by Ian Thomas Healy;
Published April 26th 2011 by Ian Thomas Healy
Source: review copy
Branded on his face and exiled following his forbidden affair with the Princess of Aelfland, Elven soldier Giele seeks redemption on the frontier across the ocean, but even fleeing half a world away isn’t far enough to escape the troubles that follow a marked man. He finds sporadic acceptance, even some measure of friendship, from a holy man, a drunken mage, and even a shopkeeper, but when he inadvertently crosses paths with a local gangster, the frontier is no longer safe. Giele accepts a surveying job for the railroad, but once in the wilderness, the gangster and his thugs ambush Giele and leave him staked out, wounded and dying.
Giele is rescued from certain death by an old native medicine woman and soon he finds himself immersed in the culture of the primitive but peaceful Horks. He begins to let go of the scars of his past, but the past hasn’t yet let go of him. When the gangster takes his hatred of Giele out on the Hork tribe, Giele realizes that his redemption has come at a terrible price, and a showdown is inevitable.~ Goodreads Blurb
Before we go any further into this, let me tell you 2 things that I find relevant:
1 – The fact that this review showed up now had nothing to do with this article, it’s sort of coincidental that I finally got to this title right about the time the article was posted. Funny how the Universe works, huh? (Also, as a personal note, I agree with him on the whole, though I’m not sure what the “be more considered” part refers to?)
2 – I’ve been in an adventure-reading phunk, I’ve noticed lately. This is the sequel of my YA-reading phunk that went on November-December 2011. It’s one of those moods, you know, when you just don’t feel it as much as you did or might at any other time. I’m sure it happens to all of us readers, especially the ones reading more genres. It’s like ice-cream, you know? I love ice-cream by large, but there are time I wouldn’t consider anything but lemon-flavored ice-cream, and times when chocolate-flavored is a must.
The plot of this novel starts out pretty medieval, we’re talking king (no, I will not capitalize it, the king didn’t work hard enough to earn it, lol), princess, marriage for alliances, pretty basic castle setup. Except it’s for elves, and the princess turns out to be her father’s daughter in more then one way. Poor Giele gets used and abused, and then ventures on to new and brave explorations.
The world-building was interesting, but I can’t say I felt I was 100% there. A lot of it has to do with my adventure-phunk, I’m more likely to be on board some thriller/romance ride, something more intense and less high-fantasy tale-like, you know? But Pariah’s Moon was very tale-like, and I’m not using the fairytale term for it because it’s not your typical fairytale setting. It’s something like a Wild High-Fantasy world, the concept was very interesting.
Giele was a rather stoic, admirable character, but I didn’t connect with him emotionally. Not even when the princess pulled her stunt on him, an I generally connect with characters in that sort of situation. The rest of the ‘cast’ of characters was interesting, the Horkish were my favorite part of it all I think, Ullu being the most fun. The Giele / Ullu part was pretty awesome, I loved their chemistry (and Ullu’s lines were great).
The writing style leans more on the old-school vibe, descriptive, omniscient and leveled authorial voice. Though there were tense moments, the intensity of them didn’t reach me much for some reason.
Overall, I felt this was a good story, with good characters and an interesting tale, but I didn’t have a lot of chemistry with it. If you like high-fantasy worlds and the journey/adventure type of scenario, you might want to try this out.