Review: Road of a Warrior by R.K. Lander

FF’s Star Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

I stand dissolute behind every word in the sentence that follows this one. If you love reading fantasy novels with elves in them, you’ve never wanted to actually be one of or at least among them as much as when you’ve started reading R.K. Lander’s The Silvan trilogy. It’s something else. Something you will want to discuss for days with other readers. Road of a Warrior is the second book and starts readers right off with the extraordinarily beautiful and ember-eyed half-Silvan, half-Alpine elven warrior Fel’annár as he takes down one of many Deviants, mortal humans that stay alive as their bodies rot away for daring to chase after immortality.

Fel’annár is part of a small group of elven warriors. His name means Green Sun. Closest to him are the following warriors: Ramien, the Wall of Stone; Idernon, the Wise Warrior; Calderon, the Bard Warrior; and a Spirit Warrior named Lainon. Just recently promoted to warrior status, the time is nigh for Fel’annár to learn a harsh truth that has remained hidden from him for a long time: that he is the illegitimate son of Thargodén king, the very king he has wanted to serve as a warrior, but also the very same father he has always hated for abandoning him. But just as the time has come for him to learn this truth, so too, must others. Fel’annár must also come to terms with a magical gift that he has. A gift that he doesn’t fully understand himself. A gift that he fears.

Reminding one Lieutenant Galadan of someone long gone, Fel’annár is an elf with something truly special about him. He is “The Silvan” to the warriors that know him and also this illegitimate son of a king. To Fel’annár, his father had never been alive. Even if his father was, he never saw it that way. “I swore fealty to Thargodén king with tears of joy in my eyes, and yet now those tears are of sorrow, frustration, disappointment.” There is much conflict and inner turmoil going on inside Fel’annár after he learns the truth of his father. He first chuckles at the news, not taking it seriously, but after he is left with no doubt, he reacts in a way that is both unusual and spectacular to envision, further surprising himself that he actually cared about his heritage.

There is more to Fel’annár than his beauty, skill as a warrior and archer, royal blood, and irrefutable likeness to his grandfather Or’Tarlán, and even his ability to care for the life of an antagonistic individual. But because of his father’s blood, he looks like the Alpine elves. Furthermore, Fel’annár is what is called a Listener. As one, he possesses a kind of magic that allows him to understand the words of the trees. We see this gift in play a lot. The trees can tell him things. Warn him of danger coming and the extent thereof. Yet it becomes known that Fel’annár, who hasn’t done any real research on the subject, isn’t sure that what he is is indeed a Listener.

I’ve come to know the Silvan elf race as one that is more in tune with nature and the author further reveals them to be the finest trackers in the world. The Alpine elves are supposedly meant to lead while the Silvan elves are meant to follow. “It is where I was brought up, the people I call family, the culture that was bestowed upon me.” Having grown up a Silvan elf, Fel’annár’s existence begs the question of whether he’ll be the blade that ultimately slices through that view that most Alpines have of Silvans.

Though they are but one of the dangers to be found on the road to Tar’eastór, the Deviants promise something bigger in the antagonistic role they play. An attack by two separate packs of Deviants has the king saying this: “It does seem to give more credence to the idea that the Deviants are organizing themselves into some semblance of society. To coordinate an attack like that you need strategy, the ability to deploy, and able commanders to see it done”.

Because the author puts so much effort into making the lead character an extraordinary character to imagine, you start to wish that the author would cut back on it after a time. Had I not read the first book, I would’ve had trouble connecting with and viewing Fel’annár as an individual. Instead, through the views of minor characters that I did connect with, and mostly as a result of a development that sees this hero injured for a time, the author started running the risk of making him become just this magical beauty with magical powers whose name was on everybody’s lips for the better part of the novel. As good as she is at writing sentences that sit with readers on an emotional level, she is good at writing setting descriptions that are clear to see.

Home to such monstrosities as Mountain Hounds, Gas Lizards, Incipient Deviants, and Mountain Deviants, the world she has created is nothing sort of magical. And frightening. The format of each chapter – everyone starts with a short paragraph in italics that are quotes from fictitious books of wisdom such as “The Silvan Chronicles” and “On Elven Nature: Calro” – aims to give readers further understanding about such things as elven nature, the lands, monsters, love, and more.

R.K. Lander explores themes of discrimination, fatherhood, kingship, acceptance, and faith in the unexplained while maintaining that a narrative sated with emotion is what ultimately keeps the reader coming back for more. If a friend of mine refused to give this book to me, not knowing that I’m a ready fan of this author, I would simply and mischievously say that I understand. That friend, I would watch knowing that Lander has inspired yet another devout tourist of Bel’arán, the paradise that she has created here, as well as a faithful follower of Fel’annár, a hero for the gifted in our own paradise.

Kindle Edition:

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Date Published: April 28, 2018
Genre: Arthurian
Pages: 337
View on Amazon

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