Debut author Tuomala poetically crafts a complex tale of war and love. Swamp witch Achane loves her dying sister so much that she traps the young woman’s soul in her corpse as a zombi. Inspired by this tragic act, King Milaus of Erekos, who has been too long at war while his land is ravaged by a terrible flood, kidnaps Achane and asks her to raise him an army of the dead. The motives and actions of the gods are wrapped into the stories of peasants and kings, intertwined so that it’s hard to see where the divine ends and the mortal begins. Tuomala’s deft creation of a complex world, filled with diverse cultures, ethnicities, and styles of magical practice, is couched in beautiful language that sweeps the reader along on an adventure full of unexpected endings and consequences.
– Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Tuomala’s style is clear but multilayered, showing strange translucencies and currents as the reader looks deeper, with the occasional sentence that chimes like delicate wooden bells, and a strong focus on people usually disenfranchised in epic fantasy.
This is one of the most original fantasies I’ve read in quite a while. The world seems to be influenced in equal parts by more traditional medieval European fantasy, Greek mythology, and African religion and folklore, and that makes for a fascinating, fresh take on the epic fantasy genre.
Erekos does get off to a slow start but slowly but surely draws you in so you want to know what happens to these characters. Events and people come together to put the whole story into focus. If you like your fantasy books with a little zombie twist and a lot of character viewpoints, Erekos may be the book for you.
This is an author who has a definite way with weaving lush, beautiful pictures with deceptively unhurried prose. I am looking forward to reading more in the future! If you are looking for something wonderfully different to read, give Erekos a try.