Peter Orullian started his epic trilogy, Vault of Heaven, with The Unremembered. I actually had a hard time getting into this book. It’s the first book I can remember where I wish I had skipped the prologue. It felt unnecessary and labored, and by the time I felt some bit of care over what was happening, it was over and I had to work to be engaged by the actual characters. That actually took me a few chapters — and then he almost lost me again by switching to a different scene. As a writer, I understand that the switch was supposed to build tension: Chapter three ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, which is one level of tension, and then chapter four introduced a different storyline and unspoken darkness, which is another level of tension, especially when left unexplained. As a reader, I found it just didn’t work that well for me this time.
(Side note: as I’m working on epic fantasy that uses multiple viewpoints, I’m well aware of the danger of making such pronouncements. Anyone who reads my fiction and feels the same way about not switching too soon — I apologize in advance.)
I persevered, though, and I’m glad I did. It’s a good book (and hefty, another 600+ page read), and I imagine the entire trilogy will be excellent when it’s finished. (Although I do hope that for subsequent volumes, I don’t feel like the author loses my interest quite so readily.)
Truthfully, one of the reasons I sought this book out is because it was also recommended to me as a book that uses music as magic. This isn’t terribly surprising, as Orullian is a musician as well as an author. Unlike Cooper’s Song, which is heard with the mind and soul and not voiced, in Aeshau Vaal, song itself can carry the magic — for good or ill.
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, a few short stories set in this world have been published on Tor.com — Sacrifice of the First Sheason, The Great Defense of Layosah, and The Battle of the Round.
This is a post for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. My theme is epic fantasy, and blog posts will cover authors, books, tropes, themes, or anything else I can think of to fill the alphabet. Check out some of the other bloggers participating or follow my blog by e-mail if you like what you’ve read.