“Every waking hour, my mind widens until it can expand no more as I strive to understand the pain and the suffering of my beleaguered ancestors.”- Shadows of Northlands (Vishwesh Desai)
Well, I have to admit that I am a die hard lover of fantasy genre. The magic, adventure, intriguing characters and a different unique world which fantasy novels provide strongly attract me. Still, sadly I realised that I have read very few Indian authors in this genre and in this tryst I heard about this novel Shadows of Northlands by a young author Vishwesh Desai. Lady luck was strongly on my end because I won the review program of Tales Pensive and got a review copy for the same.
Author: Vishwesh Desai
No of pages: 512
Publisher: Estrade Publishers
About the book:
Empire is the greatest nation in the world with Salidar as its capital. The city has this wall which has protected it from time immemorial from enemies and bandits from the North. The city prides itself of the wall, their protector. There is some disturbing news coming up from the north, with villages being ravaged and burnt the attackers unknown. The prince wishes to know about these attackers and hence calls forth for Merin and Rikkard. Merin is a bounty hunter and Rikkard is a courtier. Both are powerful mages. Mage are people who know magic.
Merin and Rikkard together with a team of 2 more mages and 4 fighters travel to Northland to find out about these unknown attackers. As they see the destruction caused they are shocked. The heinous attack makes them question if these attacks are caused by people or some monster as the people vouch for. Unknown of what lies ahead and if the clues are true they continue in their endeavour to find the perpetrators of the gruesome attacks.
So is this attacker a monster or bandits? Will they be able to fight it? Is Salidar safe? Well, this story takes you down in that adventure along with Merin, Rikkard and others.
The writing is sharp and the author has been able to create a gripping tale. Where he has done well is in world building. He has been able to paint a beautiful tapestry of the entire empire, its magical system and governance. He has beautifully in the story gone back to past events which are pivotal to the current state of the nation. The plot of the story is gripping and an aura of suspense is there. Still, there were certain parts which I could guess easily.
What I found a little lacking was characterisation. While the characters of Merin and Rikkard are strongly developed, the other characters we know the bare minimum of. As a reader who is going on a journey with all of them, I wish to know more about them. Like Sorin and Drissan were characters I was very interested in but very less was revealed about them.
Shadows of Northlands catches your attention from the beginning and makes for a very good read. The book offers suspense, fantasy and an intriguing group of nations. Being a fantasy lover I liked the plot of this story and the world in which it is based in. The maps which are present in the book help you to get a better picture of the empire. I recommend this to all fantasy lovers.