Here is my review of Book 1 of The Rose Shield: Catling’s Bane by D. Wallace Peach.
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.
Summary (from Amazon):
In the tiers of Ellegeance, the elite Influencers’ Guild holds the power to manipulate emotions. Love and fear, pain and pleasure, healing and death mark the extremes of their sway, but it’s the subtle blends that hook their victims’ hearts. They hide behind oaths of loyalty and rule the world.
A child born in the grim warrens beneath the city, Catling rues the rose birthmark encircling her eye. Yet, it grants her the ability to disrupt the influencers’ sway. Established methods of civil control disintegrate before her. She’s a weapon desired by those who reign and those who rebel.
To the Influencer’s Guild, she’s an aberration, a threat. They order her death and thus the betrayals begin. One woman protects and trains her, plotting to use her shield to further imperial goals. No longer a helpless child, Catling has other plans. As chaos shakes the foundations of order and rule, will she become the realm’s savior? Or its executioner?
The Rose Shield Tetralogy – a blend of science fiction and fantasy.
Welcome to a world of three moons, a sentient landscape, rivers of light, and tier cities that rise from the swamps like otherworld flowers. A planet of waterdragons, where humans are the aliens living among three-fingered natives with spotted skin. Where a half-blood converses with the fog and the goddess plans her final reckoning.
Follow Catling’s journey as she grows from childhood into the deadly force that shapes the future. She is the realm’s shield, an influencer, assassin, healer, mother, and avenger. And all she wants is to go home.
The books of The Rose Shield Tetralogy
- Catling’s Bane
- Oathbreakers’ Guild
- Farlanders’ Law
- Kari’s Reckoning
What I liked:
This is an epic fantasy story in the vein of Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher, or the late Robert Jordan. It is a richly envisioned world filled with vibrant characters that surprise you at every turn. There are no stereotypical archetypes here, but characters that do move, act, and react to the situations and circumstances of their lives in ways that seem both logical and stunning. The twists in action keep the story from falling in the normal pace of fantasy epics where the humble-hero escapes peril and becomes savior but in a satisfying way. The layers upon layers of motivation in each character kept me as the reader from figuring out where things would finish. The detailed world with its twists on mythical and more mundane creatures aided the story in ways where a lot of high fantasy writers weigh their stories down and make them sluggish. This was masterful writing.
What I didn’t like:
The “power” of the influencers, and Catling’s unique ability, read a lot like Robert Jordan’s “one power” in his Wheel of Time series. At first, it was all too familiar. I do have to say, though, D. Wallace Peach made it her own and added a mix of details to this power that makes it unique. I can see the influence of other writers (like the aforementioned Jordan, Sanderson, and others), but it is only that, an influence. By the time I finished the book, the similarities stopped and something altogether new emerged.
Here we have a book that needs recognition by the world at large. There are many, and I do mean many, books that get a lot of attention that fail miserably in comparison to what author D. Wallace Peach has created here. This is a world readers are longing to find. These are characters fantasy fans need to know. My only head-scratching question I have after reading just this first book is, where is Netflix or Amazon with their offers to make a high-budget series of this?
Have you read the book? What are your thoughts on it? Maybe you’ve read others in the series? I’d love to hear about them.
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