Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
On a quest for truths that his books can’t provide, Vael leaves the golden spires of his safe home to travel north, to the territories of the tribes there. But he gets far more than he bargains for when he is bound to Kayan, a chieftan’s son, in a mating ritual performed by a mysterious priestess.
According to her, it is their destiny to save all of Badal’Shari from a terrible cataclysm. And though Vael has serious doubts about fate, and even more doubts about Kayan, he agrees to embark on a so-called journey to save their world..
It wasn’t until I searched Goodreads for more information about the author that I realized this story was the first in a series. Be still my heart.
I was both happy and surprised by this information. The End of All Stories (Legends of Badal’Shari #1) by Julia Rosenthal represented a new science fiction title by a new author for me. At the time I picked it up and started reading there was no indication that this was the start of a Legends of Badal’Shari series. Nor did I get that from the ending of the story which the author wrapped up to my complete satisfaction. But Rosenthal has built within this story such an amazingly complex foundation of cultures and rich world building that it easily will support a series.
She has created several races of beings, their cultures , systems of faith, a mythology that weaves legends, religion, fated mates into epic journeys. And it all starts in a library.
I throughly enjoyed this story, from beginning to end. The characters, especially Vael, who’s inquisitive nature and gentle soul made it easy to love him. More problematic for some will be Kayan, who at times is physically abusive. For those for whom this is a trigger, be warned. It’s not often but it happens and it’s within context of the tribe of warrior society that Vael has traveled to. I can say that Kayan will address his actions as will others throughout the story. There is no sexual abuse.
There are cardboard characters here. Whether or not you like their actions, its due to the fact these are believable viable beings you are reading about. Rosenthal provides, via other characters and means, the explanations/motivations for peoples various behaviors. People here, are as they say, all too human. Which makes the story.
There is an element of Vael falling for Kayan perhaps far too quickly for me, given his behavior, even with the fated disposition. But the author’s other elements and their scenes together sold me on their relationship.
And then there was that later section of the story. Just amazing. All the details, the suspense, the action, and yes, heartbreak, leading up to that ending which I loved. Which I will not spoil here.
There are couples here I wish to see more of. People here I wished to see more of. So I’m thrilled that there will be subsequent stories. I can only hope these people will reappear in them. Fingers crossed.
Need a new author and story/series to enjoy? Pick up The End of All Stories (Legends of Badal’Shari #1) by Julia Rosenthal. It’s one I highly recommend.
Cover art: Natasha Snow. I like the cover which seems to be the inside of a tent of Kayan’s tribe.
Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published June 27th 2018 by Less Than Three Press, LLC
SeriesLegends of Badal’Shari #1