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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
The Trials of the Black Tower by Joseph S. Andrew is the first book in The Storm Blood Records epic fantasy series. The story follows Varion, an orphaned man who had never ventured out of Lyisien village where he grew up and trained under the watchful eyes of his mentor Gale. However, his world is turned upside down when Gale shares a long-kept secret. Before he knows it, Varion is packing his bags and leaving the only home he has ever known. Gale provides him with two options; to live in hiding forever without his real identity, or become the Warrior of the Black. It is the only option befitting his bloodline and the only way for Varion to exact revenge. Will Varion choose the easy path or the path of a Warrior of the Black? Is he ready for the new challenges?
The story is divided into two parts and each part focuses on Varion’s various levels of character development. Joseph S. Andrew wrote this story smartly and with intent. Varion is a well-thought-out and well-constructed character who has a clear path ahead of him, even if the decisions are hard to make. His relationship with Gale is his anchor, and Gale loves Varion. However, it is Varion’s journey to discover himself and learn to become the warrior he was always meant to be. I wasn’t expecting the story to be so packed with emotions. I was expecting high-intensity action and plenty of political tension, but not the turmoil of emotions that seemed to rage in Varion’s mind and body. The world-building is incredible, and the adventure runs high in the second part of the story. I was excited to read the next chapter and see what would happen next. It is a series to look out for because it has the potential to be one of the best epic fantasies of the year.