Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Jerrith, a human boy from the Vandis city of Althos, has had a rough life. His mother died when he was four. The only thing he has to remember her by now is the leaf pendant he now wears around his neck. His father has become an alcoholic and abusive since his wife’s death. The only saving grace for Jerrith has been his apprenticeship at the blacksmith. However he might have thrown even that away after he is caught kissing an elf boy in the town square.
Caspian has had things just as rough recently. A prince of the land of Nevis, he has had his wings removed and forced into exile in the land of Vandis. As part of the exile, Cas’s memories of what forced the exiled have been wiped clean, so he has no idea WHY he is in Vandis. To make matters worse, members of the royal guard are keeping an eye on him. He has no idea what compels him to kiss the cute Vanders boy, but he does. Having been caught and beaten, Cas now awaits his fate in the dungeon.
Learning that the boy he kissed is in trouble and knowing he has no future in Althos once word gets out about him kissing the Nevers boy, Jerrith decides to rescue Cas. Using what little magic he know chanting “I’m not here” over and over, he makes himself, and anyone in contact with him, disappear from view. Having broken free, the pair must now travel back to Caspian’s home in the Autumn Lands on Nevis while trying to elude the royal guard on their tail. Once there, they will have to confront the king as to the reason for Cas’s exile and hopefully stay alive in the process.
I was totally captivated by this story. The author does a great job of building the worlds of Vandis and Nevis. The dull drab world of Vandis stands in contrast to the metallic, futuristic world of Nevis. The mythology of how the Autumn Lands serve not only to tell the history of the two lands but also compels the actions of our two protagonists. Jerrith has an “Alice in Wonderland” type moment when his first sees the capital city of Nevis. The happily ever after ending is not quite what the reader/listener would expect but it is satisfying.
Vance Bastian narrates this tale and I really enjoyed his style. His voice is a little different from the other audiobooks I have listened to in that it is not quite as deep as the others I have heard. He deftly moves between character voices and gives Jerrith a voice I would imagine him having. I hope to have an opportunity to listen to more of his narration.
Audiobook, 3 hours 12 minutes, 12 chapters
Published: July 12, 2016 by Mischief Corner Books