today I present the review of Exiled:Autumn's Peril (eBook, September 2011) by Rosalie Skinner. This is the first book in The Chronicles of Caleath series. To be honest with in sum eight books it is definitely a series! And Exiled:Autumn's Peril belongs to my growing list of books from small publishers and it is an eBook too.
Depending on the source you use, you get different levels of information. I decided to go for the information from the official website because there you get a kind of summary.
"Exiled and driven by guilt and vengeance, Caleath, adept in virtual reality games, finds himself on a world where magic rules. Assassins hunt him, ghosts haunt his nights, a sorcerer covets his knowledge and a beautiful hostage complicates his escape.
Washed ashore from the wreck of the Albatross, tortured in mind and body, Caleath uses his dreaded nanobots in order to survive and reluctantly befriends the young Gwilt. Their search for the survey satellite, which could lead Caleath home, unveils the terrifying world of 'a dark soul, black magic and a bloody sword'.
On this perilous journey, an assassin destroys Caleath's healing nanobots, and exiles from his home planet follow his every move. He takes the beautiful Nasith, of the Ferran clan, hostage to keep the assassins at bay, but her presence endangers him more. A sorcerer forces Caleath to aid the Council of Mages when he discovers Caleath carries vital knowledge that could save the Sharyac people from the invading Tarack, a species of giant ants."
After reading the text above and with knowledge of seven more books to follow I expected a great mix of fantasy, science fiction and adventure. And that is what I finally got.
One of the main themes delivered in her extended description: REVENGE
But that is only half of the truth. The second main theme is TRUSTFULNESS
Both have some companions like discovery, curiosity and not to forget love.
The reader knows from the very beginning that it is revenge what keeps Caleath alive and which is his foremost motif. But it is the realization that counts. And that is where Rosalie Skinner shows strengths. Every step of Caleath on the planet (name unknown) light years from his home in an unknown universe expose something relevant for the mentioned themes above. And that is done in an entertaining way by feeding the reader with small bits of information about everything which is important or will be important in future. The development and the revelation of the themes is like peeling an onion. In the end the themes are like an bottle opener for your emotions.
I does not take long to identify that Rosalie Skinner took known fantasy topics like put them into a mixer and added her own ideas. The result is a universe with planets somewhere and sometime. Interplanetary travels are possible.
There are worlds with advanced technology and worlds with magic and medieval flair.
The story focus on an unknown planet which is definitely a fantasy world with a medieval touch.
There is magic, communication between animals and human beings, weapons like sword, bow and crossbow. There are several continents inhabited by different cultures. The reader will visit some of them. But there is a serious problem in form of the visit of an uninvited civilization.
The main character Caleath is a very specific being. His body has been modified. There are nanobots in his blood and a kind of hard disc in his head.
The whole world seems to be the realization of a world from the virtual reality game which Caleath played in the past.
As the first book in The Chronicles of Caleath series Exiled:Autumn's Peril is the anacrusis of Caleath's way to get his revenge. By the end of the book the reader knows who is the target of Caleath's revenge, what has happened in the past, what is going on of the planet without name.
Until the end Rosalie Skinner delivers a high emotional adventure where the main character Caleath desperately tries to change from a reacting to an acting character in order to fulfill his first and foremost goal: Revenge. As he is not the only being on the planet, a lot of people are involved by his actions and/or non actions. Every step he takes, every emotion he shows has an impact on himself and his surrounding. Revenge is based on hate which is a strong emotion. And as soon emotions comes into play every plan gets twists and turns and as there more people with different plans a lot of action takes place. But there is an explanation behind every eruption of violence. Sometimes brooding revenge is the matrix for the genesis of a helix of emotions which lead to modifications and variations of lives and plans.
That may sound a bit vague but in combination with the extended description above you will get an imagination what to expect.
The important characters including Caleath are three-dimensional. Without it would not be possible that they reflect and reverberate all the upcoming emotions.
Rosalie Skinner shows love for Caleath. But she does not hesitate to throw him into dangerous situations and not to mention his feelings.
As in normal life characters do not change immediately. It is great to see that Caleath learning curve based on his reflections and experiences is nothing extraordinary.
There are only a few characters which seem to follow the known black and white scheme. I'm not sure if some of these will change within the next books.
Rosalie Skinner shows her strengths in the transformation of words into emotion. It is inevitable that the reader is emotionally touched and forced to take a stand. It does not matter if one is against Caleath or not. One cannot be neutral.
The story follows an inner hidden rhythm which is like the mix of a damaged saw blade with a roller coaster. It is like you start the engine of a car, then you accelerate, an unexpected curve appears but there is no time to hit the brakes and after the curve you have to cross a track, where you miss the train by with a sudden speedup followed by an ascent which slows you down while it begin to rain and you are sitting in a convertible and someone whispers nice words into your ear and so on and so on. It is amazing. Fortunately there is a kind of stop at the end.
That all is written in a tongue which fits to each character and let you sail from page to page where you meet archaic words like tryst like you see seagulls above your ship.
The writing breathe emotions. Dialogue is sometimes crisp and harsh but always correspond to the situation.
To say I liked Exiled:Autumn's Peril would be more than an understatement. It was a pulsating and vibrating read which captivated me within minutes.
Caleath or shall I say Sarran is a fascinating character with depth and full of emotions. Throughout the book I wanted to support him, to kick him in the ass, to remind him, to calm him down.
The setting is great mix of fantasy and science fiction, the onion peeling like revelation of Caleath's past, the vivid story telling including a band with from torture to love, from dialogue to fight, granted an extraordinary reading pleasure.
If you look for an emotional character who desperately tries to change from reaction to action limited to one planet with unknown continents and cultures framed in a fantasy and science fiction setting then read Exiled:Autumn's Peril by Rosalie Skinner.
From virtual reality to reality - From hate to revenge:
Exiled:Autumn's Peril is a strong debut with a lot of potential.
I can't wait to read the rest of the series.
(reviewed the day of purchase)