Adria Idonea has always awakened from dreams of drowning. Throughout her childhood, Adria has awakened entangled in her linen sheets in her tower at her father's mountain citadel of Windberth. She has awakened within sweat-soaked furs as a young woman among the Aesidhe, the Wilding Ghosts of the deep wood. Adria has awakened far too many times between the water and the air, gasping for breath and grasping for... something already lost.
The dreams quickly fade, but the fear remains, for Adria's is a mind divided, a life in balance, heir of a nation on the brink of war.
In the wake of the War of Scars, Adria's father carved a kingdom out of the scattered settlements of fledgling nobles. He forged a faith from the ashes of old religions left smoldering beneath the boot heels of long-lost armies. Now, at last, Heiland is a realm of order, held in a balance as careful as the black and white of a king's chessboard. A perfect order, except for... a few ghosts.
The Aesidhe, now guided by Preinon, the exiled brother of King Ebenhardt Idonea, have become a challenge to the King of Heiland, to its Knights of Darkfire, and to the Matron of its Holy Sisterhood--a challenge made more potent by the unexpected arrival of a second great exile--young Princess Adria herself.
Now, the games of chess taught to her by her father begin to play out on a grand scale, in the past and the present of her life, as Adria fights for a place in her world true to the destiny of a princess and the heart of a Hunter of the Aesidhe. And even as she returns to the spires of Windberth to fulfill a promise to her brother Hafgrim, the newly knighted Prince of Heiland, she remains uncertain of her status--royal scion... or exiled traitor?
The War of Scars may have ended, but the legacy of shattered kingdoms and broken faiths has left the heirs of scars with an uncertain destiny in a fragile world. Torn between the legacy dictated by her father and the faith offered by her uncle and his new People, Adria knows that, as the Aesidhe have taught her, the mind divided can only defeat itself.
-The Heir of Scars I, Book One: Ghosts of Heiland-
At seventeen years of age, Adria Idonea has already seen both sides of war. Once princess in a citadel tower, almost storybook, she left to become a hunter, a healer, and a warrior among the enemy, in the deep wild of southern Heiland.
But a promise she made brings her once again to a choice. Who has she been? Who would she become?
Her way begins with a misstep, but Adria Idonea has learned to walk new paths before, guided by memories, shadows, and perhaps even ghosts.
Writing: 5/5 stars It may be hard to understand the title of this review so I am starting with my thoughts on the writing before the plot (out of order from my usual regime). There is a certain lyricism to this author's writing that is deeply reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe. The plot and story are nothing like Poe's works so I AM NOT suggesting that this author is a knock off and it is entirely possible that he's never even read Poe (for all I know) - but the romanticism and tenderness with which he treats the English language and his obvious love affair with refined speech are most definitely familiar - and happily so. This piece is free from the rhymes or repetition that is often associated with poetry, but the author is undoubtedly a poet to be sure. I don't doubt that, with his skill and vocabulary, he could spin a deliciously captivating web of literature on any topic one might give him.
Plot: 4/5 stars I don't often read novella's because I find that they are rarely able to produce the depth of plot and scope to adequately inspire emotional connectivity in me; I like to be immersed in a story at length where I can escape the stress and toils of my own reality for a time. That said; I am torn on this review because I cannot comfortably accept the label of `novella' for this piece. When I pick up a read I expect a certain series of elements from it regardless of the length: character introductions, plot development, character development, the problem/villain/perspective to be overcome, the climactic moments of chaos leading to resolution, and the ending where everything is tied neatly (or even most of everything) into a pretty bow. With this piece I felt as though I've only read the first few chapters of a much larger story (and as this is labeled "Part 1" I feel comfortable in assuming that my inclinations are correct) - character and plot introductions in this piece are certainly rich and decadent. An emotional connection between myself and the characters has already begun to form in such a short amount of time due to the author's incredible talent as a writer. However, the full scope of the plot is (obviously) not yet clear and the other elements that I look forward to are yet to be revealed. The one-star loss is on the sole basis that I feel like I'm being teased like a mule with a dangling carrot; given just enough of a whiff to catch my interest but not enough to sate my hunger. The four-star gain is for the masterful delectability of said carrot, which will keep me pressing forth in the hope of even a tiny nibble. Or, in other words, I have every intention of reading the rest of the parts to this story and I am even looking forward to them, but I also wish that I didn't have to wait for them.
Characters: 5/5 stars It is honestly too soon to tell if the characters are going to stand the test of time but for this piece they are certainly fascinating individuals and with the author's obvious talent in evidence, I see no reason to believe that they will disappoint in future installments.
Editing/Formatting: 5/5 stars This work is clean and precise; proper uses of tense, perspective, verbiage, etc. Formatting is flawless, navigable, and pleasing.
Originality: 5/5 stars Sometimes when I pick up a book where an author has attempted to create their own language(s) I cringe. Language, in general, has fascinated me from a very early age and, as such, I have studied six languages in addition to my native English - all spoken languages share the same basic principles of structure and pliability that many made up languages are incapable of supporting. From the samples provided in this piece, however, the author seems to also be a student of language (or by happy accident) which was a pleasant surprise. The genre is relatively new to me but the foundations and cornerstones for the full tale which were set in this piece were certainly a new experience for me and I, for one, cannot wait to see where they lead.
Jacob Fallling has a style of writing that fits perfectly with the type of story he is trying to tell. It's difficult to explain exactly what I mean other than to say his writing is beautiful, and exactly right for the fantasy world he has created in this novella.
Ghosts of Heiland is the story of Adria who has learned to live among a tribe of people who are not her own. The story opens with her being recognized by a guard as she raids a village of what used to be her own people. As the story develops we find Adria is much more than we originally thought and that she made a promise in the past that she must now keep, even if it means upsetting the life she now loves.
This was a really good story, my only complaint is that I felt at times like I'd started halfway through, that some of the detail dropped in had actually been provided in a previous story. I believe the reason for this was the length of the book and the fact that there are others to come, and I would imagine that the few issues I had in this area will fix themselves in book two.
The author builds a compelling world that drew me in right from the start - definitely worth the read.
I was given this book in return for an honest review. This is a novella, so I will keep a short story review, short. Adria was the pincess of the Aeman of Heiland, she left to join the Aesdhe, The Wilding ghosts of the deep wood. There she learns to be a healer and a warrior. She doesn't know who she is at times, a healer or a traitor. She has terrible dreams of drowning, a promise to fulfil to her brother, Hafgrim, and some ghosts as well. During a raid on her homeland to feed the homeless and starving, she crashes into her past. This is a novella, Jacob's books are pure fantasy. I dont' often read a lot of fantasy anymore and every time I read one of his books, I remember why I used to read it so much. He has left this open for a definite second book and you won't be sorry for giving it a read. It's enjoyable with well developed characters and a land, people and language all their own that the author has taken great lengths to make real to you. WaAr
I received this book from the author for an honest review.
I love books that pull you into their pages without remorse for what you leave behind. This is one of those books. It has a depth to it that is not easily understood unless you allow yourself to be fully immersed into the life of the main character Adria, and the world the Author creates. Even though this is only a Novella, the author does this all within a few pages and I can't imagine what reading the whole series will do to me. Creating his own language of the Aesidhe and using it fluently throughout the pages blew my mind away. This shows me the depth the Author is willing to go and the time he gave in order to create his new world. I see many similarities to what the Native Americans must have experienced when what they believed in and how they lived was considered savage and wrong.
Adria is a princess by birth to the Aeman of the Heilands, but ran away to join with the Aesidhe people, to learn to be a warrior and healer. In order for the many homeless and starving to survive, an elite group of "Runners" stage raids against the very people that Adria has left behind, the Aeman. On one such raid, the challenges she faced finding her place amongst the Aesidhe will be tested to the very limits when her past collides with her present. Now with an uncertain future she must leave all that she has come to love in order to keep a promise that she regrets now making.
This is a Fantastic start to a Series that I know YA readers of any age will come to love and respect. A definite must read!
I don't know where to begin with this book. It was so beautifully written as to be almost poetic at times.
Adria is an exiled princess but years among the oft hunted Aesidhe have taken any highborn tendancies out of her. She is a hunter now. She is stronger than she ever was and now cares deeply for the very people who were once her enemies. But she is not one of them. She has a family that she still loves despite all that they've done and a promise made long ago that she must now keep.
This is the beginning to what I assume will be an epic story. It's not a long book but it gets you into the world because there's so much to learn about it. I love stories where some characters speak different languages so we get to see the translation.
So many of the lines in this book are things that could be said about life today and that's amazing. It's a very deep book that gives you so much to think about when you're done. It's not one that I'll soon forget.
I would have liked seeing a little more character development but the characters were well constructed. It's got a pretty good plot line even and it's well written. In my opinion Ghosts is well worth a read.
This is a wonderful introduction for what promises to be a very exciting read. Jacob Falling has a strong skill for characterization, showing us not only well-rounded characters (particularly Adria, since we see everything in these chapters from her perspective) but also a well-developed society. We learn about the Aesidhe in a way that allows us to immerse in this world quickly and without the excesses of info-dumping that are sadly frequent in literature. The one complaint I can make is that this feels like too little - but then again, that sort of complaint is usually high praise, as it means we are looking forward to finding out what will happen next. Definitely recommended.
Quick read about a woman named Adria who can hold her own and is learning to become better and find her calling. This is not my genre of choice but I did enjoy the story. The author quickly pulls you into his world. WaAR