The Vatic Confluence

The Ardent Halo, Book II

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
521 Pages
Reviewed on 06/20/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A river can’t be rushed. The current, boulders and bramble in the midst, the river becomes larger than its passengers. So when I shoved my boat from the shoreline, my endeavor became a journey of obstacles, scenery, and faces old and new. Along the way, rocks bruised my shins, my palms became calloused by the oar grips, and ignorance abraded my ego. But with toil, comes resilience and appreciation. The more I row, the more I understand the passing landscape. And downstream the rugged, stunning topography shifts. The canyon walls encroach the river, suffocating the passageway. In the narrow confines, the stream becomes furious and tumultuous. Other vessels congest the waterway; their oarsmen are so focused on pointing their bows downstream they ignore the mounting paddock.

The Ardent Halo saga is the culmination of two stories - two elements of a challenge facing humanity: safeguarding the old while propagating the new. We have challenged the elements of this world, and those elements will define our future and fate. We love our children and their children to come but the river can only ferry so many. Discussions of the consequences of our manifest destiny are rare. When will the magnitude of our population be considered? Who will warn the others that only so many of us can drift this way? Let not hubris drown the travelers. Allow reflection to govern the morrow.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

The Vatic Confluence by Edie James is the second installment in the epic fantasy series The Ardent Halo, following in the footsteps of book one, The Steel Road. The story is told from multiple points of views, giving readers varied and fresh views of the expansive world of Arizware that James has built. The world has changed and the coming of a storm sets the stage for the continued adventures of Dreyah (a half-human, half-elf crossling) and Kennason, the lady steward, who is uncomfortable and precariously perched in a scheming royal court, waiting for her own opportunity to strike. This is a story of survival, not just of self and family, but of the people and the future. This is war.

Edie James delivers a masterful book two with The Vatic Confluence, further elevating two worthy female protagonists in a world that is depicted beautifully. The writing is clear and eloquent, and the characters dance comfortably within the narrative, the dialogue, and their internal thoughts—some of which provided my favorite ones in the book i.e. “The tongue talker is the shadow thief... Let the lady steward hear the truths he has stolen from her.” The battle scenes are so perfectly drawn that they unfold seamlessly, driving a reader from one scene to the next and unveiling a climax that explodes onto the page. Even ancillary characters come to life, but it's Dreyah and Kennason who, both jointly and independently, keep the pages turning. I would absolutely recommend this to readers who love first-rate epic fantasy.

Ray Simmons

The Vatic Confluence, Book II in the Ardent Halo series by Edie Jame, is a remarkable achievement in world building. I haven’t read the first book in the series yet, so I was a little lost as far as the different countries and societies involved and what was at stake, but I was able to figure it out through the great writing that seems to be the hallmark of Edie James. There is a lot to figure out as this world is very complex, as are the desires of the rulers. I can’t think of any book that I've read in recent years that involves such an original creation. But it is laid out beautifully with maps, dialogue, and action. I was not familiar with this world when I began reading the book, but I grew to love it and understand it, page by beautiful page.

The Vatic Confluence is epic fantasy at its best. I would have to say the strongest attraction for me was the world building. The writing was accurate and descriptive, but the maps were magnificent. The whole world is laid out in the best-drawn maps that I have ever seen in a work of fiction. The characters live in a medieval society and as such are more passionate about the goals they have and the blood they share. Dreyah and Kennason are as complex as any characters in such classics as The Lord of the Rings or any of the Terry Brooks epic fantasies. I fell in love with these characters and I fell in love with this book.

Christian Sia

The Vatic Confluence by Edie James is the second book in The Ardent Halo series, a gripping epic fantasy with well-developed characters. It’s a story that features magic, the struggle for power, shifts in time, and a people standing up against a powerful enemy. While Kennason wants to give the king all her support for the war that looms ahead, she is not in the good graces of the queen. The coming of Dreyah to the City of Thrones with claims of kinship with them changes the game plan. Will joining Norem’s cause allow Kennason and Dreyah to save the future and to protect what they value most?

The writing is wonderful and there is something magical about it. Edie James creates a powerful, imaginary setting and a conflict that moves the plot in amazing ways. From the very beginning of the story, I was gripped by the depth of character, especially the handling of Kennason. The scenes are succinctly captured and in a way that allows readers to follow the different perspectives and to understand the role each character plays in the story and in the conflict. One of the early scenes is when Kennason becomes Noval’s vassal. One sees magic and the unique gift that comes out when she fixates on a mug of water on the table in front of her and, from her sheer will, steam rises. I was intrigued and wanted to see what she becomes in the story. Her development, as well as that of other characters, is impeccably written. The Vatic Confluence features colorful characters and a narration that is done in a strong and clear voice. A great achievement in the epic fantasy genre.

Romuald Dzemo

The Vatic Confluence is the second book in the epic fantasy series The Ardent Halo by Edie James, a wonderful story set in an imaginary universe that is well imagined and beautifully painted. The white storm is headed for Cambria and war is imminent. But Kennason can’t prepare the king for the ineluctable events about to happen because of the queen’s hatred of her. She is about to find out a dreadful truth with the arrival of Dreyah at the City of Thrones and she knows the only way to protect her bloodline is to join Norem. It is not long before the Brotherhood of the Black Flame strikes. Dreyah has a quest of her own, but will she get what she came for and can she and Kennason win Norem’s trust? War is about to change the course of life as an invincible army moves towards the gate. Who can restore life to what it once was?

Edie James has crafted an epic fantasy that is filled with action and memorable characters. The reader is plunged into a world of magic, featuring characters like Dior, Aydris, Dreyah, Kennason and a lot more. The characters are elaborately developed and I enjoyed how the author uses the relationships between the characters to deepen the conflict. The story is beautifully told and I enjoyed the insights that are woven into the fabric of the tale. The author offers occasional reflections on some universally experienced realities like love, fear, loss, and solitude, with insightful statements that leave readers pondering on life such as this one: “Alone is a relative term. Alone is solitude amongst a congregation. Alone was an empty vessel upon a shelf.” The Vatic Confluence is a well-plotted and skillfully written novel set in a world that is evocative of adventure and magic. Utterly enticing and hugely entertaining.

K.C. Finn

The Vatic Confluence is a work of complex and dramatic fantasy fiction penned by author Edie James, and it forms the second book of The Ardent Halo series. Following on from the events of The Steel Road, we return to a world split into two, where the shield protecting our characters from the Old World is in jeopardy. The reborn Dreyah has an agenda to fulfill, power-housing her way across the realm to reclaim her child and find those responsible for her fate. Meanwhile the beleaguered Kennason endures more strife at the hands of those warring around her. When the two meet, their higher purpose crystallizes and the two heroes set forth to protect those they love.

Author Edie James has created a powerful and compelling fantasy realm with her world building skills, which engulf the reader in a sea of armies, politics, magic, family ties and age-old prophecies that enhance the realism of the piece on every page. Kennason and Dreyah both make compelling figures in this dual female lead construction, showcasing different strengths and vulnerabilities as well as giving us glimpses into different, exciting parts of the realm by way of their position and individual adventures. When they come together, the plot really takes off with some well constructed twists and turns, plenty of action and dramatic surprises that really tug at the heartstrings. Overall, The Vatic Confluence is a page-turning fantasy epic with deep commitment to its own workings, and a perfect continuation of a compelling series.