This year I’m going to host an Advent Book Calendar event, where Jen and me are going to pick one book every day until December 24th. Books we’ve read this year, and tell you why you should pick it up. You can check our progress in the Advent Book Calendar 2018 introduction post, where you can “open” the windows every day and find out what we have for your reading pleasure!
My pick for day 5 is Balam, Spring by Travis M Riddle. This was a TBRinder request and though I did have his other book on my radar to read, it could have taken me years to get around to this one at the rate I was going.
This was a lovely little slice of life mystery story, that follows a teacher, an ex-mercenary, and a newly hired mage, as they try to unravel the mystery surrounding the deaths and the coincidental arrival of creatures around town. This story has a special spot in my heart because I couldn’t help but feel like I was walking around the world map of a Final Fantasy game as we spoke to the townspeople, learned about their lives and explored. I’m making it sound boring, so I should add that part was only portion of the story and there was some pretty tense scenes and deaths.
“The cover says a lot about what you’re going to find in this story. It has a quaint, cozy mystery feel but it’s also somewhat of a love story and a tragedy. “
Balam is a sleepy town on the eastern coast of Atlua, surrounded by forest and sea. It’s a village where nothing happens and everybody knows each other. But now, people are dying. School is out for the spring, and schoolteacher Theodore Saen is ready to spend the next few months relaxing with his family. But when the town’s resident white mage falls ill and several townspeople begin to show similar symptoms, they must call on a new mage. Aava has freshly graduated from the nearby mage academy when she is swiftly hired to deduce the cause of the unknown illness and craft a cure before the entire town is afflicted. Aiding her is an ex-mercenary named Ryckert who keeps to himself but has grown bored with retirement and is itching for a new investigation when a suspicious young man appears in the local pub the same night the sickness begins to spread. On top of it all, whatever is causing the sickness seems to be attracting strange insectoid creatures from the surrounding woods, desecrating the bodies of the victims and tearing through anyone unlucky enough to cross their path. Theo, Aava, and Ryckert must come together to discover the cause of the illness and put a stop to it before there is nobody left alive in Balam.