A Reaper of Stone
(Echoes of the Ascended Series)
Authors Mark Gelineau and Joe King
Publisher: Gelineau & King (September 2015)
Warning: A Reaper of Stone is highly addictive. Make room on your calendars, cancel appointments, find a dog sitter because, once you realize there are more novellas by Gelineau and King, you will not be able to physically stop yourself from reading them.
To say I’m very selective of my fantasy reading is a bit of an understatement. As is often the case nowadays, fantasy series are frequently sweeping epics with publication dates spanning years, if not decades (I’m looking squarely at you George R. R. Martin). With a cast of thousands and story arcs that are more intricate than a trigonometry class book written in Klingon, these epics demand my full attention so much so that I often forsake all other series in the hopes of not confusing plot-lines or characters. Then there are those epics that begin wonderfully, but after many years the writing declines and you merely stay along for the ride just to get a sense of fulfillment only to have the author pass away before the tale is finished. True story.
I received a request a few moths back from Mark Gelineau and Joe King to review their novella Best Left in the Shadows. At the time I was still wary of attempting to start another fantasy series (being currently embedded in a popular one) that I promised to promote their novel in my Astounding Authors feature and call it a day.
Later, while looking for a short novel to review while on vacation, I came across the novella A Reaper of Stone by Gelineau and King on the Net Galley site. (Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this novella in exchange for a fair and honest review.) The first thing I noticed was that it’s part of the Echoes of the Ascended world, as was Best Left in the Shadows. But it wasn’t until I read that the authors had a plan to publish a new novella each month set in the world of Aedaron that I came to realize the utter brilliance of these stories.
In the authors’ own words: “Echoes of the Ascended is a series of series. Each follows the lives of five orphans. Each features a different orphan. Each is a different kind of tale.”
A Reaper of Stone, centered around Elinor – strong, confident heroine who is a Reaper in the land of Aedaron – is mesmerizing. The old world has passed and the inhabitants of Aedaron have decided that the world must move on – all keeps of the old world must fall. But in doing so, they’ve lost their connection to the old gods, the old heroes. The world Gelineau and King created is deep and rich. They seem to draw from the best of fantasy: a dash of magic, a pinch of politics, and a whole lot of just waiting to be revealed history. Very much like a dealer, Gelineau and King are giving us just enough of this world to keep us hooked for the near future. No five year waits for the next novel. No complicated plot lines that require a wikipedia page. Just five stories published in a (for now) timely fashion. Just what I needed to keep my fantasy fix going strong.
A Reaper of Stone is suitable for young adult readers of fantasy and adults that are looking for an inventive, engrossing plot lines and captivating characters.
Next week I’ll continue the review with #2 in this particular series: Broken Banners. I definitely have more to say. Till then, I highly recommend CLICKING HERE and downloading A Reaper of Stone. Then, after reading it, forward this review to family and friends and get THEM to read Gelineau and King.
But when you find yourself skipping your favorite TV show, avoiding sleep or not walking the dog just to keep reading the next story, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Five Astounding Stars Out of Five Stars