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Joshua Robertson was born in Kingman, Kansas on May 23, 1984. A graduate of Norwich High School, Robertson attended Wichita State University where he received his Masters in Social Work with minors in Psychology and Sociology. His bestselling novel, Melkorka, the first in The Kaelandur Series, was released in 2015. Known most for his Thrice Nine Legends Saga, Robertson enjoys an ever-expanding and extremely loyal following of readers. He counts R.A. Salvatore and J.R.R. Tolkien among his literary influences.
J.C. lives in the Midwest with his wife and two dogs. He is recently received his M.A. in English Literature, and he continues to craft his own dark fantasy world. Before he had completed junior high, J.C. had received his first box set of Dungeons & Dragons and devoured the J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He has had a passion for the fantasy genre ever since.
Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Drast and Tyran are brothers, brave young men from a less-favored tribe, and descendants of the dragon slayers. Their father would rather have them pursue the dream of immortality and harness the secrets that have been refused his people over the years, but destiny may have a different path for the two heroes. Follow them in this exciting fantasy to discover new worlds, new creatures, and their encounter with the God of Death in Anaerfell by Joshua Robertson and JC Boyd.
Joshua Robertson and JC Boyd have crafted a fantasy with almost all the great literary elements any reader could want in this kind of narrative. From the writing to themes and characters, they excel in the craft. The characters are plucked from a world that is filled with magic, where men dream and are very ambitious, and where conflict is the order of the day. The setting is wonderful, peopled with legendary tribes and magical creatures that readers would be delighted to encounter. It is fascinating to see how the quest transforms the characters, altering their vision of the world and their core values.
Anaerfell has great writing. Yes, the originality of style and the clarity of the narrative voice come across in a distinctive manner. There is no way the reader can remain indifferent to the seductive writing, the intricate and character-driven plot, and the exciting setting. I was utterly blown away by the story. It is wonderful to note how the authors create a balance between intensity of dramatic episodes with humor and consistent descriptions. This is one of those books that will enthrall fans of fantasy. An epic tale with invaluable lessons!
Anaerfell by Joshua Robertson and JC Boyd is an epic fantasy that is centered on one of the deep-most longings of humanity — the desire for immortality. In this story, readers will encounter two powerful characters on a perilous mission. Until now, Drast “the Simon Slayer” and Tyran, two brothers, each with a deadly tragic flaw, have lived only with the hope of fulfilling their father’s dream for immortality. But a new path opens to them and they set out on an adventure that will change their beliefs, their core values, and the world around them. Join them as they face deadly creatures, dragons, manipulative skin-switchers, and the God of the Dead. It is intense. It is passionate. It is dramatic.
When I pick up a fantasy, there are a number of things I look forward to and the first is that the author should take me away from my own world. Joshua Robertson and JC Boyd have created a legendary world with its own rules and principles, but what is interesting is how they make the reader believe this world really exists. There is a compelling cast of characters, including Drast, Tyran, Kaligula and many others, and the authors were keen to limit the number of characters to the essential. There is a lot of action to engage the reader. Right from the very beginning of the tale, the reader is introduced to action and it goes on unabated. Anaerfell features great writing, with vivid images and scenes, great dialogues and exotic words that sound like magic. This is a tale of adventure, spellbinding and utterly entertaining.
Their father has just one dream for them: “immortality with absolute power.” He has designed a path they’d travel to attain it, including access to the powers of a powerful priest by killing him. Will these two brothers, Drast and Tyran, follow through with their father’s wishes; will they succeed in killing the God of Death himself or will they embrace a different path? In Anaerfell by Joshua Robertson and JC Boyd, readers are plunged into a fantastic world with exotic tribes, powerful peoples, and rulers, a world that is as exciting as it is treacherous. In this world, two heroes follow a dangerous path to complete a quest. They face magical creatures like the dragons, meet characters with sinister powers and face the God of Death. Can they come out alive?
Anaerfell is a title that readers will love to put on their shelves with the likes of Tolkien, a very complex and multilayered story that has many lessons about life and purpose. The plot is fast-paced and designed to have the reader leafing through the book until the very end. I enjoyed the writing and how it excited my imagination; it features very vivid descriptions and interesting conversations. Another thing that will catch the attention of readers is the originality in plot, in concepts developed throughout the story, and in the cast of characters. Reading about dragon people and a clan that could make others ageless is intriguing. There is a lot in store for the reader in this book. I will recommend it for its high entertainment aspects, the awesome characters, the intricate plot, the exciting adventure, and the excellent writing. This is one of the rare stories that will carry readers beyond their world and make them dream of new places and worlds, finding delight in them. It was the best escape I have had in a while.
As a huge fan of fantasy, I love to read as many high and dark fantasies as I can. Anae4fell was one of my favourites.
The story tells the tale of two brothers, different yet alike with a tyrannous father who forces his sons to carry out his will for his own bloodthirsty, selfish gain. This includes war, torture and murder. Out of the two brothers, I liked Tyran more, as he had a deep, humane longing for love and Drast seemed to be more cold, though always trying to please his father. This was an interesting take on seeing the story from the "bad guys'" perspective - the evil family takes over the kingdom and murders the opposition's relatives. The quest said to be for glory is for Tyran and Drast's father's benefit only threatening to turn the good folk of the city against him. This dark fantasy had me reading whenever I could manage - on the train, by lamplight before bed, and at my lunchbreak at work.
The writing style held many original similes that struck vivid images in my mind whilst reading - a sign of great writing. One part of the book even made me cry a bit - on the train, too, so I probably looked like a right fool.
The ending was, for me, perfect - obviously I won't say what it was here. Great work, and highly recommended. I'll be buying the next book as soon as possible.
As a reader of Robertson's previous book, Melkorka, I can honestly say that Anaerfell has wildly surpassed my expectations. WILDLY. Again, the writing was beautiful and flows in a way that sometimes makes you feel like you're reading poetry. I didn't think there were people this day and age that were capable of putting words and phrases together like this. I thought that kind of talent died with Tolkien. But Anaerfell is full of quotable things that made me stop, stare at nothing and really think. I had to put the book down a number of times just to absorb the words I'd just read. It is that wonderful.
I love that I really escaped while reading this book, just like I did with Melkorka. As a lover of fantasy, that's what I really want - a solid escape. I don't want my mind to wander when reading. My husband and kids walked in on me several times reading Anaerfell, trying harder than they're used to to get my attention. That's saying something.
I honestly enjoyed every chance I had to pick up this book and delve into its world.
Anaerfell is one of those novels you cannot put down; you know you must sleep eventually, but the world of fantasy calls to you through the writing of Robertson and Boyd. Anaerfell follows two brothers who are on the ultimate quest to find approval from a heartless father. It's a not-so-classic case of nature vs. nurture. Are we merely products of our environment, or can we overcome our past to seek some sort of redemption? The authors of Anaerfell may not definitively answer this question, but they do an excellent job of exploring its complexities.
This novel drips with betrayal, revenge, consequences of magic, and unspeakable violence. The reader is left as torn as the main characters (which is how you know it's well written). Add this to your Reading List! You will not be disappointed!
This was an interesting foray into a gritty Dark Fantasy novel, and this was a book that was deserving of placement into that subgenre. The actions of the characters throughout the book, while psychologically understandable at times, make it a struggle to cheer them on, much less care whether they succeed at their task to defeat Wolos, the God of the Dead. There is a lot of evidence throughout that Drast and Tyran have been molded into who they are by their father, who is abusive and power-hungry, which leaves the reader questioning whether the actions of the two brothers are their own fault or if the blame should fall squarely on the shoulders of their father. This is a question that really forms the core of this novel, particularly being explored in the second half of the book.
There was a point, about halfway through, that I had considered setting this book aside and not finishing it. The brothers had both crossed a line that I felt put them into nonredeemable territory. It was tough to pick it back up, but the second half of the book redeemed the rough middle. While neither brother really ever got back to the point where I could cheer for them as protagonists in the tale, it really explored what drove these two brothers to the point they had reached. There were times when I was mad at them for not taking the way out when it presented itself. They could have redeemed themselves completely by taking those choices. But their choices at that point are understandable enough.
The writing by Joshua Robertson and J.C. Boyd is quite masterful. It carried me through some of the rougher patches in the book, allowing me to press on even when I found myself loathing the characters and their choices. The magic system is inventive and has a good balance to it, forcing the user to lose years of their lives through its use. This is not quite as unique like Allomancy in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series, but it provides a very real consequence for using, or overusing, the magic in their possession. It is a system that certainly fits the story and the world that they crafted.
As a whole, I am excited to read more stories that take place in the Thrice Nine Legends setting. J.C. Boyd’s Strong Armed was a great entry point, having been short though dark in itself and the questions it forces the reader to grapple with. Ultimately, if you like a fantasy tale that forces you to reflect on some tough questions about human nature, this book will certainly fill that niche for you. If you like grand worlds and interesting settings, or unique magic systems, this book will not disappoint. If you love to read good, quality prose this book will be a nice fit. There are many positives to be seen. When it comes to the violence and actions it can best be compared to Game of Thrones so if you have been able to handle reading, or watching, that you should be just fine getting through the darkest parts of this book. And you will agree, at the end, that it was worth reading.
Anaerfell by Joshua Robertson and JC Boyd is an excellent addition to the Dark Fantasy Genre. The story is part of Robertson’s Thrice Nine Legends dark fantasy saga. The story follows Tyr and Drast Kaligula, who have found themselves embroiled in their father’s insane plot to destroy Wolos, the God of the Dead and gain immortality for their bloodline. Along their quest, they’ll face skin-changers and dragons on their way to a final confrontation with Wolos.
Drast and Tyr aren’t exactly sympathetic characters. They’re not your traditional “heroes” they’re much more in line with Prince Jorge Ancrath in Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire series, though I found myself feeling a lot more sympathy towards Tyr and Drast than I ever did towards Jorge. Both of the brothers Kaligula are basically forced to give up their entire lives and all their goals to help their father achieve his goals.
Like most works of fantasy, Anaerfell has a magical system in place, but the one that Robertson and Boyd use is quite a bit different than most I’ve read. They call their flavor of magic Koldostvo. I’ve always been one that thought that magic should have a price, and man does Koldostvo have a price. The more someone uses it, the older they get. They give up their life force to power their magic, though there are ways to cheat this in the story. Still, it’s a very interesting magical system that can be found throughout The Thrice Nine Legends.
The story is fast-past, brutal and engrossing. Fans of dark fantasy should absolutely not miss Anaerfell.
I mean, "Duh, it's a story," right? Well, think about it. Is every fictional book you've read a story? Some of these fantasies get so caught up in telling you about the world you're supposed to be whisked away to that the story gets left behind. Not so with Anaerfell.
Each character is distinct, with reasons to love and hate each throughout the book. The best kind of mental roller coaster.
The plot is unique. I pride myself in being able to predict endings. I couldn't with this gem.
The world is wonderfully revealed than dictated to the reader.
This. Is a story.
Let's start off with the good:
When I read this, I kept thinking back to the Drizzt Do'Urden stories set in the Underdark. It had that same tones of political intrigue, backstabbing, and darkness that I enjoyed about the tales of Menzoberranzan. I half-expected to hear someone cursing "Lolth!"
The magic system of the world was well-developed, and the characters were pretty well-written. They were perhaps a bit "grimmer" than I was expecting, and sometimes it felt like they went dark just to see how far the author could push it. But all in all, it sold the tone of the darkness very well.
I had to dock a star for two reasons:
1. The story didn't hook me. It's the way things are with stories—they can be hit or miss. I found myself sort of "slogging" through the book. It had plenty of action scenes, but it didn't really draw me in or make me care for the characters.
2. There were a number of grammatical and punctuation errors, and A LOT of misused words.
All in all, a solid effort, one that I'd recommend for anyone who enjoys very dark fantasy.
This novel is a bit of a different approach to fantasy. Instead of following the hero, we follow two villains. They are brothers, and one is more corrupt than the other. One only wants a chance to embrace love and be with a woman, however he neglects bonding with his warriors or making friends in the process. However, between his brother and father, he is forced to continue pursuing life as a villain. He isn't strong enough to detach himself and live his own life.
We have a dragon, magic (though it's called something else, and per Brandon Sanderson's magic is okay as long as it costs something, this magic costs a lot, it costs your life, and I found that very intriguing.) The more magic you use, the more aged you become, a very fascinating concept.
Not your typical fantasy, no hero wins it all, but shows how failures are possible, and follows from the villain instead. I would say a mix of George R R Martin and R A Salvatore. Death & Fighting.
There were a minor grammatical errors throughout. Mostly tense problems, words that should have had an -ed, but were in present tense, a mix between toward & towards, a few areas where quotes were misaligned, and a spot where the chapter didn't begin the next page (Chapter XXX), but for the most part very clean writing.
A good read for those wanting to read a bit of darker fantasy. 4.5/5 Stars.
Anaerfell begins quickly, jumping right into the action and never stops. Between battles and fathers with sinister intentions, the story unfolds carefully, deliberately, and simply. There are no overly descriptive scenery, yet you are transported to this world, very much experiencing it from the first page to the last. The writing is seamless; the authors write so well together you simply can't tell who wrote which part. I love the creative freedom both authors took with the story to make it unique.
Having never read anything like this before, I struggled a bit through the beginning of Anaerfell, mostly because the names were foreign to me, and until I grasped the Game of Thrones mentality behind it, it was a little difficult for me to understand. I would have liked a small dictionary to explain what some of the titles and names are. This would have enhanced my reading earlier on. I'm glad I followed through with it as it was definitely a good read. I felt for Tyran and Drast—wanted to smack them, then kiss them, then hold them tight and fix all their troubles. In the end...
I wasn't thrilled with the ending. I wasn't expecting the traditional happy ending, but I found myself a bit disappointed that both brothers die, and Dagmar is still refusing to offer Tyran the solace he sought or recognize the damage he caused his sons in his wrongness and quest for immortality.
I look forward to reading Melkorka and Dyndaer, two other books in the series to see how it all turns out and hope that perhaps Dagmar can be redeemed of his vile, evil ways in the end. I expect much more of the incredibly detailed action and certainly expect to be taken away to another world, much to my delight.
If you like the darkness of George RR Martin and the Game of Thrones series, you will especially like this.
I really didn't want this book to end, but when it did I was satisfied.
This fantasy novel was very suspenseful and as soon I read it, I was at the edge of my seat. I love the characters, the plot of story was very done.
It's about family, love and following your gut. The authors Joshua Robertson and JC Boyd are great writers and I would recommend reading this book if you love to read a fantasy novel.
Most fantasy stories follow the hero--this one gives readers a glimpse into the twisted journey of the villain. Rather than being stereotypically one-dimensional, Robertson and Boyd's dark characters are complex, locked in a constant battle with their cruel and power-hungry father, themselves, and their past. It is hard to root for them as they make the wrong choices time and time again, yet you can understand why they make them. I couldn't help but hold onto the hope that they would eventually break free, finding redemption rather than remaining resigned to their fate. Though the book was too graphic for me personally, for those who aren't bothered by that it is well worth reading. The story is compelling, and the writing of excellent quality.
From the beginning of the book, until the very last page, the action and suspense doesn't stop. The character development makes you feel as if you have known these characters for years. s you read, you begin to feel emotions for these characters, as if they were in your life. The battles are epic, the highs are high, and the lows are low. The final battle in the book would rival any of the other great fantasy authors. A must read for any fantasy lover. A must read for any literary critic. Joshua Robertson & J.C. Boyd outdid themselves again, cant wait to see what the next book has to offer!
Great read. You won't be disappointed!
I really appreciate the relationship between the brothers. It is real and raw. The characters have been well developed and you become invested in them despite there being no clear "good guy". It is a stay up and finish kind of book and I was very happy to see that there are further books in this series. I am looking forwards to starting Melkorka.
I was expecting this novel about good triumphs over evil, the knight saves the maiden and a happy ending with rainbows, fairies and true love shining like a beacon to the world. Anaerfell is not that. It is a dark fantasy about brotherly love & devotion warped by their father's ambitions and their need for approval from him.
I've been trying to put together a review for this book for a couple of days now. It was such a departure from what I normally read that I've been have difficulties finding the appropriate way to describe my thoughts about it.
The plot centers around two brothers who managed to stay loyal to one another despite the circumstances they find themselves in. They are not really admirable characters - each doing what they need to do to protect their family and themselves above what they may feel is right. In fact, more often than not, I found myself absolutely disagreeing with their actions, but that never once stopped me from growing attached to them or for wishing them success.
The plot is excellent, although I had more questions at the end than I felt I had answers. Robertson and Boyd seemed to have no trouble with writing smooth, believable, and easy to read dialogue that still fit their setting and furthered the depth of their characters.
I look forward to reading more by both of these authors.
Wow. I was actually reluctant, believe it or not, to read this at the time when I did because I had another high fantasy book on the go at the same time, but I am so glad I did. The world is so easy to lose one's self into and the characters are rich and rounded. I intend to read Robertsons other books as soon as possible and discover more about this land.
Story wise it is a step out of my comfort zone in style, but as a whole it is a vibrant and wonderful world that I recommend to any fantasy reader. The shocks and twists and turns in the story made for an unpredictable yet carefully constructed masterpiece. I honestly have no complaint to give from my own personal opinion!
Pick up a copy! Do it!
This novel was breathtaking from the start, full of suspense and mystery. Anaerfell was well-crafted with characters who defied the odds. You won't find characters like these in any other fantasy novel; at least, that I have read. I found myself gasping, shouting and sometimes, even laughing at Drast and Tyran. Sometimes you love them, other times you hate them! In the end...well, you can wait and see what happens! Anaerfell's would is beautifully done with an intense sense of mythology and culture. Robertson and Boyd use language in a way I haven't seen before. I have read Melkorka earlier this year and cannot tell you how exciting it was to dive back into this world. I cannot wait until the next book!!
Let's put this out there right off the bat.
The two main characters are brothers, and they are villains.
They are corrupted, because they have been corrupted slowly and without mercy over the course of their entire lives. They don't want to do evil and try to find different ways to not do what they are ordered to do. Even when it puts their own lives at risk. But the one thing they will not risk is each other. In trying to save each other over and over again they do worse and worse things, things they never thought they would do. They start out trying to help their father become stronger to protect the family, and in the end chase down the god that their society worships.
This felt very much like a Forgotten Realms book, so if you like that you will love this.