In the beginning, there was a tribe of nomads that took only what they needed and lived as one with the world. As time grew, the tribe became the tribes, and the tribes’ three wisest argued the nature of things: one argued light was the true creator, one argued dark, and one argued both were unreasonable and would only believe in what could be proved. They split the tribes into factions and distanced each other to far corners, leaving the undecided to rot in the fields.
To each group of believers, something new emerged: light earned the dominance of angels, darkness that of demons, and to the third, a great artificially-intelligent world known as Mechanus. A representative from Mechanus took throne over all, and decided that one day, in the case of unfaltering war, there would be judgment of all ideals, once and for all forcing the two kings to do battle in settlement. From here, they are left to their own devices for many years, unaware of the developing world they live in.
This sad, decaying world of progress’s history and future is compiled in the stories of a minstrel, hereby titled A Draemorian Chronicle: The Western World, Volume 1 of the Fated series, written by Sebastien Leonard.
The combination of Native American, Judeo-Christian, mechanized Steampunk, and Medieval high fantasy elements works to some degree, but lacks a thorough explanation of how much of the world works beyond a dismissive claim made by even the most informative characters that it simply does.
Most egregious is the use of first-person narrative to deliver each story as told by Sorrownote the minstrel and her many interviewees: the book often seems to skip between mentalities as each narrator waxes lyrical about the many aspects of their culture and mannerisms before suddenly switching into vocabulary, manners of speaking, and even knowledge and cultural habits that they would either have no knowledge of or had previously addressed as inappropriate. One early example is the mention of the Blood Plains Tribes having no concept of personal names, before addressing a character a page later with a specific name, no explanation given.
Otherwise the book is quite intriguing, with fleeting characters mixing with powers beyond their control in a well-explored world. The writing is very descriptive, attempting to stick to characteristic tones and hold the reader in a deep level of immersion as much as possible while keeping the story going. The book succeeds in seeming as if a collection of originally-vocalized tales of a long-lived minstrel, although at times forgets itself.
The book is very well edited in general and is quite beautifully laid out. The cover in particular, illustrated by Derek Sproule, is very soulful and full of detail that marks the publication as a professional and involved work.
It’s clear that a great deal of passion and labor went into the book from even a glance, and would be a gorgeous item to have in print. Despite its flaws, it’s obvious that the book will appeal to many fantasy aficionados who are happy to connect their own dots and enjoy the book for what it is: a rich setting with many tales in it to tell.
Leonard intends to expand the Fated series into a five-book anthology that will encompass a wider view of the world, as well as film and video games adaptations that are expected to bring viewers and players into dramatic and encompassing versions of events described in the books.