Trianes Son Rising (Bitter Moon Saga #1 1/2), Amy Lane
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Genre: YA, LGBT (B), Fantasy
Length: 280 pages
“They had not met well, he brooded, crouching in the shadows of the fetid alley.”
Now we’re back in my comfort zone, the realm of high fantasy plus the extra goodness of LGBT YA characters; needless to say I had high expectations for this book and I’m glad to admit I was not wrong. This is also my first foray into Amy Lane’s tales and her reputation as an excellent storyteller is entirely justified.
Traine’s Son Rising begins with a prologue introducing an anonymous character stealthily making his way through a series of alleys. As we reach the conclusion of the prologue this person is revealed to be Torrant, our main character, who then reflects on the life that has brought him to this place.
In this fantastical world there are considered to be three gods; Oueant and Duent, the twin gods, represented by the worlds two moons and the goddess Triane, represented by the sun. Within the world there are the ‘gifted’ and the ‘not gifted.’ Those with gifts have powers, be it healing, illusions seduction or whatever else the goddess deemed to grant them. Triane also represents sexual freedom free from any stigma and festivals celebrated in her name can involve the wilding where young persons learn their sexuality. Those living in same-sex couplings are deemed to be following the ways of the goddess.
At the beginning Torrant is 14 years old living in his adopted home with the Moon family and his mother in the country of Clough. The current ruler of Clough, Rath, for unknown reasons persecutes those with gifts and following the ways of the goddess. Rath leads this persecution, trying to eradicate belief in Triane amongst his populous. Owen Moon, Torrant’s adopted father, is a leading lord in the kingdom and allows his holding to operate outside Rath’s persecution. Torrant bears a striking resemblance to Owen’s son Ellyot and being the same age the two are quite often believed to be twins and they act like it with each being the other’s closest confidant and friend. Six year old Yarri, Ellyot’s younger sister, idolises Torrant and is normally close by the two boys.
One day while sparring the two boys are approached by one of Rath’s men trying to bait them into confessing that Moon’s holding worships the goddess. After he grabs Torrant’s arm, Yarri knocks the guard out with a rock to the head. However when touching Torrant he activated an ability by which Torrant can see people’s emotions and could hence tell the guard’s true intentions, a gift from the goddess. Using his ability exhausts Torrant and he is put to sleep in the barn, where Yarri joins him to keep him company, while the rest of the family starts packing to flee the country.
That night the holding is attacked with Torrant and Yarri the only survivors. They then begin the journey their family was planning to make. Torrant and Yarri are full of anger, desiring revenge and are alone in a cruel world.
Goddesses Gift’s (A.K.A. The Parts I Loved)
Torrant is going to be one of those characters who I go on remembering for quite some time. He is instantly likeable, not just because he lost his family and home at 14 but because through his journey we see how fiercely dedicated he is to those he considers family. His journey sees him coming to terms with the world, it’s cruel parts, but also the good parts. In his transition to manhood he does wish to couple with others but knows he is destined to be with Yarri when she comes of age. His strength and determination to make sure she is not hurt by this or anything else in the world is truly commendable.
Torrant is a beautifully fleshed out and real character who I truly wish to thank the author for, I cannot wait to continue his story in the next part of the saga.
The world in Triane’s Son Rising does not feel cheap or tacky but instead you get the feeling that there is real thought and process put behind the positioning or each town and why certain people dress the way they do. These as well as many other of the ‘small things’ are what makes the world so believable despite the fantasy elements. Every character is also given to the reader with that ‘real’ feel the depth with which each one is presented is astounding.
If a new writer was looking at what they need in a fantasy book, in terms of world and character depth, to be successful they should look no further. The world presented in Triane’s Son Rising is beautiful and hideous at the same time and leaves you wanting so much more.
The Form of “Magic”
In fantasy often magic is treated in the same old way of witches and wizards casting spells and turning princes into frogs. Luckily this book gives, for me, a new take on ‘magic’ with it being more a series of extra skills people have. the only identifying feature for those with gifts is a lock of pure white hair coming down from their brow. Otherwise beyond their gift each person is entirely normal, there are both slow and smart as well as straight and gay people with gifts.
Each gift helps a person in the world and helps others too, healers are quite often town doctors or midwives. Not all gifts are equally benign with others being able to shapeshift into wild animals or become mighty warriors. I really enjoy how each person with a gift utilised it in the way they saw fit, with each filling a needed niche in society. I felt it was a refreshing take on the more traditional uses of magic in the fantasy genre.
The Wrath of Rath (A.K.A. Parts I Didn’t Agree With)
This cover looks like it was drawn in the 1980’s and just slapped on a new book. This is not just this particular book but most in the fantasy genre. There seems to be a feel of nostalgia amongst publishes for this genre and I do not like it.
The cover does not give off the ‘pick me up and read’ vibe which is truly unfortunate for such a great book.
I will admit that I had to read the first chapter three times to work out what on earth was happening. The reader is truly thrown into the deep end in terms of story immersion and you will be presented with a plethora of names, titles, gods, cities and towns. At the beginning it feels like you are really trying to get up to speed on all this information and you can find yourself quickly buried in the ever problematic question of ‘what the hell is going on?!?!?!?!’
This is a difficult thing to tackle in the fantasy genre with not many truly achieving it. It is solely for this reason why Triane’s Son Rising did not receive 5 stars.
I truly enjoyed this stupendous novel with the world and characters it created. Aside from the steep learning curve I found it truly enjoyable and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy novels. You are left with a feeling of wanting more from this story and luckily the next part of the saga (in the current edition) comes out later this month. I intend on reading it the second it comes out.
“It was only later that night, as he lay quietly awake in bed, that he realized the lump in his chest had grown smaller, and a little less deadly, but that, as sure as the snowcat wore Ellyot’s eyes, it was still there.”