By: Steph Swainston
Synopsis: ‘All mortals dream, it seems, of joining the Castle Circle. Always pushing for immortality. Always seeking to stop the spin of the wheel of fortune, as it rips through their hands, leaving splinters. How splendid it would be to be eternal, and safe. But at the same time it is daunting to join such a fellowship.’
Jant is the Messenger, one of The Circle, a cadre of fifty immortals who serve the Emperor. He is the only immortal, indeed the only man alive, who can fly. The Emperor must protect mankind from the hordes of giant insects who have plagued the land for centuries, eating everything and everyone in their path. But he must also contend with the rivalries and petty squabblings of his chosen immortal. These will soon spill over into open civil war.
Format: The Year of Our War is the first book in the Fourlands series. It is 369 pages long, and delivers some of the adventures of Jant, the Emperor’s Messenger. It was published in 2004 by Gollancz.
My Thoughts: When you hear about a book with someone who can fly, or someone who is immortal, you could be tempted into thinking “This is a superhero book” or “It is probably like Twilight..”. Like I said you could be tempted into thinking that, but don’t allow those thoughts out! This book keeps you building with suspense from cover to cover, with characters that become more intriguing as you read on. I fully believe it is hard to write one well developed character, yet in The Year Of Our War the author seems to do it as easily as breathing. With a few sentences I can understand a motivation with a character, or even relate to a character that I would not normally feel anything for!
Outside of the characterization, the world-building is amazing. After finishing this book I feel like I have been to the towns and city mentioned in the book. I have peered over mountains as Jant flies around, I have even seen the dreaded horde of insects coming to destroy armies. The imagery used throughout the book allows for easy visualization, and the society just seems so lifelike.
I had read this book when I was younger, and I had trouble with it. I realized this week my difficulty. This story enters you into a fully developed world, and leaves you with problems still in the world. I was not force fed a plot that gave all the answers by the end, I was allowed a peek into another world, and when my peek was over that was all I knew.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. There are not many Fantasy books out there that deal with drug abuse as central to the plot! I think my local bookstores must have been rubbing their hands in glee when they learn I read this book, as now I must go buy the rest of the series!
Feel free to leave your thoughts below 🙂