Publisher: Rook Creek Books
Age Group: Adult
Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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A novel of violent magic, intrigue, and statecraft, Ghosts in the Yew is the story of four who are banished beyond the edge of the map to a land of gnarled forests, ancient magic, and the site of a terrible murder. Their struggles to survive will put them at odds with their families, their nation, and the very powers that shaped the world. Ghosts in the Yew is the first book in Blake's Vesteal series and invites the reader as follows: The dark forest hid them from their destroyers. The matriarch of the forest wept a century at their murder. The priests rewrote the songs and rhymes until the world forgot them and the conquerors abandoned their watch. But then it happened that the Zoviyan Empire--bloated by its centuries of glut--sent the last thing it should have into the trees. Ghosts forget nothing, and when the blood of their enemy walked beneath them, they woke, their revenge at hand.
“Ghosts in the Yew” tells the story of Prince Barok, one of the many Yentif princes, his washerwoman fresh from the Dagoda school, Dia, a hardend Hemari soldier addicted to alcohol, Leger, and Prince Barok’s nightguard, Geart, who are banished from the palace and the capital for crimes they didn’t commit. We get to follow their struggle to survive and their rise to power.
If you like your books fast-paced and action-packed all the way through, you might struggle to get through the second 25% of the book which covers a lot of the build up for the second halve of the book. I didn’t mind, because I like getting to know the characters and the environment. It’s the rise of the city that makes the first halve of this book so great in my opinion. For example, watching Barok come to terms with his heritage and his past and how it changes him. Reading the struggle between his Yentif and Vesteal heritage was really intriguing. Seeing how everything unfolds, how everyday life disputes are solved and how a place that’s been lost for so long can rise again all give this book its charm.
Once you're past the first halve of the book, though, you’ll be glued to the pages, as the second halve is much more action-packed. You’ll be wondering what will happen to the various characters and Enhedu, who will have wormed their way into your heart.
This is not a light story, when you sit down with this book be prepared for a detailed description of this new and imaginative world, its inhabitants and their struggle for justice and survival.
There is a huge focus on the political side of this empire and the economic growth of Enhedu together with a strong military aspect, which seems well researched and gives a credible representation of the struggle to stay alive in a medieval-esque setting.
I will draw a comparison here, because “Ghosts in the Yew” gave me the same feeling as another book I read last year en thoroughly enjoyed: “The Pillars of the Earth”.
The time passing by, having a dream to return a desolate place to its former glory, building a city and having to cope with constant opposition… I really enjoyed reading a book that gave me the same sentiments as Pillars, which is one of my favorite books so far.
It always amazes me how such an extensive story can sprout from a single human's mind. Every person with such a detailed and huge imagination that wants to share this talent with the world should be applauded. I love a huge story, with lots of characters and extensive scenery, so this book was right up my alley.
I would recommend “Ghosts in the Yew” to everyone who likes an elaborate Fantasy story full of political intrigue with a splash of magic. Especially if you read “ThePillars of the Earth” and enjoyed it, this will be a great read for you!