When Talon, a young man from the Jarian tribe, bonds with an ice tiger called Rekala, he begins a journey of discovery and adventure in war-torn Chryne, a fantasy world full of dark magic, shapeshifting, and hidden secrets.
This action-packed young adult novel follows Talon as he grows into his many powers and tries to forge alliances that will help protect his home village of Jaria from evil Zeikas, a tribe of mighty and cruel sorcerers. Having bonded with Rekala, Talon can morph into a range of animal forms and send messages by telepathy, but there are many other abilities he may yet discover:
Has he also inherited his mother’s powers as an Anzaii, a leader of ancient blood? Or might he be able to bond with skyearls, a form of intelligent dragon?
Talon is sent to the distant lands of Tanza and Watercrag to develop his powers, but first must find help for his people’s defense against the Zeikas. Traveling with him are a warrior woman, Sarlice, and the mysterious Lira, setting up a predictable love triangle.
The story is at its strongest in the many action scenes, particularly those involving shapeshifting into dire wolves, horses and even rabbits, where the descriptive writing is strong, multisensory, and evocative. Bronach has imagined a complex world where ethnic conflicts and magical elements are at play, but at times the world building is not well explained, and the number of names and elements create confusion. References to rape and sexual assault sit uneasily with the story’s otherwise fairly P.G. feel.
Additionally, a useful glossary reveals that Talon is 19, but the story itself is skimpy on details about his character. A stronger description of him at the outset would be useful to readers.
The book ends somewhat abruptly, but those seeking familiar fantasy tropes will likely find their curiosities piqued and await further stories in this proposed series.
Also available as an ebook.