Road of a Warrior
Road of a Warrior is a magnificent continuation of The Silvan series, an impressive sophomore offering by author R.K. Lander that continues to take the reader on a thrilling fantasy adventure ride in the ever-unfolding, multi-hued world of Bel’aran. Accompany Fel’annar, the novice-turned-full-warrior protagonist on his first journey away from the forests of his homeland to the beautiful, mountainous land of Tar’eastor as part of the military escort for his prince.
But new dangers and shocking discoveries await Fel’annar on this journey that has been cunningly arranged for him to embark on – a new road where his survival is uncertain and his death fervently sought after by both known and unknown deadly enemies, where the line between good and evil is at times indistinct.
With the revelation of his heritage rocking the core of his existence and his preternatural gift relentlessly manifesting in ways he can barely control, the blurred lens through which Fel’annar can see his destiny becomes increasing clear. It is a destiny that plunges him headlong into the epicentre of millennia-old prejudice and hate, blood and power lust; but also a destiny where by daring to stand true to his calling and beliefs, he can change fate – the fate of those around him, of the realms he dwells in, of the universe that holds him.
It is often difficult to follow a great book with an even better one, but Lander – a gem of a writer – has successfully done so with Road of a Warrior, raising the reader up to soar on even more lofty heights of excitement, imagination and engagement with her breathtaking new book.
I said this last year for Path of a Novice, & again I say this for Road of a Warrior this year: if you only have time to read one book this year, it has to be this one!
Narration: 4 out of 5. The narration is sweeping, artistic, and epic, just like the world and the story. It captures the feel of Fel’annár’s travels, the way the lands change as he climbs the mountains and what he and the other characters feel as they experience it—how they interpret it, whether they see it as beautiful or threatening, and what metaphors they use when interpreting it.
It’s fantastic narration, but there are times when it gets confusing, when the description and scene transitions, while dramatic, aren’t helpful in following the story. It becomes more poetry than useful prose, and in those moments, I feel it detracts from the story.
Content: 4 out of 5. The content of this book was more varied than book one, where we mostly just saw everything from Fel’annár’s point of view. Like that book, there are moments of battle (and very well done battle-sequences, though at times briefly disorienting) and times of thoughtful reflection and playful character interaction.
Once again, the issues of racism and colonization are central, but it’s beautifully and thoughtfully presented, to where neither side is faultless. There are dark- and light-skinned elves, and, in this book, we get to see the strength of the elvish women at last. There is even a bit of romance in this one (yay!), but the antagonists’ threads were left underdeveloped. We just don’t get to know that much about what they’re doing while everything else is going on, though we finally do get to meet some of the villains.
Characters: 5 out of 5. The book shines in this department. The characters feel…well, not human, since they’re elves, but alive, realistic, and believable, and we get to meet more of them this time. We get to know Fel’annár’s friends in ways that didn’t happen in Book One while learning more about Lainon, the king, Councillor Aradan, and Crown Prince Rinon, and we get to understand them, both past and present.
I particularly like how the story doesn’t revolve around Fel’annár alone. He may be the gifted one, but the other characters have their own strengths, and Fel’annár isn’t the source of all power, wisdom, ideas and knowledge. He needs the other characters, and they need him, in a beautiful, interelational way. It’s delightful and, next to the artistry of the narration, the characters are one of the most enjoyable parts of the story.
Artwork: Subjective. Personally, I love how the cover incorporates elements of the new, second version of the cover for Book One while clearly looking like a different book. Fel’annár looks older and more dangerous in this, which fits, as he’s now a warrior and not just a novice, and I like the hint at his gift with the green haze in his right hand.
World-Building: 5 out of 5. This was another area where the book was just about as perfect as a story can get. We not only got to understand Fel’annár’s gift more over the course of the book, but we were able to learn more about elven culture and customs and spiritual beliefs. After this book, I finally feel like I know enough to understand why the elves act the way they do, my lingering questions and confusions from Book One answered and explained away, though I know we’ve only begun to explore this varied, rich world.
Overall Response: 18 out of 20, or 4.5 overall. The story is delightful, the characters genuine, and the narration gloriously artistic.If you like epic fantasy and tales of action, adventure, intrigue, and deep friendship set in a rich, powerful literary world, you’ll want to pick up this book.
Rating: 5/5 (Loved it)
Official Summary: “A light in the forest, a king returned, a past to claim …
Fel’annár is an immortal half-blood warrior from the Deep Forest, an orphan whose questions were never answered. With a dream of becoming a Silvan captain in an army ruled by the Alpine elves, he is sent to protect a prince of the realm on a journey to Tar’eastór, land of the mighty Alpine elves and of Fel’annár’s own father – whoever he was.
His nascent powers that emerged during his first patrol as a novice warrior will continue to evolve as his shrouded past finally surfaces. The truth he never thought to hear will thrust him onto a path strewn with political intrigue, discrimination, danger and self-discovery.
Meanwhile, a failing king will rise from the ashes of grief and reclaim his place as leader of the Great Forest. Warriors will battle the enemy on the borders, while at court, councillors will clash over the racial divide that is pulling them apart.
They say that civil war is coming, but one elf can avoid it – if he can embrace his past, control his powers and accept the role he is destined to play.
From warrior to master and beyond, Fel’annár is The Silvan who can restore peace in the Great Forest, or cast it into eternal chaos.” – Goodreads
Review: It very hard for an Author to outshine their first book, but oh boy has the Author raised the bar again. I was so pleasantly surprised that it was so good again. Again the Author didn’t expand too much, she is letting the series breath and build itself. She not rushing in and throwing in years, or trying to rush and complete the whole series in a few books as possible. Oh no the Author has big plans and it great to see them slowly unfolding.
The multiple names for one person do get a little confusing but again more an issue with myself than with the book. The suspense was built up very well in the middle of the book, where you know what happens and you are waiting and waiting to find out what happened. The Author did a good job of switching to other things and making you feel impatient, making you want to read more to find out.
Somethings are done so subtly you don’t quite see it unless you are paying attention to the smaller details. I knew from her first book to pay attention. You can really see the world being built and the story being built through small little sentences here and there. Making your mind go ‘ooh that going to get good’.
With both her books I have had to go back and reread lines because they were so good. Scenes and fights were so :O I had to reread them just to enjoy the goodness of them again.
I absolutely love this series!I’m picky on what epic fantasy I read, since they usually take me longer to read. No so with this series! I loved every moment,and was able to easily flow from the first book to the second without needing an extended break as I often do with heavy fantasy. This one was such an emotional ride, and I loved the characters and the writing style flows easily and I didn’t get bogged down with details or backstory, but was still provided enough information to understand what was going on.
Fel’annár is a half-breed elf, one whose appearance is that of the proud Alpine elf even though he has been raised and sees himself as a Silvan. He’s proven himself as a warrior in battle, but still is looked down upon by the Alpine elves. At least, until he learns of his true identity. Now, he must come to terms with a past he doesn’t want to admit exists, while finding his new role between the two elf factions and coming to terms with himself. And all of this with the threat of a civil war looming over him.
I did not read the first book in this series, which was a mistake. This book takes off where the last one ended and dives right into a complex tale and world. It took me several pages to figure out who the characters were as well as their place in the world around them, and that with quickly changing points of view. In other words, this is not a stand-alone.
Elf and epic fantasy fans are sure to love this book. The world building is extremely well done, allowing the scenes and battles to come to life while keeping the wonderful feel of a rich fantasy world alive. The characters each have their own worries, problems, pasts and agendas. Some are easy to like, others easy to hate, and yet others fall into the gray area. By changing points of view, the layers of intrigue and threats deepen and grab hold. It’s hard not to cheer for Fel’annár and feel for him as he tries to find his footing.
The atmosphere of war, power plays and prejudice are strong and convincing. Fel’annár is up against inner battles as well as outer ones, and all the while carries the pride elf fans love. And with the very difficult path he has to follow, it will be interesting to see what happens next.
This sweeping tale of love, heritage, honor, and intrigue continues the saga of Fel’annár, a young warrior elf of mixed blood who dreams of being a captain in an army where only pure Alpines rule.
Despite his outward appearance, Fel’annár deeply identifies with the colonized Silvans, his mother’s people, and so he cautiously accompanies his troop to the land of Tar’eastór—the land of his unknown, absent father. The young warrior must also contend with his unfolding power—part ability, part magic, it seems—which threatens to make him a pariah, keeping him from his dream before he even has a chance.
Meanwhile, Lainon, the dark-skinned veteran elf who helped Fel’annár on his first patrol is faced with the difficult task of revealing the boy’s heritage to him without exposing him to the criticism, censor, or political machinations of those around him. Where they are going, Fel’annár’s face will be recognized, so there is no hope of secrecy, only in telling him kindly and hoping he learns to understand.
But the journey over the mountains soon becomes a thing of peril as winter weather sets in and the warriors find themselves ambushed by a host of Mountain Deviants. Fel’annár and his friends and fellow warriors must set aside their pasts and face their prejudices if they ever hope to reach Tar’eastór alive.
In the tradition of epic fantasy, this story is told on a grand scale. One follows not only the unfolding tale of Fel’annár but other perspectives, from his aunt to royalty on both sides of the mountains. Cunning villains have their place, naturally, but they don’t take center stage in this volume as the author slowly leads one further into the intricate world of the story. Still, this isn’t a slow book. There are more than enough present dangers to face, even if the major villains only appear in portions.
The narration is almost poetic at times as it soars above the action and emotions of the characters to explain the world and how it is changing. It’s the kind of fantasy readers
will get lost in, a world rich in depth and believability. The cast is large and the names can be similar, but this seems to underscore the world-building, depicting an age where the meaning of a name mattered more than being distinct or “different.”
There is humor and pathos, gore and delight, and even romance—not in a coming-of-age way but a seasoned romance rich in history and diversity, unique for a fantasy story of elves and their troubles. The pacing is steady but sure, though some readers may find it a little slow if they’re looking for action and adventure on every page.
Readers who enjoy a thoughtful adventure story, where the real day-to-day concerns of acceptance, family, diversity, and prejudice play out, will enjoy this story. It carries one off to a world of magic where political concerns, developing mystical powers, and rich characterization underscore a classic struggle of good against evil.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Map of Bel’arán
Where to buy
Road of a Warrior Kindle or ePub, direct from the author.
Road of a Warrior Soft cover, dedicated by the author.