Newton opens a complex epic fantasy series with this impressive debut. The ancient fortress city of Villjamur is filled with human and nonhuman inhabitants, many of them refugees seeking shelter from a predicted decades-long ice age. The untimely death of the mad emperor Jamur Johynn forces his unworldly elder daughter, Rika, to assume the throne as her sister, Eir, gains a perspective beyond her palace walls and the members of the council make their own power plays. War and religious conflicts as well as more personal matters of desires for power and immortality set the scene for acts of compassion and betrayal. Newton handles his multilayered world and diverse cast of characters with the assurance of an experienced author and balances his fantasy tropes with elements of horror and political commentary in vividly descriptive, compelling prose.
Oh my, I’m very chuffed with that.
Edit: Let’s get all this nonsense out of the way in one post. Just found another starred review on Library Journal:
Newton’s compelling and visionary debut approaches epic fantasy with a fresh eye.
I think Library Journal has a circulation of something stupid, like 100,000, which was news to me.