Tuesday, April 12, 2016



About the Author:
(Taken from Amazon)

B R Sanders is a white, genderqueer writer who lives and works in Denver, CO, with their family and two cats. Outside of writing, B has worked as a research psychologist, a labor organizer and a K-12 public education data specialist.


Ariah's magical training has been interrupted. Forced to rely on a mentor, Dirva, who is not who he claims to be, and a teacher who is foreign and powerful, Ariah is drawn into a culture wholly different from the elven one that raised him. 

As his friendship with Dirva's brother blossoms into a surprising romance, and he slowly learns how to control the dangerous magic in his blood, life finally appears to be coming together for Ariah—but love and security are cut short by a tyrannical military empire bent on expanding its borders. 

War, betrayal, passion, and confusion follow Ariah as his perilous journey leads him beyond the walls of the Empire, and into unfamiliar territory within himself. Along the way, he’ll discover just how much he’s willing to give up to find his place in the world, and he’ll learn what it means to sacrifice himself for freedom—and for love. 


When I first started reading this, I thought I'd wind up giving it three stars.  There are some issues with repetition throughout the text, but for some reason it came across as more prevelant, and therefore more distracting, in the beginning of the novel.  For example, a description of characters was written like:

"They looked nothing alike.  I saw absolutely no family resemblance."

Many of the descriptions came across like this, and in the beginning, they felt unnecessary.

Also, there were descriptions that, if added, would have heightened my sense of immersion into the story.  For instance, I thought the main character was female for the first few pages.  I also had a great deal of trouble imagining the city and the train, so I went to default human buildings, which didn't seem to match the characters.

And then, as I continued reading, the rating in my mind went up one star.  Despite repetitious statements, the prose is smooth and easy to follow.  I was fully immersed at some places, and can still imagine these scenes vividly.

Along with these positives, I came across beautiful imagery and wordings, like:

"The sun sat low on the horizon, bloody and wounded."

"Black skin that drank in the light."

"The image of her profile silhouetted against the flickering orange light is burned into my mind, a fixed point in time.  It's one of those indelible memories that serves to organize a remembered life."

There is so much from this book that will stick with me.

The main focus of the story is not a villain or saving another person (the main character does get saved on many occasions, and on many more he saves others), but it's more about the character's growth.  The main character, Ariah, is prime and proper, unsure of himself, but as the book continues, he goes on many adventures and finds himself in the process.  In other words, the more Ariah experience, the more he realized what he did and did not like.

The author handles the character growth in a brilliant way.  Ariah isn't stuck in one place, learning who he is.  He travels all over the "country", lands in new settings, around different types of people, and it's these new experiences that causes him to look at the world a different way.  In many of these adventures, there is danger and that need to continue reading to find out what happens, but these things are not the focus of this novel.

In some ways, this reminded me of Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness.  There is an exploration of sexuality, and many of the characters come across as gender fluid

In the end, I wound up with a solid five stars on my mind.  I thoroughly enjoyed the journey Ariah went on, and when it was over, I felt overwhelming sadness.

Ariah's journey resonated with me on a personal level, and I loved that in the end he knew himself so well that he left comforts and took one final trip back to those he loved.

If you would like to find out more, please visit Amazon.

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