SPFBO 8 Finalist Review: Fire of the Forebears by LA Buck

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Hey guys, another video review!! I will have a full written review when I get the time to type it all out. For now, thanks for running with this.

So, this follows two sides of a war and I’m always someone who enjoys a story told like that. Especially when the characters are written in a way to be intentionally sympathetic, you’re supposed to like both of these people and root for them, but they both can’t possibly win and come out on top given their opposing end goals. I think it’s a great way to give an underlying tension to the book the whole way through.

So, this follows Tristan who is the King’s son and Kura who is living in an outlaw village since her father is a deserter. He was a soldier at one point but now has a bounty on his head and so all of his family has to go live out in the outskirts. Kura is also further ostracized because her mother follows this rare and dying religion and whenever they’re seen praying people look at them funny. Well, anyway, the village gets word that the King’s men are rooting out rebellion supporting villages and just devastating them. The village wants to break up and run, each man for their own. Kura is pretty devastated and tries to fight to keep everyone together. Despite this being a village of pretty shady people it’s the only home she’s ever known and so she tries to fight to keep it. Well, she loses. The village is sacked and that sends her on the run. She gets into a lot of shenanigans her chapters are just full of adventure at break neck speed.

Tristan is trying to quell the rebellion, gain new recruits (by force, at this point it’s draft not recruitment) and try not to be brutal about it all. His chapters are a bit slower and while there’s definitely action scenes there are also moments where it slows down and breathes. His chapters gave me moment to sink into the world since he was dealing with inter kingdom politics and whatnot.

I enjoyed the world building in this, it was very second world high fantasy and you knew that right from the first page. It opens with a man riding in on a talking bear. In this world there are animals and then Animals which are sentient talking versions of the normal kind. So I liked this idea and how it was explored with each of the species having a different relationships with each other and with humanity. Kura’s village before it’s sacked had the Noskina (animal people) living side by side with people and they were Goats. However, if you wandered out into the woods at night you might get eaten by a talking Wolf. They won’t all be your friends and they don’t really cohabitate often. There’s a religion in this world where most people, average people, don’t go to heaven or hell but like this third plane, and I like that idea of the afterlife where only truly fucked up people get sentenced to a place like hell.

Overall I thought this was a neat story, it really harkens to old school classic fantasy that uses tropes that have really stuck to the wall because so many people enjoy them. I hope you guys all pick it up!