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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Review ARC: Shattering the Ley by Joshua Palmatier

Shattering the Ley
by Joshua Palmatier

Hardcover, 496 pages
Release: July 1st 2014

by DAW Hardcover

Erenthrall—sprawling city of light and magic, whose streets are packed with traders from a dozen lands and whose buildings and towers are grown and shaped in the space of a day.

At the heart of the city is the Nexus, the hub of a magical ley line system that powers Erenthrall. This ley line also links the city and the Baronial plains to rest of the continent and the world beyond. The Prime Wielders control the Nexus with secrecy and lies, but it is the Baron who controls the Wielders. The Baron also controls the rest of the Baronies through a web of brutal intimidation enforced by his bloodthirsty guardsmen and unnatural assasins.

When the rebel Kormanley seek to destroy the ley system and the Baron’s chokehold, two people find themselves caught in the chaos that sweeps through Erenthrall and threatens the entire world: Kara Tremain, a young Wielder coming into her power, who discovers the forbidden truth behind the magic that powers the ley lines; and Alan Garrett, a recruit in the Baron’s guard, who learns that the city holds more mysteries and more danger than he could possibly have imagined . . . and who holds a secret within himself that could mean Erenthrall’s destruction -- or its salvation.

Shattering the Ley is a unique and intriguing tale that does not quite fit into commonly recognized genres. It is not quite high fantasy, yet does have a taste of the high fantasy world with the use of different magics and manipulation of ley line power. It also has a bit of the dystopian society feel with the use of ley line magic for common comforts such as cooking, heating, and transportation, although there is no premise provided of a more modern society coming to ruin and rebuilding through the manipulation of magics. There is a rather unusual and promising blending of the two that had me eagerly turning the pages.

The story begins with Kara as a young child and follows her intermittently through early adulthood, but in the meantime bounces back and forth between various characters making it difficult to become invested in any one or two characters to a significant degree and in my opinion this disrupted the continuity of the tale. I wanted to become attached to Kara, but never really had the chance before we were off on another plot twist. The story is full of greed and hunger for power, brutality and abuse, and expounds on how this all influences the magic of the ley, as well as society as a whole and the social hierarchy.

I cannot really say the ending was satisfying, as I felt a bit detached by the end and I did not really care much about what happens next. It does appear there is more to come, but the expectation I felt left with was that it would just be more of the same rather than a new adventure. There is some really good writing here with a wonderfully unique premise, but for me the outcome fell a little short of my expectations. I received this book via NetGalley.

3 Sheep


About the Author:
Joshua Palmatier was born in Coudersport, PA, but since his father was in the military he moved around. Alot. He's lived in the states of Pennsylvania (three times), Florida (twice), Washington, California (briefly), Virginia, Texas (twice), and now resides in upstate New York. He has spent the majority of his life so far going to school, earning a Bachelors of Science and a Master of Arts degree in mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University, followed by a PhD in mathematics from Binghamton University. He is currently teaching mathematics (what else) at the State University of New York--Oneonta, taught for two years at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, and taught for three years at Bloomsburg University while taking a break between his masters degree and the PhD.

Joshua started writing science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories in the eighth grade, when the teacher assigned a one page Twilight Zone-ish short story. He wrote a story about Atlantis. It was from the perspective of one of the inhabitants as he escaped in a spaceship, watching his world being destroyed by water from one of the viewports of the ship. He got an A. Joshua has never stopped writing since, mainly focusing on novels.

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