If you could change your life by trusting in a stranger… would you?
Erevan has a problem. He grew up on the unforgiving streets of Bogudos and has the scars to prove it. His friend, however, is stuck in jail because of his mistake. But when a suspicious courier offers him a chance to fix things, should he lift his sword and journey across treacherous lands to aid her cause?
Meanwhile, Aireyal has been accepted into the wealthiest and most prestigious magical school in all the land. There’s just one problem. She can’t do magic. But that’s far from the only secret within the walls of Darr-Kamo. And what she discovers might just change the world.
Swordsman & Sorcerer
Scholar & Spiritualist
All four have enemies. And all four need help to get what they want. But help is never free.
What would you sacrifice to get what you most desire?
Avery proves adept at keeping the dual perspectives engaging as Frostfire, the first in the Sword & Sorcery series, reveals its world. Those chapters also are cleverly engaged with each other, long before the characters meet, as Avery draws compelling thematic links between the protagonists’ challenges and experiences. Amid the bumptious fantasy adventure storytelling—which involves trolls and pirates, rugged taverns and secret libraries, a baby slipshark and a just-hatched beast of wonder—Avery emphasizes his leads’ hearts and the lessons they learn about the harsh truths of their world and what it means to grow up.
That world might seem a touch familiar, at first, though Avery distinguishes it from generic fantasy as the novel surges ahead. The worldbuilding is solid, but it’s character that powers the book, which proves involving throughout but picks up in momentum once the storylines start bending toward each other, and a world-changing secret discovered by Erevan and co. comes to the attention of the powers that be in the academy where Aireyal is struggling to find herself. Real battles and danger follow, but Avery’s storytelling remains warm and inviting throughout, as his characters movingly doubt, grow, and strive to set things right.
Takeaway: This character-rich, split-perspective fantasy series kickoff is involving and surprising.
Great for fans of: Garth Nix, Naomi Novik.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A