remaining Knights of the Twelve, sets off a chain of cataclysmic events that will change Reed forever.
To the north, Jelaïa del Arelium, heiress to the richest of the nine Baronies, must learn to navigate the swirling political currents of her father’s court if she hopes one day to take his place. But the flickering flames of ambition hide the shadow of an even greater threat.
And deep within the earth, something is stirring. (Goodreads)
I haven’t read epic fantasy in a hot minute and I’m glad to have reentered the genre through The Broken Heart of Arelium. Arelium proves to be an admirable debut for Robins, who definitely has the potential to do great things in the genre.
Of course, it goes without saying, this book does suffer from “first-book syndrome,” but, as I’ve previously said, that is not a bad thing. It simply means that the book had a lot to set up in regards to world-building and initial character development. Reading the book it’s evident that Robins has the world already existing fully in their head. The world is set up well, and the characters are introduced and set up in a fascinating manner. The character, in particular, make this book shine as they are thoroughly enjoyable companions on this journey. Besides the journey is just beginning, and– from the set-up– it looks like it’s going to be a great one.
The only thing that pulled me out of the story here and there was the dialogue between characters. For whatever reason, it didn’t always seem to fit the setting of the story. This I am holding as a primarily subjective complaint, as there was nothing wholly wrong with it and this was not a consistent issue. It didn’t stop me from reading the whole book after all.
I recommend this if you are a fan of epic fantasy, especially titles such as Game of Thrones. This book is also a great way to support our amazing community of independently published SFF authors.