The Dragons of Deepwood Fen

DAW. (The Book of the Holt, Bk. 1). Dec. 2023. 496p. ISBN 9780756418120. $29. FANTASY
Lorelei Aurelius and Rylan Holbrooke have nothing in common. Lorelei is one of the church’s most promising inquisitors, while Rylan is just a thief, albeit a notorious one with talent as a dragon singer. After a series of clues leads the two to the mountain city of Ancris, the pair stumble upon a collaboration between the church and the dreaded Red Knives, a discovery that brands the two as traitors to the empire. Fleeing on the back of an illicit dragon, Lorelei and Rylan seek safety within the Holt. However, where they hoped to find refuge, they instead discover someone endeavoring to awaken an ancient evil. The author of the “Song of Shattered Sands” series has again demonstrated that he can build a world with deep lore and engaging characters. Unfortunately, there’s so much happening that Beaulieu’s otherwise riveting story is mired in inconsistent exposition and an overly large cast of point-of-view characters.
VERDICT Provided readers can ignore its flaws, the first entry in the “Book of the Holt” series is worth the attention of those seeking an epic fantasy experience. Recommended for fans of Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan.
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