I am reading a ton of self published fantasy this fall, thanks to some amazing indie authors that have reached out about their books. One such author was R.E. Palmer!
Song of Echoes reads like a classic fantasy. I’ve been in a huge slump recently toward all the character driven drivel and romance in new fantasy books. This book presented it’s world and told a story, one with inherent magic and two very different character points of view that don’t interact. It’s kind of what I love about self published work
Overall it was not perfect, but interesting and refreshing
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Song of Echoes
- Series: Song of Echoes, #1
- Author: R.E. Palmer
- Publisher & Release: FrontRunner Publications, 07/05/21
- Length: 434 pages
- Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 for classic, adult fantasy fans
Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
‘All that has gone before is woven into the Song; joy, sorrow; kind acts and cruel acts; creation and destruction. Past, present, and what has yet to come, make themselves known — if you know how to listen.’
For three hundred years, the people of the Five Realms have lived in relative peace, protected by their great leader, the Archon. Yet, far to the north, in the frozen lands beyond the Draegalen Trench, the Ruuk stir, driven by a rising evil, long believed banished from the world. But rumors questioning the Archon’s ability to defend the realms once more, persist.
Elodi, the Lady Harlyn, uneasy in her new role following the death of her father, and Toryn, a farmworker and outsider in his village, must discover a way to fight an enemy that all but defeated their ancestors.
The story starts with a legend, and then throws a lot of places and names and lore at the reader. It didn’t take long to figure out what areas were important to remember though, and once the story got started with Toryn and Elodi it was hard to put down. Who would know that maybe those old legends are true?
The world has inherent magic, but it isn’t really elaborated on or discussed at all until towards the end. There is also workable magic, presented as a handful of feared sorcerers with inherent abilities. The source is hinted at but will be further explored in later books.
The world seems like a geographically diverse continent, with forests and mountains and everything in between. I did like how the setting of each area shaped the characters and their personalities, as they should.
Elodi is the newish leader of her realm, gathered at the Archon’s keep with the other Lords to inspect the realms defenses. Toryn is a farmer, dying to see beyond the gates of his home region but unable to due to restrictions placed by the Archon on travel.
As we learn more about the politics, dangers, and impending war of the realm, everything starts to make sense and fall into place. There are multiple dangers to each border but the Archon is obsessed with only one enemy, totally ready to leave the rest of the realm to fend for itself on extremely limited men and resources.
I really ended up liking Elodi, she was brave as hell at the end and a credit to her title, leading her knights. Toryn had less of an impressive story arc but set himself up to be a bigger player in the next book. I actually liked that the storylines didn’t intersect, it’s a nice change from every author just shoving romance down my throat for the sake of it.
There are a lot of really good side characters too and Palmer doesn’t hold back from inserting some tragedy into the pages. There are some tough siege and battle scenes.
I think the physical descriptions and setting were my favorite aspect. The mountains and bridges form some amazing natural defenses, and everything sounds so majestic. Without being repetitive, Palmer brings each area and vista to life.
Theme wise … Honor, veteran pride, loyalty, found family, and the value in stories, are some of my favorites.
I think the down side was that the book got off to a slow start. It does take a bit to figure out who is who, who is important, and what regions we need to remember, but I think it’s worth it. I would have liked more from the inherent magic. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for book 2!
Shout out to the cover artist as well – Kentaro Kanamoto does some amazing fantasy artwork! http://www.kentarokanamoto.com/
Find the book online!