Chronicles of Collandonia: The Dawn of Change
by R. L. Waterstone
Trafford Publishing

"The boy’s eyes were swollen, the cut on his lip was not healing well, and he was still badly bruised and scratched."

Xelphea and its neighboring nations of Perlador, Ammyl, and Voerlow have known peace for more than half of a millennium. However, Voerlow has not forgotten its loss in that long-ago war. The bitter, warlike nation’s monarch is ailing and soon to pass on the throne to his wicked son, Kellup. Upon assuming his place as the leader of Voerlow, he attacks and leaves his gentle brother for dead, then hatches a plan to help him take over Xelphea by kidnapping its king and queen and turning them into his slaves. AnnaLusia, an Ammylite, has served as the Xelphean royal governess for almost her entire centuries-long life. When Kellup’s plot results in Queen Delshanna’s kidnapping, she uses her magic powers to protect the ruler she helped raise and try to establish peace in Collandonia.

Good fantasy fiction should always strike a balance of having one foot in the exciting and impossible and the other planted in the real world with characters that are charming and accessible. This story, the first in a planned trilogy, establishes that well, doing most of its world-building with politics and then treating the audience to magical powers and abilities with the kind of afterthought that a narrator and a world familiar with them would provide. The pacing of the book is crisp and quick, making it very easy for any reader to devour and indulge in—not just those looking for a new realm to explore. Without getting bogged down in mythical terminology or requiring readers to consult a map as a reference guide, this is a fantasy book that is fun to read and hard to put down. Perfect for a quiet weekend or some relaxing reading before bed, this title should be appealing to more than just those dedicated to the genre.

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