by Ben Galley3 out of 5
“Magick ain’t pretty, it ain’t stars and sparkles. Magick is dirty. It’s rough. Raw. It’s blood and guts and vomit. You hear me?”
When Prime Lord Hark is found in a pool of his own blood on the steps of his halls, Tonmerion Hark finds his world not only turned upside down, but inside out. His father's last will and testament forces him west across the Iron Ocean, to the very brink of the Endless Land and all civilisation. They call it Wyoming.
This is a story of murder and family.
In the dusty frontier town of Fell Falls, there is no silverware, no servants, no plush velvet nor towering spires. Only dust, danger, and the railway. Tonmerion has only one friend to help him escape the torturous heat and unravel his father’s murder. A faerie named Rhin. A twelve-inch tall outcast of his own kind.
This is a story of blood and magick.
But there are darker things at work in Fell Falls, and not just the railwraiths or the savages. Secrets lurk in Tonmerion's bloodline. Secrets that will redefine this young Hark.
This is a story of the edge of the world.
After his father's death, Tonmerion Hark finds himself packaged off to the frontier, to live with an aunt he didn't know existed, and to find the secrets in his blood.
I got a free copy of this book from Galley's website.
This is a great blend of two genres, with the tension and struggles of a Western, and all the creative goodness of Fantasy.
I loved the world that Galley has created. It's an alternative history, set in the 1860's, with well thought-out twists on names and histories that make it entirely its own.
It all meshes together really well to give a strong background. Yes, the story may be about a teenage boy and a faerie, going to stay with Merion's aunt in America; but everything has bite (literally, in some cases).
The faeries are an ancient race, with a tendency for violence and foul language. They are as likely to stab you as anything else.
And Merion's Aunt Lilain has abandoned her upper-class upbringing to work with dead bodies on the edge of human society.
It's not fluffy, and there's the inevitable blood and gore that comes with Lilain's profession.
When Merion discovers the different types of magic, with the Shohari, and the Rushers, it feels real. There are rules, limitations and sometimes a price to pay.
Listing all the above, this is the sort of book that I normally love and blast through in a couple days (regardless of length); but on this occasion it's just not for me.
There are two main reasons for this:
I did not like Merion.
He is a spoiled, egotistical little lordling who spends most of his time moaning about his situation and doesn't show the slightest concern for those who are trying to help him (i.e. he's a dick to his Aunt Lilain).
I mean, I understand this, and expect it because he is the son of the Empire's Prime Lord. He has been raised as the only son of the most powerful man in Britain - that's got to come with a bit of an attitude. Of course he's ignorant to the plight and feelings of others, he is a thirteen year old who thinks he is the man.
The problem is that he is our main narrator, we cannot escape his voice. And most of the time he is either alone or with Rhin the faerie, not doing anything in particular; which means there are no other characters breaking up the monotonous cycle of Merion's selfish thoughts.
The second reason was that it just dragged out too long.
It started promisingly enough, they there were hundreds of pages of keeping secrets from Merion; training Merion; keeping Merion in check. As mentioned before, I don't like our main character. So inevitably, I was a little less interested in the stream of ungracious musings and... ugh, I just got irritated with the sections where nothing was happening and we have Merion-filler.
So overall, I would recommend grabbing a free copy and checking it out for yourself. I'm not in a rush to read the rest of Merion's trilogy, but I wouldn't mind other stories from this world.