Review: _The Burning Land_ by Victoria Strauss

August 31, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Posted in Book Review | Leave a comment

Only two magics exist in the world, Shaping and Dreaming. A strong religion helps to bind the people together waiting for the return of the god Arata. This is the Fantasy world of a new novel in the genre. Two people struggle with change coming to their world in _The Burning Land_ by Victoria Strauss. The author creates an entertaining book for readers through its setting, characters and themes.

The setting in this book is vivid, described well by the author. Arsace is the dominant kingdom coming out of a period of chaos from a deposed oppressive government. Everything is being slowly restored such as buildings, especially the temples of the religion of Arata. This religion revolves around a desert region called the Burning Land. The people of Arsace believe their wounded god sleeps under this desert, so the land is sacred to them and must not be violated. Ms. Strauss brings the setting to life with her realistic descriptions of a unique fantasy world.

Next, the characters in the book are admirable as they change and grow though out the story. Gyalo is a shaper priest dedicated to serving his religion. Sent on a mission to find some exile shapers, he undergoes many trials that test his faith and changes his worldview. Axane is a woman of the hidden city of Refuge. She is a Dreamer who fears being locked away to sleep her life away. Her community also demands that women marry and have children. These pressures force her to question her faith. Interesting secondary characters provide help and other points of view that aid the main characters in their growth.

Finally, the themes of religion and faith gives the book a thought provoking conflict. In the book, the religion of Arata holds that the people wait for the awakening of the god and a coming of paradise   E. Shapers have the ability to create things out of inanimate matter, but it is strictly controlled by a drug out of fear of their powers. When Gyalo meets Axane and the people of her community, he ends up in a spiritual conflict. This becomes greater after he returns to his own community and is treated badly by his superiors. Axane suffers her own conflict in trying to accept that her people’s beliefs were wrong. The author uses these conflicting themes to make the story compelling.

_The Burning Land_ by Victoria Strauss is an entertaining, different Epic Fantasy novel. It has interesting characters, a distinct setting and thought provoking themes that leaves the reader with a lot to think about the book. Ms. Strauss adds an intriguing world to the Fantasy genre that promises to get more interesting with the next book


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