By: Freya Robertson
Publish Date: October 29, 2013
Series: 1st in Elemental Wars series
Recommendation: You like your fantasy, with adventure and death. This is for you. And with a twist to environment as well!
A dying tree, a desperate quest, a love story, a last stand.
Chonrad, Lord of Barle, comes to the fortified temple of Heartwood for the Congressus peace talks, which Heartwood’s holy knights have called in an attempt to stave off war in Anguis. But the Arbor, Heartwood’s holy tree, is failing, and because the land and its people are one, it is imperative the nations try to make peace.
After the Veriditas, or annual Greening Ceremony, the Congressus takes place. The talks do not go well and tempers are rising when an army of warriors emerges from the river. After a fierce battle, the Heartwood knights discover that the water warriors have stolen the Arbor’s heart. For the first time in history, its leaves begin to fall...
The knights divide into seven groups and begin an epic quest to retrieve the Arbor, and save the land.
The belt hung from a hook in the doorway of a tent, weighed down by a bulging leather pouch.
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My Thoughts and Summary:
The peace talks are called by the Heartwood Militis to help save the land. The land is slowly dying, foods not as plentiful as it once was. The weather is turning ill. Animal sicknesses. The worshiped powerful oak tree of the lands is shrinking. The Arbor is dying and they hope bringing the people together, instead of constant battle, they can help save it and all who live on the land. When they gather to talk, they start to bicker. While the bickering is happening, a surprise attack of Dark Water Lords hit. The heart of the tree is stolen and many are killed. The rains set in and a dangerous journey into unknown areas has to succeed to save them all from what's to come. In a world as this, much can happen to stop them from their tasks. Others won't even get to accomplish their tasks.
The world is vast. We start with a believe that may not be as all have thought. That there are pieces of their believe that is wrong with the finding of a lost room. The system of the Arbor is vast, magical, and powerful. The history of the elements caught my attention right away. I am taken with the elemental influence in this world. The influence in the care of the world and even in the beings and characters. An ancient history is buried here.
We have different regions in the world and slightly differing life styles that cause disagreements among the land. There is Laxonian, Wulfian, and Komis. Then you have the Heartwood Knights of the Militis that try to police the lands and keep things calm. Heartwood is neutral ground as all areas send people to join their ranks at young age of seven. Although, there are late bloomers that have made their way into the ranks.
We meet many characters here. It's a large cast to play with. It's an epic fantasy. Large casts are a good thing in a world as vast as this. We learn more, see more, and know more, by having more venues to see the world through. It brings the diversity to our attention. But, the larger the cast in a deadly world...there are more to lose along the way. More potential of death. More happening. And this book keeps it all moving along in that way.
We get a point of view from multiple characters. Each as they lead their own quest party across the land and encounter something different in the world. Each character has their own section so it's clearly marked out who you are reading and what is happening. Of all the characters it's hard to pick a favorite. I loved Chonrad, Lord of Barle, the moment I met him. And overall in the book, I think he's the main character. We aren't with him at all times but he fits the part of the key character to me. But I really enjoyed Teagon as well. Teagon holds a very special magic and that's what draws me to him. Everyone holds something close they don't or won't share with others. It eats at them and everyone needs someone to help them - as a friend or something more.
The story walks these characters through their trials, baring the crosses they hide deep, and drawing friendships where ones would not have been before. A journey, as a group to save the world and individually to help themselves through, through a dangerous world - a world growing more dangerous daily - to save it from itself. Water and Air fight an internal battle over the land.
This story comes to a close with the characters and the troubles of the land. But there are more books to come. And I'll be looking for them. I'm curious to see what comes in the next books in this intriguing world.