Ilings Book 1 By Julia Benally
Published on November 1, 2018
In this highly imaginative world, the author creates a story filled with terrific world building. And even though the main characters are what we might classify as monsters, it is also a story about family and knowing where you belong.
In a land of monsters and soulless creatures, there is a secluded compound terrorized by a fallen demon-killer, the Grand Apwor. He’s claimed its youngest occupant Vijeren as his son. The Grand Apwor can’t be killed, he can’t be escaped, and his punishments are severe and horrific. Somehow, he knows where Vijeren is at all times. When a law enforcer named Zhin appears like a living flame, a family war that’s been sizzling for decades finally ignites. It drags Vijeren in, revealing secrets of a long-forgotten past and a family torn asunder in recesses of lost memories. Only Zhin knows how to kill the Grand Apwor, but the answer rests on the love between a father and son–something that Vijeren doesn’t have…
Pariahs is a book like no other that I’ve read in quite a while and to be honest I’m not sure where to start. Sometimes fantasy can take too familiar of a path – stories filled with creatures and races that we’ve known for ages: dwarves, elves, magic systems. But this book is filled with a fully-fleshed out world that engages us with new races, lore and societal structure. The author has created creatures we’ve never heard of, a time system using multiple moons, and main characters that each have a unique ability and because they are monsters their physical makeup also becomes part of the action too at times. As I write this I know that I am truly underselling the level of detail to which the author has created the world written about in this book and I wish I had the talent to know how to better describe it. It is complex and deep.
For me, the heart of the story lies with the three brothers and their relationship, although there is a case to be made for parental or father/son relationships to be the core of the story too. We first meet them in the opening chapters as Vijeren the youngest has snuck away to do something he shouldn’t and the other two brothers go to find him before there’s any trouble. The brothers are each adopted or at least something similar to that, and although they have not lived with each other their entire lives it is evident within the first chapter how close they have become. Although Vijeren is the main character, my favorite was really N’Nar who is always looking out for his two brothers. He’s truly the bond that has kept them all together during their years with Kinarrin their adoptive father.
Although I really appreciated the complexity this book brings, I sometimes wondered if it is was overly complex because there was quite a learning curve in new terms, such as Kabrilor, Retheliel, Uveliel, and so forth. In the beginning chapters of the book I took notes on certain terms to help me keep certain things straight, however, there is also a glossary at the end that I didn’t realize immediately. Taking notes or referring to the glossary really helped and I appreciated it was there.
Overall, I definitely recommend it to fans of the fantasy genre who are looking for a more complex story with terrific world-building.
Rating: 4 stars
Thanks to the author for a review copy and the opportunity to provide an honest review.