It's been many years since I've read an epic fantasy novel and when author Andrew John Rainnie offered me a pre-release copy of his new book Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits I wasn't sure that the genre was still to my taste. However, having come to the end of the book it obviously is and I've enjoyed the time I've spent lost in the distant land of Enara in the continent of Amaros.
This really is an epic novel, almost five hundred Kindle pages in length, which stretches over land, sea and air in a totally imagined world on a huge scale.
The story centres around two tree elves, Kamina and Kaedin, who join up with the Ishkava Ranger, Callaghan Tor, in a quest to find the ancient Stone of Spirits and use its power to prevent the total destruction planned by the zealous Malenek and his spirit army.
The plot is complex and there are a considerable number of subsidiary characters. Some of these offer assistance to the two elves and the ranger; many do not. All the characters have invented names, as do the various locations in which the story is set, but they are not difficult to remember. This is one of the strengths of the book and comes about because Andrew John Rainnie has written the book in a very visual style. Consequently the reader encounters new characters and destinations with explanations and descriptions that work well to create images that ensure they are fixed in the reader's imagination.
In addition to the heroic elf-girl, Kamina Elloeth, there are other strong female characters in Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits. I particularly liked the "princess" Jazintha and her idiosyncratic way of speaking.
The narrative voice has an olde worlde, timeless feel which is often poetic and lyrical and draws the reader subtly into this other world where there are two suns and two moons and a complete acceptance that it should be no other way.
While reading the book I sometimes found myself remembering other long forgotten fantasy novels. I thought I could sense the influence of Tolkien and Philip Pullman although at times there were overtones of the biblical as well. I don't mean that Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits is in any way derivative but that it is placed in a long tradition of epic fantasy writing.
My only reservation about the book is that the version I was reading contained a number of typographical errors and I really hope that these have been rectified. They didn't spoil the story but they can be irritating.
The ending of the book is very well constructed bringing resolution and closure to the story but opening out naturally into a sequel. Overall I really enjoyed reading Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits and am grateful to author Andrew John Rainnie for offering me the chance to read the book. It is released on November 14th and you can find it in the Kindle Store http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spirits-Vengeance-Andrew-John-Rainnie-ebook/dp/B00ODCK768
or download a free sample now from Smashwords. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/483591