Title: A Reaper of Stone
Author: Mark Gelineau
Publisher: Gelineau and King
Source: Ebook from NetGalley
A Reaper of Stone is a must-read for all fantasy lovers. It follows Elinor, a King’s Reaper, who is tasked with dismantling the old keeps while she is still struggling to determine where she stands in the world. This world is one stepping away from the old times of myths and legends, but the old world is not dead yet.
I really enjoyed the premise of this novel and, while I am not completely sure still why the role of Reaper exists in this world, I did enjoy the development of the book as the plot mixes nefarious plots, magic and mythology to create a world that is both believable and captivating. The pacing works really well in drawing you in and building to a finale that won’t let you go. The ending also allows for the book to work as a stand-alone as well as the first in a series which is something I particularly appreciate in story.
Elinor, as the main character of this book, is fantastic. From the first time you are introduced to her, from through the eyes of another character, she is fascinating. I instantly wanted to know more about her. Her motivation is gradually revealed and she becomes an increasingly more relatable and realistic character who you want to succeed.
The other characters in the book do come across as less developed. There are a few character tropes that appear and I felt like I didn’t get to know them as well as I would have liked. That being said, given the length of the book, none feel out of place or particularly forced there is scope for future development later in the series.
I really enjoyed the world depicted in this novella. It is carefully built up and the mythology around it is interesting. There are some similarities to Dune with the worm creatures, but this only helped to visualise them. I liked how a sense of the world’s structure is given without too much exposition, instead it adds to the characters and reader’s enjoyment of the novella.
All in all, I really enjoyed this novella. I found it a quick and easy read – perfect length and style for a train journey and the world really captured my attention. It has the feel of a traditional high fantasy novel, but not in a way which makes you feel like you have read it before. Despite the short length, this novella is full to the brim of story, yet in no way feels rushed or cluttered. I am curious to read the rest of the books in the series, as well as what else the authors have to offer.