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Valley of Embers

(The Landkist Saga #1)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  466 ratings  ·  107 reviews
For hundreds of years, the flame-wielding Embers have been the last line of defense against the nightmare creatures from the World Apart, but the attacks are getting worse. Kole Reyna guards Last Lake from the terrors of the night, but he fears for his people’s future.

When Kole is wounded by a demon unlike any they have seen before, the Emberfolk believe it is
Paperback, 434 pages
Published August 16th 2016
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Gianfranco Bianchi Ebook version does not have a map included. Regards.

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May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

ARC provided to me by author Steven Kelliher in exchange for an honest review.

“It’s time we took control of our destiny rather than waiting for the ghost of a dead king to point us in the wrong direction.”

Valley of Embers is a great debut and a fantastic start to a new high fantasy that surrounds many characters that reside in a village that is being continually attacked by the dark kind, which are essentially demons being let in from The World Apart. Many of the people in this village used to live in the desert, ureview.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
*** 4 ***

I see so much potential in this series! Have in mind, this is the debut novel for a new author in the Fantasy genre, and in those I always look for the seeds of something beautiful to come. In the Valley of Embers, there is plenty that promises very good things to come. However, as every first novel, this one had some bumps in the road, mostly having to do with editing and stylistics, but I believe that this will be easily overcome in the future. The important part is, there is a
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I did receive this for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are my own. So I'm going to do this similar to how I do my video reviews. I'm still going to do a video review, so you guys just get it early. I'm going to go through my pros and then cons. You can already see my rating.

First and foremost, I loved the world of The Valley. Learning about the different peoples and their different ideas about the world was fascinating. All the Landkist were so cool, and I'
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
* I was sent this book for free from the author in exchange for a review *

This is book one in a new fantasy series which I am eager to keep up with. The series has very strong vibes of works like Peter V Brett and his Demon Cycle books, becuase this story focuses on a world where humans and demon-like dreadful monsters have to continually fight one another for survival. The World Apart is a place of horrors and every now and then some of these monsters manage to creep through and amb
Laura Hughes
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
The night is dark and full of terrors, especially for the besieged inhabitants of the Valley of Embers. In Steven Kelliher’s secondary world only a handful of walled towns remain as the last bastions against the night, and the dwindling population of Emberfolk struggle to defend their secluded homes from the Dark Kind.

Valley of Embers boasts an attractive and professional design both inside and out. Appearances really do matter - particularly in self-publishing - and in terms of supe
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Nov. 6, 2017: to celebrate the release of book 3 in this series, the first two instalments are only 99 cents each!!

This is all Michael McClung's fault, by the way. He said "old school epic fantasy with lickable covers" and I said "bloody shrimping fish resist this I cannot."
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book throws us right into the action, the first scene of the book is a battle with some pretty insane monsters. So if you're looking for a book that starts out with a bang, you will want to pick this up. The monsters are pretty intense, tentacle crazyness coming out of the forest and attacking the city.
This book is one that drops you into a fully realized world and it's a lot of info to absorb in the beginning. So when you start this book give yourself a bit of time to get into it. Th
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-epic
This was a book that wasted no time getting straight to the action, showing (as opposed to telling) the reader the dangers of The Valley. There's a lot of very cool world-building and info shared throughout, but it's all delivered via the story, free of info-dumps or long-winded lectures. This is a complex world of darkness and monsters, where fire itself is a legitimate magic. There's also an interesting history behind it all, a sort of post-apocalyptic high fantasy.

While the charac
Dyrk Ashton
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In my opinion, Valley of Embers is a dream-like epic fantasy tale not to be missed, a chilling vision of high fantasy horrors and delights that will have you cheering on the heroes and fearing for their lives. It’s crafted with great ingenuity, skill and care. In my mind, Kelliher’s style is an intriguing combination of Tolkien, Donaldson and Abercrombie, mixed and seasoned for a flavor all its own. I can’t wait to see what Kelliher comes up with next, not just with the story, but as his mastery ...more
J.P. Ashman
Jul 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this epic fantasy on Audible and was not disappointed.

Strong world building, combat scenes, adventure, magic and characters. Incredibly visual, but with enough 'down moments' during the adventure to make those fast, action-packed moments pop.

If you love the thought of magic wielding warriors, who harness elemental energies and wield them through their weapons, you'll love this.

This superheroes in a medieval setting. Hot blooded - literally - men
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while, a new voice ringing in the halls of fantasy sends the fantasy community in to watch out and look at this mode! This is exactly what happened when a chap I became friendly with on Twitter announced he was publishing a novel and a fantasy novel at that! Steven Kelliher is the author of the Valley of Embers: Volume 1 of the Landkist saga. Below is the synopsis of this fantastic novel!

For hundreds of years, the flame-wielding Embers have been the last line of defen
Kitvaria Sarene
This is a really interesting debut.
It took a bit to actually take off - the first 20% felt more like an introduction and worlduilding, but the 80% rest of the book really picked up the pace and had me hooked.

I enjoyed the magic, liked the characters and was intrigued by the plot - that only showed itself bit by bit and therefore kept up the mystery. The idea of Landkist, who have different powers was something I haven't read before, and the amount of fire and rocks being flung
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Valley of Embers was recommended to me on r/fantasy. People around there seem genuinely thrilled by it. Was the hype justified?

Not really.

Once upon a time, there was a community that lived in the desert. Some of them had the power to control fire. They were called Embers and they have been the last line of defense against the nightmare creatures from the World Apart. When evil came, King of Embers leads his people to the Valley that was supposed to guarantee them safety.
In a world where a gifted few are the last hope for survival, the Embers, gifted wielders of flame, guard against the onslaught of the dark evil. One such guard waivers in his belief in an ancient prophecy and his ability to protect his people from the creatures of the night. Kole has seen what no other has, he has experienced the pain inflicted by a fabled demon from the past, and now he is asked to lead the fight against this creature, the Eastern Dark.

His warriors need help from another forc
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An ambitious, sprawling tale. The beginning was intriguing though a bit frustrating, not knowing the source of the conflict and the players. But we're all looking to gain purchase at the beginning of every story.

Steven Kelliher is obviously a genre fan. VALLEY OF EMBERS in part feels like an homage to many classic fantasy tales. Some characters, plot points and aspects of the magic system are reminiscent of other fantasy tales. Even the naming convention adopted harkens back to older stories. O
Aidan Hennessy
I wanted to like this one, but a lot of it didn't "click" for me. I struggled with the early part of the novel, with the world seeming opaque, and found myself unable to differentiate between the characters apart from the lead, Kole. Luckily there was some real imagination in the background of the world and the magic system, and this kept me going. The last 25% really picked up, but unfortunately didn't totally make up for the slow start in my view.
Montzalee Wittmann
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Valley of Embers by Steven Kelliher is a great fantasy novel with lots of action, adventure, mystery, intrigue, creatures to give you nightmares, and more. It's a story of hope, heroes, demon-like creatures, and a band of people determined to save their people. There is never a dull moment in this book! Magic, mayhem, and fantasy fills this rich plot, well developed characters, and the scary world the author weaves for us. Great job! I received this book for a honest review.
Trevor Sherman
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and complex story told beautifully

I will write a more comprehensive review soon but for now I will say this is a great story and I am happy that I have an EARC of book 2 so I don't have to wait
T.O. Munro
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
A well paced read by a debut author - I reviewed it more fully on my blogspot

Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
(A bigger, prettier version of this review is here, on my blog.)

I’m actually a little embarrassed at how long this book took me to read. Not by any fault of the story or author, but my spare time this last month or so has been taken up by an alarming amount of non-reading activities (I will be honest with you, this is mostly code for ‘I’ve been playing too many video games,’ but I have also been painting and redecorating my house. I swear I’m sort of productive sometimes!).

This st
Aug 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
This is a tough one for me to review because I can't quite put my finger on what didn't work for me. What *did* work was the world-building and the magic, and the prose overall was good. The writing style relies heavily on figurative language, which gives the tone of the book this sort of mystical, ethereal quality, which I liked. I really enjoyed the magical powers of the characters; the embers, in particular, are a cool concept. In fact, I would've enjoyed even more exploration of ho
James Latimer
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indies, spfbo
An ambitious debut, full of interesting concepts and characters, plenty of action, and lots of lore. Not always the easiest journey, keeping track of countless characters while absorbing the refreshing novelty of the world - more like an Anime setting than most traditional Western fantasies - can be a challenge, but in the end it's one worth undertaking.
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this book. The world building and character development is really good and you get sucked in real quick
Kay Ling
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the world-building and the concept of The Landkist. The Embers with their ability to harness the power of fire were particularly intriguing, and the author did a great job of making them feel real.

The book opens with an action scene that sets the stage for the conflicts to come, and introduces us to a few of the book's major characters. After this initial scene, the first third of the book revolves around various characters arguing over what just happened, what it portends, and what s
Chris Jackson
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolute genius

I loved this book, every word was inspiring, and the different kinds of landkist was genius, making me wish that I could be part of that universe and be one of the embers. The control showed by all landkist was amazing, and it goes to show the difference our emotions can have on it.
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One hundred years ago, the Emberfolk of the high desert were ushered into the Valley for protection by their King, and a Sage known as the White Crest. The Ember King's people were meant to be shielded from the World Apart and their ultimate enemy, the Eastern Dark, but as time wears on, attacks by the Dark Kind increase in frequency and ferocity while the number of Embers, those who can absorb and wield fire as a weapon, dwindle. When Kole Reyna survives an attack the likes of which none have s ...more
Tyler Lowery
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was given an ARC from Steven in exchange for this review.

Okay, so first things first. I owe an apology to the man himself for taking so long. It's taken me a lot longer to read this than I had originally expected. So, if you're reading this, sorry Steven.


Valley of Embers is an ambitious debut novel. A lot of epic fantasy debuts tend to fall a bit flat due to either too little or too much in regards to the balance between the protagonists and the world itself. When bui
Mar 14, 2017 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
DNF @ 30% because:
- slow start even though with tons of action scenes... strange that, but I just didn't get captured...
- I felt disengaged from all the action because I felt disengaged from characters, thus not interested..
- nothing really, truly happened up to the 30% mark, so slightly bored...
- 'It's me, not you, dear Book'.

The above is based purely on personal preference and I don't feel it's fair to rate. I could have kept reading... I'm sure there's interesting stuff to happen ye
Mar 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Valley of Embers is a very ambitious debut, with a distinct military feel, and epic plot. We follow several perspectives on the front line, holding the barrier between civilization and the encroaching Dark Kind that has pushed them to the very edge of the world. The Embers have been on guard since well before most of the current generation, and it seems likely the only end they will see is their own destruction. The White Crest and the Eastern Dark are opposing sages who used to be the leading i ...more
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Steven is a fighter-turned-writer who resides in the Boston area. A former sports and entertainment writer, he now focuses exclusively on his true passion: epic action fantasy and sci-fi. He wishes all disputes were still settled with a friendly game of hand-to-hand combat, is a fan of awesome things, and tries to write books he’d want to read.

He hopes you like them.

Other books in the series

The Landkist Saga (4 books)
  • The Emerald Blade (The Landkist Saga, #2)
  • The Midnight Dunes (The Landkist Saga #3)
  • The Frostfire Sage (The Landkist Saga, #4)