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Reviewed by Caitlin Lyle Farley for Readers' Favorite
The Great Nations of Rendaraia is a scholastic account of the five great nations and their mysterious downfall. The first part briefly documents the history of Arilyness, Lithicus, Mithera, Danrock, and Noda. Each of these nations concentrates on a particular field of learning, from the spiritual knowledge of Mithera, to the architects of Danrock. This specialisation is only possible due to the Hodgeskeen, a nomadic nation that ties the five together through the trade opportunities and transport their air ships provide. One day the Hodgeskeen arrive at the capital of Mithera and find it in ruins, with no survivors and no clues as to who or what toppled the nation. The Great Nations fall one after the other, but nobody knows how until it’s too late.
This book is a visual feast filled with detailed maps and stunning illustrations by author Jayel Draco. The narrative focuses more on the culture and origins of the great nations than the story of what happened to them, but this fits the book’s presentation as a scholar’s effort to preserve history. I love that the author included homosexual relationships and non-binary gendered characters. Rendaraia is one of the most fantastical worlds I’ve ever encountered. The only drawback I found is that the names of people and places are a little difficult to remember. The Great Nations of Rendaraia is the sort of book you tuck away with the most treasured novels in your library, removing it from the shelf every now and then simply to admire it.