Jen reviews The Nameless and the Fallen, the second book in Scott Kaelen‘s Dark Fantasy series, The Fractured Tapestry.
Thank you to the author Scott Kaelen, for the ARC, apologies for the delay in reviewing.
|Series: The Fractured Tapestry #2||Genre: genre mash fantasy/d&d/Post apocalyptic|
|Date of Publishing: March 29, 2021||Trigger Warnings: death, gore, monsters|
|Page count: 482||Publisher: self-published|
Widespread madness, rampaging monsters and the reckless choices of monarchs all stem from a pall that has descended upon Verragos. In the midst of chaos and looming war, disparate travellers confront their own nightmares as they become embroiled in the fray of nations. Their best hope is the exposure of incredible truths from an ancient facade of lies, but is civilisation ready to pay the high cost of survival?
Wren, exiled from his home in the icy north as a scapegoat for a horrific massacre, begins to suspect that an insidious influence is behind the growing slew of psychotic events. To uncover the source of the threat, he must enlist the help of an old and distant friend – the only living entity aware of his bitter and brutal past.
Oriken, a beleaguered sellsword, narrowly escapes death by the intervention of a mysterious woman. In gratitude for her timely arrival, he vows to help her vanquish her demons of a lost identity and a burning urge to find the owner of the one name she remembers. Haunted by the echo of a dead friend, he ventures into foreign and hostile climes and soon comes to realise that a dangerous identity may lurk beneath the trauma of the stranger at his side.
“The scrapes of the arachnid’s legs was like a fast-approaching avalanche, drowning out the running footfalls of his companions. He risked a glance over his shoulder. The creatures swarmed over the sandstone, at least a thousand of them and spreading, the cacophony of their clicking legs deafening upon the hard rocks. Though still distant, they were gaining ground with alarming speed.”
Trouble’s Coming by Royal Blood
This went in a whole direction that I wasn’t expecting and it has taken me a while to gather my thoughts about it. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, The Blighted City, it was a slow-build world and hugely atmospheric, with a bittersweet story at its core. And I did wonder if my love for that story hampered my views on this one.
The Nameless and the Fallen reads more like classic D&D fantasy to me, with the travelling and creatures but then twists things just a tad, adding more depth and complexity to the world outside of Lachyla, than we saw in the first book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like classic D&D or bending the expected – I do love when a book surprises me. I think what it is with this story is that The Nameless and the Fallen is a second book, that despite a few reoccurring characters just feels a little more like a series starter to me and it threw me off for a while.
Anyway, second book expectations aside, one thing that doesn’t change is the slow build of clues. We gain knowledge of the world and understanding as the story unfolds, painting us a picture we don’t see or understand in its entirety, until near the end and I loved that.
A bit of patience and trust is required that your answers will come but, in the meantime, there is no shortage of fun battles and interesting people to meet on the journey to those answers.
There are a few returning faces, and plenty of new ones but our two main windows into the world are through Oriken and Wren.
Oriken – a returning character I enjoyed a lot in the first book. The events from The Blighted City have stayed with him here – especially the loss of his childhood friend. He gains a travelling companion in Nova who is searching for clues about her identity, and a man, with whom she believes lies all the answers.
Wren – expelled from his village after a trip into the forbidden grounds causes a chain of events that endangers the village killing some of the locals. He later gains a travelling companion Licelle, an assassin, who has been wrongly accused of the death of an important figure.
Oriken and Wren, have both started to notice that things are not quite right in their corners of the world. Animals and people are behaving oddly, and the magic of the land (called Umbramancy) is fizzling and becoming unreliable. They wonder how far these abnormalities extend across the landscape and start to look for answers.
There are a lot of fun things in this world beginning with the creatures. This is where the story had the most D&D feel for me with a monster battle in every new area they travelled, and lots of dangerous and mythical feeling corporeal and non-corporeal monsters to worry about. I loved the mystical fantasy feeling creatures the most; like the Stone Dancers. (I hope that was the right name because my notes are a mess)
All these creatures led to some great fight scenes, and settings, etc. and I loved there was cause and effect to these battles, and sometimes shit happens – like people break a foot when they miss jumping from a building.
The Nameless and the Fallen is quite different in tone, from The Blighted City (which almost feels like a stand alone in this world) and the story here is gearing up for some big things if the end reveal is anything to judge by.
If you like that classic fantasy feel but with some very surprising reveals along the way, you will want to check this one out.