bookshelves: 2011-read, 2011_5-stars, different-and-strange, fantasy_myths, fantasy_adventure_worldbuilding, magic_wide-range
Leaves of Dusk is the conclusion to Exiled Son. The two part series doesn’t have a name but neither book is a stand-alone.
There are so many great things about this dark fantasy that I struggle to find the right words. So I will break it down by what impressed me most.
A war is coming and the odds are not in favor of the good guys. The impossible struggle these characters faced to save their world is epic in and of itself. A dark force has risen to settle a score between long dead and forgotten gods. There is corruption in the land and the heart of the ruling class. The people suffer in fear rather free or surviving enslavement. There is a prophecy that the Exiled Son will be the key to saving the world while wielding a magical sword.
An epic journey requires epic world-building. The trick is doing it like the master pieces – Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Suffice to say, Exiled Son and Leaves of Dusk holds its own. I was awed by each forest, desert, cave, city, and stream. The people and creatures that lived beside them were so distinctive and original. I especially found Leaves of Dusk to be the stronger of the two as far as world-building based on the fact that the main characters spilt up thus expanding the scenes.
The main hero is Tallic Shawen if you look at it from the perspective of the first book and the prophecy. At least I did until Leaves of Dusk. In this final installment, the supporting cast of characters expanded with new heroes and gave much more dimension to those already introduced. A few must be mentioned such as Santeris, VonWhitager, Pestileras, and Iolore. There were a couple of non-human heros that won my respect as well – Steedwing and Spiritlit were flying reptiles/small dragons called Atrecans that saved the day more times than I can count. The Meagers were a race of short men that that spoke like pirates and had fingers that were just as sticky. They grew on me and I found their part in the journey gave me some needed comedy relief. I am just mentioning a few to provide a sense of the size of the cast and emphasis the need for many heroes to battle the SagreLin, an enemy I wouldn’t wish on any world. The SagreLin were pure evil and damn near indestructible.
I am very happy with myself for sticking with this series and reading Leaves of Dusk. I was going to skip it because I didn’t know it was already published. I was worried I would not remember all the characters from Exiled Son. I was also worried that I would not receive any reward after over 1000 or more pages. I wanted my payoff in an HEA. Well, I got the payoff and as I expected, the price was very high and was paid in ways I would never have foreseen. Going forward, this series will become part of the template I use to frame my definition of great fantasy. I feel absolutely comfortable putting this one on the same shelf as Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of the Necromancer, and the Warded Man. I recommend this series to lovers of epic fantasy who enjoy a large cast of characters, changing perspectives, and plenty of bloodshed. It’s not a pretty war when the time comes and it’s not a quick chapter trip in and out but it’s well worth every painful moment. I could give this no less than 5 stars because it was exceptional in every way that counts.
The plot was creative and filled with aspects of fantasy that I love such as worldbuilding, epic journeys, legends come to life, large scale battles, and friendship. The imperfections where not of the writer's making but my own personal taste. I did not like the heroine, for example. Some of the magic was too convenient, making and breaking heros as the story required versus what should have happened based on the parameters of the magic.
The story is edited quite well so I did not find myself slogging through long-winded scenes. Mr. White was very efficient in moving the story along at a comfortable pace while taking time to build this unusual world.
I hate cliffhangers even when I know they are coming. I thought I was going to skip the next one but have changed my mind since it's out and the characters are now in my blood. I knew I had to change my rating from 4 to 5 stars because of the fact that I can't stop thinking about this story. I highly recommend this book to those who love a little steampunk mixed in with major sword play in their dark fantasy.
¿Knights ¿ Dragons ¿ Beasts, Oh My!¿
Tallic and Dirlan struggle but lose their battle with the SangreLin army and are taken captive. We enter the collapsed entrance of the cave where we find his allies ¿ the band of the Forghonyi, Santeris, Von Whitager, Shad, and the love of his life, Iolore, bloodied and bruised. Von Whitager takes the torch and leads them down into the deep cave in search of Tallic and Iolore¿s infant son where he laid in the grips of the beast ¿ a beast capable of not only taking life but restoring it as well. Iolore stood looking upon the beast who had given life back to her precious infant son and listened as he muttered his last words, ¿In the autumn of this green world, leaves always show their brightest colors at the dusk of summer, when they are faced with the darkness of approaching winter. The leaves of this world are falling. Let your colors shine bright and true in these dark hours, my friends, the Leaves of Dusk.¿
While captive, Tallic has a wonderful vision of a past he had not lived, one without war and prejudice. However, he is quickly awakened by Dirlan¿s deathly screams. Tallic glared up at his captor, Clybanus, as he held his wounded friend in his arms. Beat and broken, Tallic does not waver in the fact that his destiny must be fulfilled, but he mourns at the thought of ¿ at whose expense.
Will Tallic be able to save himself and Dirlan from the band of evil tyrants? Will he be united with his love, Iolore, and their young infant? Will the band of Forghonyi cease to exist at the hands of wicked and vile beasts? Will those oppressed by the old SangreLin ever be freed?
Author, Mattius C. S. White, has managed to fulfill his reader¿s thirst for the utmost fantasy adventure in a magical realm full of colorful, descriptive, and unique characters. I feel I should apologize for not mentioning all of the essential characters in this well-rounded tale, as they are many, and each play a fundamental role. I can truly say that I have never read a fantasy saga that had such intensity ¿ one with a pivotal underlying message as such. Mr. White knows his genre and draws on his imagination to create a magnificent piece of literature ¿ and magnificent it is.
In conclusion, I give ¿The Leaves of Dusk¿ five stars for its uniqueness, well-defined characters and just all around joy to read.
Review by Barbara Watkins
In addition to the author having a truly rare and fantastic grasp of language and timing, the novel is filled with actions and sequences I have never encountered before. The creativity is seemingly endless, in the characters, events, and action sequences. As I read, I found myself constantly amazed. I kept asking over and over again, how can he keep coming up with such incredible ideas? I have read many novels, and I come across repeating storylines and design all the time, but there are so many concepts that I have never encountered before in this novel. I was truly awed with each new page. It was like opening a treasure chest, and it kept me hungry to read more.
The Exiled Son is well written. It is gramatically sound and the language is easy to read and follow without being juvenile. The author has a wonderful style for storytelling. Mr White's descriptions of both character and place are engaging and entertaining. They are thorough, appropriately likeable and entirely believable despite being fantasy. One needs only let the picture form in his mind to be transported into Tallic's world. Mr. White's timing and plot progression are remarkable: I didn't encounter a single "lull" where he was filling space to build to the next big thing. This mesmerizing flow made it difficult for me to set this story aside and I found myself reading well into the night despite early morning committments.
I wholeheartedly recommend The Exiled Son and can't wait to see what adventures Mr. White has in store for us. I am a fan for certain!
d.d. bellevue washington
Leading Lasech to the courtyard in the town square of SangreLin, several thousand followers wanting to see his blood shed throw rotten food, spitting and violently punching him as he passes by. Tied with leather straps to a pole, he endures hours of gruesome torture by the hands of the guards. Showing no fear and an abundance of courage, Lasech spit at the ground of his brother's feet. Pinned to the wooden pole, Yaernich fires the first of two arrows - lodging them deep into his brother's shoulder. The persecution proceeded when the guards led a horse directly behind him and stopped. Fastening the end of a chain to the horse, they took the other end engulfed with razors and inch long spikes, and wrapped it around the arrows connected to Lasech's shoulders. A cloaked figure emerged and lifted his hood. Lasech gasped with anguish as he recognized him as a former beloved student. Yaernich dropped his hand and the guard cracked the whip sending the horse into a gallop. Roaring applause could be heard from the crowd as Lasech's life drained from his tortured body.
The story moves forward to sixteen years later and introduces to the reader, Lasech's son, Tallic. Like his father, Tallic was courageous and heroic. However, he would soon face his own trial and tribulations. After saving the life of a young maiden in distress, he is taken into captivity. Threatening the life of his mother, he is made to fight to the death for his own life, as well as hers.
The reader takes a journey alongside Tallic, as he fights against beasts and evil men in a quest to abolish dictatorship.
The author's account of this era is quite astonishing as he utilizes a brilliant imagination in his writing. He creates a world so very different than we know, but at the same time - he incorporates the need we all have for equality and balance in our own lives, and the lives of others. I found this to be an extraordinary tale of fantasy mixed with an underlying absolute truth. Looking for a fresh new writer - Mattius C. S. White is your next upcoming new author in this genre!
Review by, Barbara Watkins - Allbooksreview