The Seer of Grace and Fire: Book 1
by Natsuya Uesugi

"‘That is a demon rider’, she said, pointing, her voice faltering."

Every year—for the past sixteen years—the people of Itheria recall the loss of all the male children to the Valky’r and her army. This day is known as DarkFall. Seventeen-year-old Timorn doesn’t understand (or care) how he escaped the Valky’r’s wrath all those years ago until a strange elven woman tracks him down and tells him that the Valky’r is about to return once again and that she needs his aid as the future king of the fae. While reluctant to believe or help her, Timorn slowly gets pulled into a battle that he never wanted to fight, along with a family that he never imagined he’d have.

The author’s book is a right-of-passage tale, from Timorn with his humble origins as a ranger to King of Itheria to Ethesian’s transformation from a princess of the fae court to a seer. While the story follows the all-familiar plot points of a heroic fantasy tale, Uesugi adds elements to it that are unpredictable and refreshing to see in the genre. Ethesian, in particular, is not all that she seems. She assumes an equally important part to the story as Timorn, the prophetic future king. She is a heroine that readers can admire for both her courage and strength since she identifies as both male and female, transcending the limitations of gender.

Uesugi creates a beacon of light for readers, young and old, with his bold statement of creating relatable characters that are not confined by society’s perception of normalcy. While the Valky’r is the antagonist of the story, breaking boundaries and perceptions are truly the challenge and triumph of this adventure. Uesugi crafts a narrative where the reader can imagine themselves as a hero in their own right through the eyes of Timorn, Ethesian, and their companions.

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