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Reviewed by Jessica Barbosa for Readers' Favorite
Kevin Tomaszewski’s Solace starts with a lone Warden named Alexander falling from the sky. He lands in what once was the resilient kingdom of Termina and is mistaken as a raider. Surrounded by unfamiliar and terrifying weapons, Alexander is saved by a hooded, masked man named Dresden. They barely escape with their lives and head to the tavern which was once the palace of the kingdom of Termina. Alexander is shocked to learn how different everything is from what he expected. The lands were ravaged by war and the people are broken down and beaten. Aside from the war-torn lands and the never-ending night, Alexander also has worries of his own. He came down from above the clouds for a reason, with a compass that has the ability to point whoever holds it in the direction of their destiny. He seeks to save another soul but finds that he may need to face hard truths and opposing forces in order to do so.
Solace is set in a fantasy world where people have been torn apart by human greed and circumstance. Alexander is so human despite the fact that he is a Warden, a protector some people may even view to be godlike. But he is flawed like all human beings. After the death of a loved one, he throws himself into this world where, even though people barely had anything left, they still continued to fight amongst themselves. I loved so many things about this book; its setting, its plot, its characters, and its development. My heart broke on Fifle’s death and on each character's struggles and painful pasts. That just goes to show how much impact this story had on me.
Kevin Tomaszewski's inventive story fascinated me and captivated my attention from the first few chapters. There were so many hidden gems in this story. This quote from Aeneas is one of my favorites: ‘Temptation always has its victories over the best of us. The key though is making sure those are only battles and not the whole war.’ This is a book that pits darkness against whatever remains of light, what you want versus what needs to be done, fear versus hope. Overall, this is an outstanding work that moved my heart and taught me so many important lessons along the way.