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Kathy Pickel
Scinan Legacy
Scinan Legacy: C.1-9, set in legends of Wodan, is uniquely intentional. A story for all, designed with specific neurodiverse reading comforts. Innovation has stopped. Can we be saved from a dead future? Can we be kynd to each other?
Pickel opens her debut fantasy series with a fresh, powerful hook: Thanks to King Wodan’s quest to possess all knowledge, the Nine Realms have stagnated, entering an era marked by “perpetual lack of creativity and invention”—new ideas and significant change are literally impossible. Amusingly, most denizens of the worlds ruled by Wodan haven’t noticed this 25 years later. As Queen Frija and the seers of the Order of the Tjetajat search the Realms for a solution, four young people in the realm of Midangard find themselves on the cusp of adulthood and adult responsibilities with little inkling that they’ll soon be swept up in the fate of the Realms themselves.

The series stands out for its author’s dedication to “specific neurodiverse reading comforts.” Pickel notes that she’s telling this story over multiple books but with consistent chapter numbers and pagination. Thinking of the hefty Scinan Legacy as the first nine chapters of a longer book rather than as a standalone might help readers who find the pacing slow even for epic fantasy. These pages are devoted to friendship and world-building, but of the most inviting sort. In that same preface Pickel promises that she has crafted the novel for readers who prefer “expanded descriptions of characters’ emotions and motivations.” So these characters are thoroughly, engagingly drawn, at times explained to the point of redundancy.

The Realms, too, are presented with welcoming imagination. Pickel guides readers through this world as her her quartet of likely heroes-to-be--three young men and one young woman, a seer accompanied by a wonderful shape-shifting pal called a pucca—tour a sort of fantasy Worlds Fair, lingering in pavilions dedicated to the many sharply drawn cultures. The plot picks up 200 pages in, when the two chief protagonists connect at last—a connection that might shake the Realms. Fantasy fans comfortable with the cozy pace will be eager for the next (literal) chapter.

Takeaway: This new epic fantasy series prioritizes friendship, character, and clarity as it reveals a fascinating world gone stagnant.

Great for fans of:Robin Hobb, Katherine Kurtz.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B+