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Book Review: Heliotrope

Table of Contents

“Teleo is a retired soldier descended from Mages, who were cast out of power generations ago. After years of war and sorrow, he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life on his farm and work his stonemason’s craft.

His wife and daughter had been murdered during a war raid several years earlier and his young son stolen by the enemy side. He spent years unsuccessfully searching for his son and returned home broken-hearted. At the local castle, he comes upon a war orphan stolen by his side from the enemy and rescues him from abuse, adopting him as his foster son.

Teleo is working at the castle when he finds himself in the middle of a coup. This launches a journey to protect his new family, uncover the secrets of the ancient ways, and reclaim the magic of the Mages.”

Title: Heliotrope

Series: Series Title Unknown #1

Author: Palmer Pickering

Page Count: 784

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5.0/5.0

Date Read: November 16th, 2022

I was lucky to be approached by the author giving me the chance to read and review a copy of Heliotrope in the month of November which is when the book is released as well. Release day is November 29th so keep an eye out or go ahead and pre-order if what you read below interests you at all. I admittedly was both excited for a chance to read another book from one of my newest favorite authors this year. But at the same time I knew that my month was already bursting at the seems with the TBR. I made some adjustments not to remove anything but found a way to fit it in. I’m so very happy I did!
Heliotrope is what I’d consider a mid-range as it relates to length coming in around the 700+ mark from the version I read. But this was one of those reads that I was always wanting to pick up and read more of it. I read a lot while eating my meals as well as while on the treadmill. Once in awhile I find myself so sucked into a book that the times on the treadmill just fly by and I lose complete track of time.
I’d like to mention some items I really enjoyed about this book. The first being the constant struggle our characters deal with along the way but find ways to adapt and work together to find solutions. I certainly felt for Teleo strongly from the beginning. Another item to mention is the tremendous personality the author injects into animals in this world. I think many of them border on animal company but don’t quite going completely in that direction. I mean some are very close like the main group’s horses and the gryfalcon. But this goes even as far as the lambs and ram. There is just so much personality to the animals. I find myself laughing at their antics or concerned for their safety. Even though I could list several more the only other one I’ll mention is the author’s slight of hand. I even mentioned to the author her writing does include this as I found myself several times forgetting about something which was important earlier in the book until it returned later on. I had a lot of ta-da moments in the second half of this read.
The pacing was spot on for this reader. I devoured this book and it wasn’t exactly short. I found myself picking up this read whenever I had a chance which was typically several times per day just to keep the story going to see what was going to happen next. We do have plenty of ebb and flow throughout the book. But I don’t recall there ever being a time where I felt the story was just kind of trickling along. In my humble opinion this was a very easy read.
The character development was smooth and deep by the end. As with many books we tend to learn a lot about our main protagonist but by the end of this one I learned a considerable amount of our supporting cast as well. I found myself constantly concerned for the safety of our young members or the relationship between our family all together. Then you add in the relationships they create with the next ring of supporting characters in the various locations they find themselves and I found myself wanting to know even more about so many different characters.
The world build was great as well. We spend a bit of time in our starting region and city, then begin to learn more about that region’s surrounding area before venture into a completely different region for a good chunk of the book and yet again before spending the end with an entirely different one yet. All three have different cultures and environments to learn about in each.
I’d recommend this read to any fans of epic fantasy as it truly fills that role. I’d even venture to recommend it to readers who don’t typically read thicker books above the 400 page mark. I just feel it reads so easily it should hold the attention of those readers well.
I will finish this with a couple of closing statements. The first being as I told the author I haven’t found myself feeling a read this strongly since I read Wrath by John Gwynne last year. The second is that as 2022 is nearing the end this is definitely in contention for my favorite read of the year. And that is saying something because I’ve had many reads this year that I’ve loved including two others from this very author. If you’re interested the digital and paperback versions are releasing November 29th, 2022 so keep an eye out or better yet, pre-order it!

World Building 5/5
Pacing 5/5
Character Development 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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