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Book Review: Strangers in the Promised Land

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“A tense and suspenseful sequel to The Seventh Cadence.

After the battle at the Shadow Peaks, Amie and Mara Kruv are left with nothing but the scant clothes on their backs and an injured horse. When the sisters run into three soldiers who agree to escort them home, they believe they’ve finally struck a bit of luck. But there is more to these soldiers than they realize, and they find themselves the unwitting accomplices to three deserters of the Deseran Dominion army.”

Title: Strangers in the Promised Land

Series: Continua Chronicles #1.5

Author: Jim Willbourne

Page Count: 103

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Date Read: October 26th, 2022

This rating might not be entirely fair as I really only knocked half a point off because it’s so dang short! I found myself wanting more. More of the sisters as well as the three soldiers!

If anyone reading this has been keeping an eye on my reads, ratings and reviews of 2022 I read book one from the Continua Chronicles The Seventh Cadence earlier this year and it’s been one of my favorites of the year still to date. I knew that the novella was coming out soon so just last week I got my order in last minute which came with a copy of the physical book (signed with a message from the author and wonderful human being Jim Wilbourne) as well as the ebook. This worked out perfectly for me as I ended up having about a week left in the month before my extremely busy November kicks off.

So I dove right into this yesterday and I really didn’t anticipate knocking it out in less than 24 hours but here we are! Now as I mentioned at the beginning of this review, it is relatively short as it picks up with our wandering lost sisters Aimee and Mara finding them right smack in the middle of trouble once again!

The sisters really are a great pair in this series though. It’s a typical sibling situation to me where you know they love each other but they are truly the complete opposites. Trust me, I can relate on this one! But they also completely compliment each other with their skill sets. By the end you almost feel if they work together, learn from each other, there isn’t much these two can’t get them selves into but also out of.

Surprisingly I found myself really intrigued with the three soldiers we follow along with this short read as well. I hope we haven’t seen the last of them. Whether any of them return in the main storyline or we get a spin off with another novella or standalone catching up with them. Perhaps learning more about their past and what makes them who they are in this story or where they end up from the end of this book.

One of my favorite parts of the Continua Chronicles and the sisters though, is the magic or Scientia (Science) they learn and hopefully continue to learn more of as they travel the world. It’s really awesome to see them put some of the simplest concepts into practice where it seems like magic to someone who doesn’t know what is happening. And I mean come on, what’s better than ladies with a beautiful scientific mind!?

I do jest with the half point deduction on how short this story is but it really did just make me wish I had more to read in this world right now!

Character building is solid for a novella. You can only pack so much into just over a hundred pages. And Jim does a great job in focusing on probably our main 5 characters but also introducing some supporting and extra characters throughout this story. I found myself curious of what happened with the young man in the dress shop, the ladies left at the farm and of course what happens with the smithy from here.

World building was also solid for a short read. I mean we covered quite the span of territory east and west in just those short number of pages. We spend some time on the road, in a rural area with farms and a sprawling coastal city! We also learn of a few other areas outside of the coast such as a couple of other island areas. Who knows what they hold!?

Pacing was smooth! Obviously this was a quick easy read for me knocking it out as fast as I did. But we get some action in the form of a fight or two but the way that Jim describes the whit of characters and how they think of their feet is awesome! Sometimes these might be quick lies made up on the spot to get through a situation or it might be one of our characters actually playing the longer game! I even found myself speculating a few times in the city what the sisters might be up to with their plan. It certainly could have gone a couple of different ways then it did. But it still ended up on a solid ending!

Obviously this read would be a good recommendation for anyone that enjoyed Jim’s first book in the Continua Chronicles. I definitely think you’d need to read book one before this one though. It would still be a good quick story but it has a lot more meaning if you read book one.

World Building 4.5/5
Pacing 5/5
Character Development 4.5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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