Book Review: Ringlander

Honestly, I have no idea where I found this book. My mind vaguely recalls me clicking a link on Twitter, but I have absolutely no recollection of exactly what tweet I stumbled upon. This is a $0.99 book, though, which meant I spent money on it; usually I remember where I found books I spend money on.

Either way, this is an indie book with a great cover and a great premise.

The Book

Ringlander: The Path and the Way
Author: Michael S. Jackson (a white, British guy, not the singer)
2021
Amazon Link

This book isn’t terribly gruesome, sexy, or full of cursing, but something about the way it feels and the way it presents its themes makes me think it’s clearly an adult work. Even with younger mains, like teen Kyira, this is probably not a great YA work. However, your teens can probably appreciate this book, especially if they have a maturity of spirit.

Non-Spoiler Review

Ringlander is an epic fantasy. While the world sometimes has a gritty feel, the book itself is clean compared to a lot of other epic fantasy of the era. It does have some of the good elements of the Game of Thrones feel while avoiding the unnecessarily gory or sexy parts that I thought ruined the popular series.

The storyline itself was pretty straightforward, even if the complex cast of characters made it twist and turn around such that it kept me on my toes. At times, I wasn’t sure if any certain character was going to survive. Enough characters did bite the dust that, like in Game of Thrones, you couldn’t feel like anyone was safe. I did like the main character, Kyira, and was interested in her story. She was plucky, dutiful, and a great unwilling protagonist. There were other points of view, however, I was less interested in; I think this is inevitable when making use of a complex cast, but I found myself longing for the Kyira chapters during some of the Fia chapters.

I enjoyed how the fantasy elements were very obvious and how well interwoven they were into the story. The people within the world smoothly interacted with the magical elements and treated them like they were always supposed to be there, not like a new thought or object they needed to explain to the reader. I especially liked how magic was integrated into the politics without it being the typical “magic people are oppressed” or “magic people oppress the non-magical.” By choosing to have non-human characters that have a strange opinion on the value of humans, Jackson created something very new and different.

The front end of the book was well-edited and tight, but this became less true as the book went on. Some additional edits to the book would make it smoother. As well, there were places where it moved a bit too slowly for my tastes. If you like epic fantasy that doesn’t mind mulling over some minutia and taking its time with character interactions, that won’t bother you, though.

4/5 Discoball Snowcones

Next week:

I finished it a while back, but boy have I gotten behind on making review posts. Stand by for Lord of the Flies! After that, I promise I read The Ten Thousand Doors of January and will have a post on that soon.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Ringlander

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      The magic system was phenomenal, indeed! If you’ve read any of Diane Wallace Peach’s stuff, it has similar worldbuilding quality, but it feels different (probably because Jackson and Peach are entirely different authors!).

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