Thank you so much to Storytellers on Tour for letting me join the tour for this wonderful book! A gorgeous finished copy was provided in exchange for a feature and honest review.
- Title: Tuyo
- Series: Standalone?
- Author: Rachel Neumeier
- Publisher & Release: Indie – May, 2020
- Length: 410 pages
- Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 yes!
Here is the synopsis:
Raised a warrior in the harsh winter country, Ryo inGara has always been willing to die for his family and his tribe. When war erupts against the summer country, the prospect of death in battle seems imminent. But when his warleader leaves Ryo as a sacrifice — a tuyo — to die at the hands of their enemies, he faces a fate he never imagined.
Ryo’s captor, a lord of the summer country, may be an enemy . . . but far worse enemies are moving, with the current war nothing but the opening moves in a hidden game Ryo barely glimpses, a game in which all his people may be merely pawns. Suddenly Ryo finds his convictions overturned and his loyalties uncertain. Should he support the man who holds him prisoner, the only man who may be able to defeat their greater enemy? And even if he does, can he persuade his people to do the same?
This book literally ticked every box I can think of in an epic fantasy. Strong character arcs, detailed setting and world building, culture, enemies to friends, family bonds, political motivations, military strategy, and even one super snarky stallion.
Ryo is left as a sacrifice and ends up a captive, guest, translator, of the warlord for which he was left. Ryo experiences a massive amount of culture shock when he is thrown into life with the Lau. So much of the narrative is Ryo comparing the Lau to his Ugaro people, and it’s just an unbelievable character arc as he learns to judge men by their actions, not their birth. I loved the grand theme of overcoming cultural differences to fight larger enemies.
Aras, the Lau Warlord, is a great character too. He, in turn, isn’t familiar with many Ugaro customs, and it’s just a very character driven read as the two men, then two nations, learn about their common enemy and forge a working bond. The friendship bonds are even better!
The setting and world are closely detailed as well. From the frozen mountains and forests of the tribes to the summer lands of the Lau, I thought the author did a phenomenal job tying each group’s culture and legends into the climates that so define them. To quickly touch on the magic: think psychological warfare on steroids, with some light elemental skills as well.
One of my favorite aspects was how she went deep into cultural customs on both sides. The over politeness and certain rituals of the Ugaro tribes struck me as extremely well thought out, and the Lau had their own norms. Some of my favorite scenes were the great meetings towards the end, but part of that was how much I just loved Ryo’s family. Especially his father. I let out a few “HA”‘s courtesy of the family dialogue
Family and honor among friends played a huge role too. Without going into too much more detail, I will just say again in general that the relationships in the book are so intricately started and built upon, until the end result was something really special.
In short: I feel like I’m rambling and not doing the book justice at all. If you like strong families, culture, overcoming cultural biases, enemies to friends, setting and relationships, and magic throughout…. You need this book. I definitely plan on checking out the author’s works too.
I hope you’ll check out the other stops on the tour by visiting https://storytellersontour.online/2020/07/30/tour-schedule-tuyo-by-rachel-neumeier/ ! The author information and book links are available there as well!