I know in the past I've written a bit about the inherent duality in seeing something labeled as a "debut work". Do you read those words and foresee a fresh new writer to discover, or do you shy away and ponder that maybe that author still has a bit of polish and buffing yet to accomplish? I've always leaned more toward the former and when I heard some buzz around LibraryThing about a new fantasy novel hitting the scene I jumped at the chance to read and review it!
Nikalys and Kenders Isaac have lived a simple life as children of a farmer in the town of Yellow Mud. When a summer day leads them away from their village, they never predicted that it would also save their lives. From a distance, the two witness the magical destruction of their town - including their friends and family - by a mysterious elf and several robed figures. After watching the terrifying encounter, the two siblings flee. Magic has always been outlawed in their home, but even more startling than seeing it destroy their lives is the discovery of unique powers within themselves. Setting out to notify the authorities, Kenders and Nikalys soon cross paths with a giant of a man named Broedi. Possessing the rare talent of shapeshifting, he is a fortunate ally who holds the secrets to their past - as well as their future.For fans of the genre, Progeny is definitely THE book to read this year! (Or at least it is THE book to read while awaiting the immensely anticipated George R.R. Martin work, Dance with Dragons on July 12...) Available in paperback and recently released in Kindle format as well, I hope Progeny gains the popularity and readership that it most definitely deserves!
Progeny: The Children of the White Lions by R.T. Kaelin is a stunning work of epic fantasy. The story is wonderfully told and full of action and adventure. Along with the Isaac siblings and their large companion, the book is populated with well-developed characters. The story lines are beautifully woven together and each new multi-dimensional hero or villain that is introduced adds a new layer of perspective to the tale. These characters flourish in the the expansive fantasy landscape that Kaelin has created. A single village or kingdom is not enough to contain the story, so the setting is an entire nation with multiple terrains, laws, races, and cultures. Along with a pantheon of gods - good, neutral, and evil - the story refers to seasons, history, education, politics, ancient prophecy, customs, and legends of the land, all of which contribute to bringing the world to life. The universe also contains a richly detailed and unique system of magic. The system is built upon the concept of Strands - nine of them, each with a unique color and property - and those with a gift for magic wield it by weaving together the types of Strands they are able to use. Some users can control multiple types such as fire, air, water; some can only touch a few; others have no knowledge of magic at all; while some can sense it but not use it.
Cleverly conceived and expertly crafted, Kaelin demonstrates great talent as a writer with this work. The grand scale world-building, rarely seen in a debut novel, is on par with current greats of the genre such as Brandon Sanderson (Warbreaker) and Jim Butcher (Furies of Calderon). Though it nears seven hundred pages long, the epilogue comes far too soon; but the story holds great promise for future adventures in the series. Overall, Progeny is a fantastic book! It is appropriate for young adults or fans of high fantasy of any age. While it does tell a succinct story, it will definitely leave readers eagerly anticipating its sequel!