It’s time for another indie book review!. Read on and find out what Jay thought of ‘Dolor and Shadow’, the first book in Angela B. Chrysler’s ‘Tales of the Drui’ series.
Angela B. Chrysler has brought world building to breathtaking heights with ‘Dolor and Shadow’. The first book in the ‘Tales of the Drui’ saga, ‘Dolor and Shadow’ begins what promises to be an epic fantasy series. Chrysler lays it all out in clear terms, showing the reader right away that this is a world that is as compelling and complex as any other. From philosophy and religion to geography and architecture, to weapons and mythology and symbolism, the author introduces us to every aspect of this land and its varied peoples with poetic prose that draws us easily into the story.
There’s really a lot going on, and a great many characters that each seem as though a whole book could be written about them. Most of these folks have dedicated themselves and their lives to a promising young ruler that may bring peace at last to the realm. There are two of them: Kallan is a tempestuous new elf queen with startling magic powers, and Rune a cunning king with a variety of clever tricks and dark secrets. Neither of them is perfect by any stretch; but they aren’t evil, either. They have just grown up with very different views of the world, and have come to see each other as the enemy.
When they meet by chance encounter, neither of these two pivotal figures suspect who the other is. Although they are clearly immediately smitten with each other, they both have a war to fight; they do not discover who has invaded their thoughts until their armies clash. As opportunities to claim victory present themselves, neither of them is as resolved to seize it as before. While they both wrestle with the old feelings warring with the new within, the war continues without as well.
Kallan has lost a lot, and not all of the stories she has been told were true. Rune is neither as innocent as he plays it off nor as brutal as his reputation, and it’s hard to tell exactly where he falls in between. When they are thrust together once more, they must each confront the horror that the other sees in them. Their people depend on them to grow up before they are ready, let go of what they least want to, and embrace a new reality before it is forced violently on them all. Neither of them wants to acknowledge the bond that is forming between them, or the feelings blossoming within each of them, for fear of showing weakness and losing everything. Yet something has got to give, before all is lost.
I enjoyed ‘Dolor and Shadow’ for a great many reasons. The younger me delighted in the mapped journey across a new world, and descriptions of its natural beauty and grand architecture. The philosopher in me delighted in Chrysler’s exploration of the ‘Seidr’, the energy that flows in and through all things. I loved the way Kallan’s magic was tied up in her emotional state, and how her power was limited almost solely by her understanding of it. Magic is a disappointingly unbelievable thing when it comes from a wand or a few choice words; Chrysler poignantly shows how magic can be real, and how it can affect those that wield it.
This is the kind of book that anyone who enjoys a good read can really get into. The layers of the story contain bonus finds for those of us looking for something more, and deliver on both a book that stands alone and the beginning to a longer and even more intricately woven tale. The author’s obvious love of mythology and philosophy pair perfectly with her imagination, and make for so many of those bonus finds. I look forward to reading the next book in the ‘Tales of the Drui’ series, ‘Fire and Lies’. I would highly recommend ‘Dolor and Shadow’ to a fantasy reader of any age, particularly those that delight in a well-crafted world brought to life by a poetic philosopher.
You’ll find ‘Dolor and Shadow’ at the Kindle store and on Kindle Unlimited, along with the next book in the ‘Tales of the Drui’ series, ‘Fire and Lies”.