Spoiler Free Summary: Anaerfell by Joshua Robertson and J.C. Boyd was listed in my February Book Cover of the Month bracket. my March Book Cover of the Month. It’s an epic fantasy about two brothers who literally set out to kill death. Using the boost taken from a ceremony and the blood of a dead dragon, Drast and Tyran set out on this mission for reasons of family loyalty and glory.
Character: This was my favorite part of the book. Drast and Tyran aren’t your typical fantasy brothers. They’re flat out monstrous in some degrees. They have justifiable reasons for their behavior, but it’s their efforts to find nobility in a world without honor that kept me reading throughout this story. I’ve already said I’m a huge fan of “white-hat” good guys, but these protagonists are compelling because their circumstances are plausible and compelling. What makes this dynamic perfect is the unconquerable love between these brothers. That sort of relationship is one I can get behind. If you love stories with compelling characters, this is a book you’ll enjoy.
Exposition: This was about average in terms of epic fantasy. It didn’t drone on in any areas, but there were certainly a few (probably necessary) information dumps. The authors do a nice job of weaving this in as necessary, so it doesn’t slow the book down.
Description: I’d say the description of the characters and action is deeper than that of the scenes and landscapes. It’s visual without being visceral. However, I’m a fan of that sort of skeletal description. Show me what I need to see and let my imagination take over with what you want. Details mater, but only the right details.
Overall: This was a different sort of fantasy story, where the protagonists struggle with their shortcomings every bit as much as they struggle with their opponents, and that’s rare. Even more so, those internal conflicts don’t seem overly melodramatic. Fans of original magic systems with interesting “costs” will enjoy this fantasy element. Fans of grittier characters with flawed backgrounds will love it.
NOTE: As I mentioned above, Anaerfell did very well in it’s bracket. It had a tough fight with The Unleashed, but it didn’t quite make it. For this reason, Anaerfell will get another shot against eight other covers in the Book Cover of the Year Wild Card round. That will kick off the week before Christmas. Stay tuned for more on that.
Thanks for reading,