3 May 2022




Blind at birth, Daemus Alaric is blessed with the gift of prophetic Sight. Now, as a keeper of the Forbidden, he must use his powers of the Sight to foil the plans of a fallen Keeper, Graytorris the Mad.


Princess Addilyn Elspeth travels from Eldwal, the magically hidden home of the Vermilion elves, to begin her life as a diplomat to the human capital of Castleshire. During her journey, she stumbles upon a mystical creature foretelling ill tidings. 


Daemus’ recurring nightmare vision threatens to catapult him into a terrifying struggle that will leave the fate of the Keepers—and the realm—hanging in the balance. Daemus and Princess Addilyn must set out to face the menace that threatens their very existence.


The sun was beginning to show red over the horizon, as the wooded hollow in the shadow of the Dragon's Breath Mountains stirred. ... First Sentence

These creatures weren't supposed to exist. As a child, she'd been told all about the tetrine - that they were black unicorns, ten feet tall, that they brought death with only a look. For centuries, they'd been thought to be a product of mere legend, and even those who didn't dismiss their existence as apocryphal held them to be so vanishingly rare that seeing just one was considered the worst of all possible omens.

And here was a herd of them, emerging from the woods at almost the same time, like a phalanx of soldiers marching to battle. They weren't quite ten feet tall, but they weren't far from it either. And one of them was looking right at her. ... Memorable Moment, Pg 33

Buy the Book ... ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Amazon CA ~

A compelling journey full of treachery and peril and epic battles ✔ 

OK so it takes a little time for the various threads of the story to converge, for our heroes {Daemus Alaric, elven princess, Addilyn Elspeth and, probably my favourite character, the trollborn, Ritter Valkeneer} to come together in their fight against fallen Gatekeeper, Graytorris the Mad, but, oh my goodness, what a journey; that of Addilyn and Ritter being an exceptional and oddly endearing one but, my lips sealed, I'll say no more.

A memorable cast of characters ✔ 

Blind prophets, elven princesses, trollborns {half human, half elven} and any amount of creatures including a mystical herd of tetrine {think black unicorns, a sighting of which is said, well, is said to be not so good} and a slightly less mystical hawk to mention but a few.

That at times I had trouble keeping track of such a large cast, a small price to pay given that {given time to know them} they are all so interesting and, not one of them 'surplus', they all have a role to play whether you at first realise this or not. 

That I didn't always connect with all of them straight away, that it did take time before I found myself fully rooting for some of them both adding to their believability and making them all the more intriguing.

Terrific world building  

And not just any of your 'usual'  world building either. Not only has the author gone to such lengths to provide credible, fascinating backgrounds, explaining the hierarchy, the race, the status of each of the worlds the three main protagonists inhabit but they have created a world full of fascinating and intriguing religious and cultural 'rules'. That I was able to clearly visualise all of this without the descriptions becoming so overly wordy that I lost interest, all credit to Hilliard ...

A great opener for what I believe is to be a series of three books. I'm only sad that, ending on something of a cliff-hanger, I'll have to wait for the second instalment.

About J.V Hilliard {as taken from his website} ... Born of steel, fire and black wind, J.V. Hilliard was raised as a highlander in the foothills of a once-great mountain chain on the confluence of the three mighty rivers that forged his realm’s wealth and power for generations.

His father, a peasant twerg, toiled away in industries of honest labor and instilled in him a work ethic that would shape his destiny. His mother, a local healer, cared for his elders and his warrior uncle, who helped to raise him during his formative years. His genius brother, whose wizardly prowess allowed him to master the art of the abacus and his own quill, trained with him for battles on fields of green and sheets of ice.

Hilliard’s earliest education took place in his warrior uncle’s tower, where he learned his first words. His uncle helped him to learn the basics of life—and, most importantly, creative writing.

Hilliard’s training and education readied him to lift a quill that would scribe the tale of the realm of Warminster, filled with brave knights, harrowing adventure and legendary struggles. He lives in the city of silver cups, hypocycloids and golden triangles with his wife, a ranger of the diamond. They built their castle not far into the countryside, guarded by his own two horsehounds, Thor and MacLeod, and resides there to this day. 

Follow J.V Hilliard ... ~ Website ~ FaceBook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Amazon ~ GoodReads


Kelly said...

This is not a genre I read often and I would't normally consider it, but your review makes a compelling case for it. (especially the world building and characters)

nightwingsraven said...

This sounds like a very compelling
story. Not to speak of what you said
about the large cast of memorable
characters and the world building.
I will definitely keep it in mind.
And thank you for your excellent

Sherry Ellis said...

Sounds like a very imaginative story!