Reviewer’s Notes: I received an autographed paperback copy of ‘Vastian Lore’ from a giveaway run by the author. I’m choosing to review it – all opinions expressed herein are my own. Thanks so much, Steph, for the beautiful book – I’ll treasure it always! 🙂
I’m also trying out a slightly different format for this book review, in the style of my friend Olivia’s book reviews, which you can find here. I tend to ramble, and her style is excellently concise.
<> <> <> <>
Title: Vastian Lore
Author: S.C. Gregory
Publishing Date: November 2015
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Description from the back cover:
Sometimes taking the job means betraying family…
Turns out, Norarl is fine with that, once he accepts his whole life has been a lie.
His half-sister wants him dead. His twin brother would be only too happy to help her succeed, but they also want more than just his murder.
Arius and Zadraal will do everything in their power to free an army whose sole purpose is to destroy all life not like their own.
The only problem?
To break the magical seal on the Gate of N’sumenel requires the sacrifice of an Earthbound Elemental.
The real test will be if Norarl cares enough about his new-found allies to fight alongside them.
I think that Vastian Lore is primarily a fantasy story, with Steampunk overtones. The Steampunk factor definitely adds a unique twist to this story, making it stand out among fantasy books. The characters were diverse, independent, and fascinating, especially the protagonist Norarl, whose past and present are particularly mysterious. The story is very dialogue-driven, with descriptions that give just enough room for my imagination to fill in the blanks. I like that this story isn’t explanation-heavy and instead lets the events themselves do the talking.
As my reading choices go, Vastian Lore is definitely on the darker, more mature side. I probably wouldn’t give this book to a ten year old in good conscience – perhaps an older teen, age 16+. There’s a lot of violence and gore, what with all the epic duels and literal back-stabbings that happen. It is also suggested that two villainous characters, half-siblings, are possibly involved in an incestuous relationship, but it’s left unclear if the accusation is true. When it comes to profanity, the worst I found was the occasional “damn” and “what in Hel’s name / what the Hel.” I find that at this point in my life, I’m pretty tolerant of made-up expletives, especially when they’re coined creatively. 🙂
I feel like Vastian Lore is a small slice from the middle of something much, much bigger. Something of Tolkienesque proportions. The beginning had me wondering about the backstories of the characters we meet, and I still had plenty of questions when the book ended. There are a lot of loose ends, but I think this was a great way to meet the characters and observe the setting. You’re thrown into a strange, new environment with a bunch of people you’ve never met before … and there’s danger. The first order of business is to get out of there alive, not find out how each character got there in the first place!
It looks like there are also some short stories preceding the events of Vastian Lore, and there’s a sequel novel, Wolf Born, in the works. Perhaps I’ll find the answers to my questions there. The world if Vastian Lore is fantastic, and I can’t wait to read the next chapter in Norarl’s adventure!
Vastian Lore and several other fantasy/steampunk stories from Ms. Gregory are available for purchase or download from Amazon.com. To learn more about its awesome author, check out her official website or her WordPress blog!