In the mountain city of Eldore, it always rains. After the death of his lover, Myr is in hiding lest he be prosecuted and put to death for the crime. But living without his love is taking its toll. When Myr is discovered by Gavin, he tries to kills himself. Fortunately, Gavin wants to protect Myr, and gets him the help he needs. But despite that, Myr has to face the court and be returned to the man who once owned him. Myr only lives for his adopted daughter and does what he must in order to survive. But Myr is special, a Beloved with a rare form of magic. The magic is latent because it only grows with love, and Myr has had little of it in his life. But his magic is the key to freeing him from slavery again, and Misha—a wizard and Sentinel—does just that. Myr is reunited with his daughter and begins training. And then he learns this lover, Ryall, did not die after all. With the help of the god Cai—the same god who cursed the city on the mountain in the first place—the Ryall and Myr are reunited.
The king of Eldore is corrupt, and Gavin and Misha mean to work against him. They begin to gather those who are sympathetic to their cause, and bring back the Redeemers with Myr to lead them all. After five years of training, the Redeemers are well connected and well established. Under Myr’s leadership, the Redeemers are making change and freeing slaves, much to the king’s displeasure. The king wants Myr for his own purposes, but has failed to get his hands on him. With the Redeemers working underground against the king, and the king doing his best to thwart the Redeemers, progress is slow.
When the king steps up his campaign against the Redeemers, everything comes to a head. War is coming and there is no stopping it. As the battle rages, swords clashing, it is unclear who will come out the victor. But even as comrades to the rebellion fall, it is clear who will win. Change has finally come to Eldore.
A high fantasy tale was something I’d been looking for within this genre. And as such, this story fit the bill, though I did come away from reading the book with mixed feelings. I would have liked more detail, as there were times that I felt lost, but overall, this story brought forth a feeling of fantasy, intrigue, and change. But if my summary seems vague, it is because there is an awful lot going on in this story and, at times, without a lot of detail.
There are a whole host of characters within this book. While this worked well for the most part, there were times when I felt that there were too many. As main characters, Myr, Ryall, their daughter Quinn, and several others held down the narrative well. What Dalton did incredibly well here was give us unique and distinct characters, each with their own personalities and quirks. Myr was a classic broken hero who had a destiny that was yet untapped. In the beginning, his despair is palpable. He’s lost, desperate, and ready to give up. But as his circumstances changed, so did he. A large part of that is due to finding out his love is not dead. When he has Ryall back, he can be himself again. I did enjoy seeing his transformation. But the truth is, I didn’t feel that I got to know any of the multitude of characters very well. There were so many, and they each had a specific and necessary role to play. As much as I liked having each of them, I felt that, perhaps, there was a bit too much going on.
And that seems to be the theme throughout the story. There was so much going on, and all of it necessary, but it muddied things a bit for me. While reading, I often felt I was a little behind and scrambling to catch up. There were large sections that I felt could have benefitted from greater detail, just to help me understand. I had to take a lot of faith, and just accept the words on the page, in order to move through. What world building there was in this story was utterly fantastic, but I needed a bit more to be fully invested and I just didn’t get it. I’m a fan of Dalton’s and the author’s style. But in this case, I would have liked some more detail and not as many time jumps. It seemed, at times, important things were glossed over and left me confused.
That being said, if you’re looking for a true fantasy tale, I can still recommend this book. The intrigue and politics were well done, the characters interesting, and the outcome exactly as it should be for this type of story. Yes, I wanted a bit more from this story, but I still liked it and appreciate it for what it was.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.