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K.C. Julius
Portents of Chaos: Book I of The Drinnglennin Chronicles
K.C. Julius, author
Step into an epic world of sword and sorcery, intrigue and betrayal... ​ The realm of Drinnglennin hangs poised on the cusp of chaos, for Urlion Konigur, the High King, is dying and has yet to name an heir. Rumors abound that the Helgrins, Drinnglennin’s bitterest foes, are preparing their longboats to raid the Isle’s shores, while the roving å Livåri folk, for whom the island kingdom is the last sanctuary, are strangely disappearing. And in distant Belestar, the fabled dragons are stirring from their self-imposed exile… Drinnglennin’s hopes lie with the wizard Morgan, who must gather together and safeguard the king’s possible heirs, all three of whom are coming of age. Yet a dangerously powerful house seeks the succession for one of their own, even if it means disrupting the fragile peace of the realm. One thing is certain: whoever next sits on the Einhorn Throne will determine the fate not only of Drinnglennin, but of all who dwell in the Known World.
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.50 out of 10


Plot: This is a well-plotted, smartly paced fantasy novel. It is built from converging subplots, each of which features a main character whose adventures allow for the elaboration of the history of the kingdoms and families central to its imaginary world and the intrigues brewing in them. The reader will keep turning pages to see how the bigger story they are building comes together.

Prose: Julius’s prose style is well suited to the story she tells. It has the comfortable, old-fashioned feel of the narrative and dialogue of many other historical fantasies involving royals, warriors, wizards, and vassals. It never feels forced or mannered.

Originality: Portents of Chaos is very much in the tradition of other stories that blend sword and sorcery, romance, wizardry, and high fantasy—up to and including Game of Thrones. But it never seems derivative of other works; the imaginary-world fantasy carries enough seeming verisimilitude that at moments it reads like a solid historical novel.

Character Development: Julius’s characters are well developed and believable, especially her female characters, Maura and Halla, who are determined, resourceful, and independent, even though they move through a male-dominated patriarchal society. Her other characters—especially Leif, with his previous unknown elven heritage, and Master Morgan, his mentor and the wizard whose actions carefully bring all of the subplots together—offer the story great diversity and depth.

Date Submitted: August 26, 2019