The city of Telstar has been freed and the enemy defeated. In the streets, the townspeople is celebrating, singing and drinking to the promise of better days to come.
Yet, at the top of an abandoned tower, a secret meeting is about to take place. Although victory was attained, questions remain unanswered. Some of Telstar’s deepest secrets got out and the impregnable city almost fell. It is unclear who betrayed the city and some will not sleep until the culprit answers for the betrayal.
Onthar, a high warrior dedicated to Tyr, deity of courage, takes it upon himself to call on emperor and queen, wizard and warriors, elf and orc, all heroes of the battle, to meet in secrecy and find out who among them betrayed his city.
But these are serious charges and these are powerful individuals. The meeting could easily turn into a confrontation, and if it does, it could achieve what the enemy could not: destroy the very city they all want to protect.
I went into it with almost no expectations - being from New Brunswick as well, there are no other local fantasy others I could find at my book stores. When I saw this one, I was ecstatic. I was a little scared to be disappointed by it. But the story had me hooked to the point of finishing it in a weekend, and finishing it both had me satisfied and wanting for more.
For only 200 pages, this book packs a LOT. You are met with a whole cast of characters that have their own very expansive backstory, and you get to know about a LOT of it. In a genius way, S.C. Eston separates the narrative into three parts: the introduction of the characters, the various enemies at play, and lastly the big reveal. The final confrontation. It's so perfectly paced to hook you right in and keep reading.
The characters are all very alive and interesting, especially Theodrick, who was my personal favourite. Trying to figure out the traitor among the group was both confusing and compelling, as so many different characters present their own motive and reasons as to why they could, or couldn't, be the traitor. And in the end, it all comes together in such a satisfying way.
I felt really attached to the world, and I'm really hoping there will be more either within this setting or, better yet, following the characters. My criticisms for this book are very minute, and personal. I felt the writing could be a little more elegant at times, which in consequence would make it less accessible. The Conclave is an incredibly accessible novel, especially for fantasy, and its short length makes it even easier to recommend. I also felt like while the characters were all very unique and intriguing, the dialog, at times, felt a little wooden. Again, that could be from Eston's own mentioned inspiration, Tolkien. There were only a time or two where I felt a little less immersed noting that, which is why I must emphasize that it's not only very personal, but infrequent.
In conclusion, I'm really happy I picked up The Conclave. This is a book I'll be recommending far beyond the 'check out this LOCAL author' dialog - this is a wonderful fantasy tale that I can't wait to continue to explore, if we're so lucky to get another novel.
This is the second book I review by S.C. Eston, the first for his debut THE BURDEN OF THE PROTECTOR and guys I had to wait two years for a second book, all's good because it was worth the wait. I am a fan of high fantasy, epic fantasy, dark fantasy, science-fiction fantasy...all things fantasy and S.C. Eston's works are perfect for anyone who enjoys reading fantasy with well-constructed worlds that keep you hooked.
The Conclave is the story of Onthar who has sworn to protect the city of Telstar at all costs. He has fought a long war and narrowly escaped the clutches of evil. He will stop at nothing to fight the people who promised to keep them safe.
Right from the start, you get this ancient world vibe of a society in a faraway land reminiscent of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars which I love.
As the story progresses, Onthar on the search for the traitor discovers that with each person he meets (all key players in the plot) he will learn that all that he thought was right in the empire--is not. Those he thought he could trust--are perhaps involved in what he fears the most.
There are many forms of storytelling even within storytelling we enter the story just as Onthar realizes something that has passed. I really like the way Eston approaches the story in a steady pace that builds with each chapter as we learn along with Onthar the perils of his journey. Secrets. Traitors. Orcs. Queen.
In each chapter we meet a key player in this treacherous quest. As a reader, I feel I am able to see and know what each character has been through and how each encounter ties into the web of lies Onthar believed, how their stories align with what he discovers and is yet to discover until the very end.
The world building truly speaks of how big this world is and how much more there is to know in potential books.
I have read many stories from S.C. Eston, and one thing that I always appreciate is the characters development. This story has so many characters, and they're all well defined and interesting. The plot is unique and make for a special story. I really enjoyed this book!
The Conclave by S. C. Eston is a fantasy book based in the world of Arvelas. The book begins with a worry amidst the protectors of the realm who have recently chased away a considerable threat to their city. The city is rebuilding, and people think the worst is behind them. The Seeker, however, is not so sure about that. The air is chilling, and a feeling of dread continues to seep within his heart. Onthar, the Seeker, calls a meeting of all the Vanguards and important people in a secret place. The meeting is to plan the further course as well as to find out about the traitor amidst them.
Eston’s writing style is engaging and flows smoothly. The interest spikes as we get deeper into the story making it hard to put the book down. The flashbacks and episodic introductions are used to explain the city’s current situation. Most of the actions and events are discussed in retrospect. The oscillation between past and present is visible and keeps the reader’s interest.
Even while being vague, the author can arise the sense of dread and fear that plagues the characters. However, the description of characters is effective and prevents them from merging in the shadows. Each character has its own story, which is reflected in the book.
I enjoyed reading this book with a fast-paced narrative with multiple characters and viewpoints. The shift in narratives is clear and makes the reading experience enriching. The book ends on an ambiguous note with a promising sequel to this story. However, the threat hasn’t been obliterated even though the story comes to an end. It will be amusing to read more about the world of Arvelas and the realm of Tilia.
The Conclave is a captivating epic fantasy novel. Young adult and teen readers who want a fast-paced, action-filled adventure with powerful characters will find this novel hard to put down.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Conclave and would highly recommend to fans of a good fantasy/adventure story. While it was a bit of a departure from genres I would typically read, I very quickly found myself fully engaged in the story and looking forward to seeing what was coming next. Eston did a fantastic job of introducing readers to his characters and their world, as well as recounting the events that brought them to the title meeting without allowing the story to become weighed down in backstory and world building. I found it to be a perfect balance.
The characters, despite their mythical powers, remain highly relatable in terms of their respective motivations, leading to believable conflict that builds nicely over the course of the story. It was an easy read overall, and while I felt there may have been an opportunity to better involve some of the lesser-used conclave participants or further explore their involvement, I certainly was not left feeling disappointed. The story had a satisfying ending, while still leaving ample room for future installments. Overall, a very impressive work.