The Nameless and The Fallen by Scott Kaelen review

Hello and welcome to my latest review on the blog, westu hal to you and today I am bringing to you a review of one of the best books I have read this year!  The Nameless and The Fallen is hands down fantastic, when I learned through my book and twitter buddy Nick Borelli that Scott was organising a book tour to promote it, I jumped on board to read this.

So before we get started I am tipping my hat to Scott for organising his own tour, do check out his Twitter page to follow along with the tour.  There are some awesome bloggers helping out with this one, check them out they don’t bite.

Right now for the blurb of this epic fantasy story

The Blurb

Widespread madness, rampaging monsters and the reckless choices of monarchs all stem from a pall that has descended upon Verragos. In the midst of chaos and looming war, disparate travellers confront their own nightmares as they become embroiled in the fray of nations. Their best hope is the exposure of incredible truths from an ancient facade of lies, but is civilisation ready to pay the high cost of survival?

The Outcast

Wren, exiled from his home in the icy north as a scapegoat for a horrific massacre, begins to suspect that an insidious influence is behind the growing slew of psychotic events. To uncover the source of the threat, he must enlist the help of an old and distant friend – the only living entity aware of his bitter and brutal past.

The Freeblade

Oriken, a beleaguered sellsword, narrowly escapes death by the intervention of a mysterious woman. In gratitude for her timely arrival, he vows to help her vanquish her demons of a lost identity and a burning urge to find the owner of the one name she remembers. Haunted by the echo of a dead friend, he ventures into foreign and hostile climes and soon comes to realise that a dangerous identity may lurk beneath the trauma of the stranger at his side.

The Review

Having never read anything by Scott, I was very interested to read this book and the enthusiasm of other people for it was wonderful to see.  This really is epic fantasy, one of the things that really struck me is the level of detail in the prose.  Scott manages to convey a huge amount of detail through succinct and precise prose, allowing some of the epic landscapes, environments to really come to life in my mind.

Then the other point is the characters he has created, you can tell that  this is a character driven fantasy.  It’s a fine example and Scott is focused on his characters, delivering some not so typical characters to us.  We are given thieves, outcasts, assassins and mercenaries, and in that respect it is more “Low Fantasy” with some characters with their own rules, codes and you would hope would be on your side.

This is however an epic work of fantasy, the scope and drive of the book will tell you as much.  There is a huge amount of history and lore on offer here, and Scott will pull you into this complicated world and its history.  All the while straddling two different genres, two storylines and interconnected plotlines.

At its centre are two characters, Oriken, a traveling mercenary on his way back from the events of another book.  We are also introduced to Wren, an outcast living on the fringes of society and cast out after a horrific massacre.

Now remember when I said that there were two different genres on show here, well as you read into the book you will findl that this is very much a blend of fantasy and sci-fi, it’s very light on the sci-fi but it is evident.  The first hint I had was the rather awesome weapon that Wren uses, but what Scott does here is not let the fantasy element be overshadowed.  There is clearly a complicated history to this world, one that Scott has mapped out as is evidenced in the book, I really do believe that we have something quite unique and special on our hands here.

Another strength of the book are the incredible action scenes, Scott has a real gift for writing these.  Cinematic action is tough to pull off, but Scott does this so well, from a horrific massacre in a small village, to dodging a horrendous gauntlet, to all out war.  It is described clearly and with an intensity that pulls the reader along when they happen, it’ wonderful achieves this and doesn’t confuse a reader.  More importantly in the action scenes, his character work is strong, what I mean is that characters always rely on themselves or companions to help out.  They take actions that feel right and make real sense, in that sense his characters are wonderfully human, driven by events and stakes.

This is without a doubt one of the best books that I have this year, there is so much on offer and so much to enjoy.  The writing is wonderful and solid throughout the course of the book, the wonderful and rewarding plot with some rich and varied characters.  Through complex and compelling lore, intense action, Scott is able to take a reader through drama, grim comedy, horror, and even some rather nasty aspects of the world. It was important for me to remember, that this book doesn’t always deal with heroes, and that actions that we take in conflict are not always our finest.  This is still one of the finest works of epic fantasy I have read in some time, it tells a very fresh and imaginative story and explores some parts of humanity that we don’t always like.  Like History and its impact, legacies, regret and guilt, all of this again shows Scott cares about his characters and has put them at the centre of this world.

So there you have it, another fine example of character driven fantasy, with all the scope of epic fantasy, the drive of low fantasy blended with science fiction.  All in all, it’s like a fine blended whiskey and something that easily gets my seal of recommendation that you read and you read it immediately.

That’s all from me, hope that you are staying safe and reading something awesome.  Westu hal.

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