Adult · Fantasy · High Fantasy · review

A Fantastic Journey: The Fall of Ile-Rien by Martha Wells

Today, I’m here to talk about one of the most amazing trilogies I’ve read for a very long time. As the title reveals, I am talking about The Fall of Il-Rien by Martha Wells.

The synopsis of the first book states:

Ile-Rien faces the grim specter of its own imminent demise. Once a fertile and prosperous land, it is now under attack by the Gardier, a mysterious army whose storm-black airships appear from nowhere to strike without warning. Every weapon in the arsenal of Ile-Rien’s revered wizards has proven useless — their magic quickly identified by the enemy and rendered instantly impotent, their conventional arms spontaneously and inexplicably exploded. And the last hope of a magical realm under siege rests within a child’s plaything.

The tiny sphere was created for Tremaine Valiarde’s amusement when she was a child of twelve, presented to her by her uncle Arisilde, the greatest of all sorcerers. But the mage — among the first to identify the impending Gardier threat, along with Tremaine’s notorious father, Nicholas, and one of the first to die because of it — secreted a power within the orb capable of defeating the invaders. And now, years later, it falls to a young woman lacking any magical knowledge and abil-ity to release it.

Tremaine’s initial attempts have disastrous consequences, transporting her to a strange world far removed from anything she has ever experienced or imagined. In this terrible and wondrous place — where primitive magic cultures lag far behind Ile-Rien’s sophisticated sorcery, where noble warriors clash with dark wizards, where starving demons prowl for prey and the Gardier prepare their assaults — Tremaine must somehow unlock the sphere’s powerful secrets . . . before the slow and monstrous awakening of a hideous evil is complete.

This is intriguing enough but the synopsis is unable to express what a wonderfully wry character Tremaine is. I was initially afraid to read the novel because I didn’t think I would be able to connect with Tremaine which I have to if I am going to accompany her on her adventures but then I started reading and I was delighted by her contemporary voice. Tremaine reads very much like a modern character: fun, sassy with a just a bit of macabre.

The synopsis is also unable to express how wonderfully immersive the relationships in the novel are–not just romantic relationships (which are squee-worthy without being mushy) but also relationships between friends, between parents, between mentors. Wells is able to build up a community within the large cast of characters present–you know, the kind fandoms are made of? Yeah.

The plot has a lot of twists and is always surprising. The worldbuilding is superlative and not as dense as one would expect considering the genre of the books. Fantasy with a large dose of Scifi to keep things spicy. I could go into detail about how much fun I had reading about the matriarchal society present in one of the worlds or how the bickering between Tremaine and her dad made me giggle loudly but the truth is, I think you all should go and read this book. If you like high fantasy, you will love this one. This is not YA by the way but it is very readable, fast-paced, substantially intellectual without being pretentious and just an all around fun read.

Read it!

 

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6 thoughts on “A Fantastic Journey: The Fall of Ile-Rien by Martha Wells

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