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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 07/2022
  • 978-1-7370670-7-8 B0B57HRDS6
  • 403 pages
  • $2.99
Paperback Details
  • 07/2022
  • 978-1737067085
  • 424 pages
  • $12.99
Hardcover Details
  • 07/2022
  • 978-1737067092
  • 340 pages
  • $22.99
Kristen Salustro
Author
The Roar of the Lost Horizon

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

Nate is a magic user with a very bleak future. His magic is not strong enough to adequately serve the Solkyrian Empire, and he is cast aside. When he's picked up by a pirate captain with a special interest in his magic, he thinks that he may have found a way to prove himself to the empire after all. The captain wants Nate's help tracking something dangerous over the open ocean, however, and Nate needs to survive his new life long enough to return home. But as Nate learns how to live a free life, he begins to wonder if that old dream is really what he wants after all.

Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.75 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot/Idea: In a fantasy empire where ordinary people have magical talents and are assigned their work accordingly,  19-year-old Nate embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery when he signs on to what turns out to be a pirate ship and helps to uncover an ancient mystery. On a journey of self-discovery, Nate's gradually blooming talent—to read the course of hidden objects through the wind—confirms at last his value to his shipmates and to himself. 

Prose: The style of exposition is standard to the genre, by turns breathless and mysterious. The POV is mainly that of the young protagonist, with occasional insertions of a chapter belonging to the ship's captain. The story is composed without intrusions of elaborate overexplanation; once the outlines of the world are established, they are adhered to faithfully and interestingly.

Originality: There are no surprises in The Roar of the Lost Horizon; it adheres closely to the expected swashbuckling fantasy arc. Inchoate talents bloom, lost treasures are revealed, secrets are uncovered, and the insecure and spurned weakling becomes a hero. However, the particular events are freshly imagined, and the young hero's humanity is not without its charm.

Character Development/Execution: Protagonist Nate, his background, his aspirations, and his fears, are described in some detail, and his inner life evolves along with the events of the story. The ship's captain, in her Ahab-like pursuit of a legendary treasure, is well drawn, through her juxtapositions and interactions with subordinates, foes, and favorites. 

Date Submitted: July 13, 2022

Reviews
Salustro (author of the Star Hunters series) launches her seafaring Southern Echo fantasy series with the polished story of an underdog hero embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. In the Solkyrian Empire, people with magical Skills are considered dangerous and are kept alive only to serve the Empire. Eighteen-year-old Nate has a powerful Skill for sensing the wind, but his inability to call forth even the smallest breeze has earned him the nickname “Nate Nowind.” When Nate’s given the chance to join the crew of pirate captain Iris Arani—who seems to want a skill exactly like his—or face a grim future in the mines, he throws in his lot with the pirates on board the Southern Echo.

Nate’s world is a well thought out, functional, and fully flawed society. The crew of the Echo is made up of a variety of magical misfits, whose skills range from illusions to animal speech. As Nate finds his place among the crew, facing down sirens, dragons, and dangers beyond imagining, he begins to feel like he truly belongs. But when the captain risks everything for a mad treasure hunt, Nate—and the rest of the crew—are forced to reckon with where their true loyalties lie. Although the story stays solidly focused on Nate, through the crew readers are granted a microcosm of an expansive and varied Empire.

Despite the immense cast of main players to track, each crew member comes with a singular background and has a valid reason for abandoning the Empire—and Salustro delivers a cast rich with diversity of gender and sexuality, including a proud and driven female pirate captain, and several queer supporting characters. The story isn’t nonstop action and swashbuckling, but the slow journey of watching this world unfold is excitement enough. Fans of expansive worlds with intricate magic will devour this series, and the plot of a young magic-user discovering his place among it all will satisfy fantasy fans looking for exploration and adventure.

Takeaway: The polished, thrilling first entry in a character-rich seafaring fantasy series.

Great for fans of: Benjamin Mester’s The Banished Lands series; Lina C. Amarego’s Daughter of the Deep.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 07/2022
  • 978-1-7370670-7-8 B0B57HRDS6
  • 403 pages
  • $2.99
Paperback Details
  • 07/2022
  • 978-1737067085
  • 424 pages
  • $12.99
Hardcover Details
  • 07/2022
  • 978-1737067092
  • 340 pages
  • $22.99

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