First of all, thank you to the author and Book of Matches Media Tours for gifting me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Title: House of Bastiion
Author: K.L. Kolarich
Genre: High Fantasy
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Content Warnings: Assault, ethnocentricity, sexual references, substance abuse, trafficking, violence (from the author’s website)
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The characters are interesting and complex. None of them is perfect, and each is a good blend of strengths and flaws. I also really liked the world that K.L. Kolarich has created. It is rich and layered, with distinct regions, languages, mythologies, and cultures. I can only imagine how much work it was to create this intricate world! I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, and how the different perspectives worked together to create a story where I was really intrigued as to what would happen next. I had fun trying to think of which of the different kingdoms I would fit in the best with. Maybe Boreal? I am not totally sure though, but I loved the northern/snowy/druid-ish vibes (reminded me of “the North” and Winterfell in Game of Thrones in some ways). I also was captivated by the magic of that region, and the incredible metal from which they are able to make these basically unbeatable weapons. Definitely captured my heart!
One thing that may be a little hard for some readers is that there is a pretty powerful information overload in the first chapters, and I had to work hard to get through them to the point where I felt like I knew enough about what was going on and the plot pace picked up. I didn’t totally mind, since I really like complex worlds where I have to learn what’s what and who’s who. An information dump is hard to avoid in worlds like this. However, that may be a turnoff for some readers who prefer action to happen without so much worldbuilding and background setting.
There was just a hint of romance in this one, but I feel like the door has been left open for more as the story continues in sequels, and I think that would make the story even better. I definitely enjoyed this one and look forward to the next book in the series.