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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
A Clatter of Chains is a powerful opening in The Waking Worlds series by A. Van Wyck. An epic fantasy, this book's merits include its deadpan banter and gritty narrative, and the well-imagined and meticulously developed characters. This book has exceptional characters and my most favorite is Marco, a young man who ignores his origins and whose sole dream is to excel as a scholar in Helia’s Temple. But little does he know that he is of important birth and that his origins have been intentionally kept from him by the powers that run the Empire. He discovers bits of knowledge about himself, but can he learn the whole truth in a world where nothing is what it seems? Jiminy’s notoriety as a thief has spread throughout the Purlian desert cities, but now he can’t stay home and there is a deadly foe on his heels. He will have to enter into a terrible bargain to be safe, but won’t he be setting himself up for far worse a fate than what he is trying to escape?
For a debut novel, this book is successful on several levels and readers will be literally absorbed into the dynamics of the narrative. The setting is a place of magic, beautifully captured in fine and polished prose, from the ghettos to the temples with refined traditions. The places, the sites, and the culture are among the strong elements of the setting that are so well captured in the narrative. A. Van Wyck’s novel is a work of great imagination and the author knows well how to make readers forget about their immediate environment, transported into an exotic world to witness powerful intrigue, political machinations, and a phenomenal conflict. The characters are three dimensional, each crafted with a solid background, infused with humanity, and genuinely flawed. Apart from the key characters, readers will enjoy the company of characters like Keeper Justin and the hilarity developed around the somewhat awkward priest. Readers will find it easy to connect with the characters and the intricacies in the plot lines are skillfully designed to heighten the level of suspense, an element that makes A Clatter of Chains an absorbing read. I loved this book.