Equivocal Destines by Raymond ClarkeEquivocal Destines by Raymond Clarke

Series: Upheaving Nidola #1
Genres: Action & Adventure, Dark Fantasy, Epic, Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult
Published on January, 2015

The future for 16-year-old Taal appears to be drearily set. Toiling away in the dusty, coastal town of Takelberorl, the intellectual and intuitive young man tries his best to shed an optimistic light on a life of mundane chores and routine self-defense classes. But a malevolent twist of fate soon turns his laborious life upside down.

Leaving his friends and family behind, he is forced to embark on a journey of unparalleled proportions, one that will challenge all of his previously-existing assumptions and expectations about life.

From the battle-scarred plains that surround the place of his birth, through regal cities and across pristine mountain wildernesses full of mysterious forces, Taal and his makeshift band of renegades search valiantly in a quest to unmask the evil forces conspiring to annihilate all races. Taking heart-pounding risks and suffering tumultuous trials, the team experiences both horrific battles and unexpected delights.

Powerfully descriptive and yet lyrically poignant, Clarke reveals the land of Nidola as one of not only diverse wonders and startling beauty, but also exposes a world where seemingly benign occurrences have often surprising and even deep meaning. The radiant and dynamic characters transverse exquisite landscapes that are both hauntingly beautiful and fiendishly dangerous. Adventurous and exciting, yet thought-provoking and memorable, Taal’s adventure transports the reader to a unique place that won’t soon be forgotten.

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The first page of this book made me laugh, in just one paragraph and a sentence, Taal’s character jumped off the page. Sixteen years old and employed to tend a field full of crops, he’s doing what anyone would do in a dreary, dead-end job – he’s daydreaming. What made me laugh, however, was the way he scolded himself for doing it and then heads straight back to his thoughts.

Equivocal Destines is told in the third person, and the standard of writing is exceptional. You can really ‘hear’ Taal’s voice as his thoughts battle on between dreams and responsibility.

Turning the page brings an introduction to the landscape, but the story doesn’t stop while this information is provided. Taal’s perception of facts, an introduction to his friend and a brief hint to events that feature later in the book makes it interesting reading.  The writing is descriptive, but every sentence moves the story forward as action, backstory and characterisations are revealed at a balanced pace.

Despite intending to only read a few pages to assess it, I found myself at the end of the sample before I realised it, and have since gone on to buy the book to read in full.

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