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(Review appearing for the first time on Rainhandbooks.com!)Ah, sweet worldbuilding, thou art my nectar. There are stories written in our world, where we have to mind all sorts of things to keep the situation realistic (which can be quite a challenge if you’re not necessarily up on every modern trend). There are stories written in worlds similar to our own, where we authors still have to keep our feet on the ground. But you know what’s great about writing a story in your own world? Nobody to check up on you. It’s a clean slate to paint on, and the sky is the absolute limit to what you can bring to life. Of course, this privilege is not without its trials. For one, being responsible for everything means that you are, in fact, responsible for everything. And that’s no mean feat. People, places, ideas, concepts, faiths…it’s all on you. And there is something to be said for how you tie it all together. Just having facts is never enough, you’ve got to turn it into a narrative.
The Sapphire Eruption lives up to that narrative feel. There’s a lot going on here – several independent nations, each with their own personalities and outlooks on life vie for attention, and of course we have our main cast of characters to mind. This book is on the chunky side and I often say how that can be a bit of a concern for the potential for losing your reader, but ample time is spent developing everything the way it needs to be, from landmasses to cities, and on down to the cast of people we need to care about in order to become invested in the story. It’s a tangled web of a story, but a sweet one if you don’t mind getting tied up.
Mind, however, that fantasy is never the same snowflake twice, and thus there’s no promise this flavor is going to be to your liking. The concept of elemental kingdoms is certainly nothing new under the sun – so not new that it miiiight just have turned me off from picking this up had I seen it on a shelf at a store, just because such an angle is so, well, done. You’re going to be reading high fantasy here, with all the swords and sorcery and thievery and so forth theretofore pertaining. Make sure that’s what you’re after, because the inside of this book is what it looks like on the outside.
That really isn’t much of a criticism, I suppose. Well, there’s not much here to complain about. Spare a few minutes for it and it’s sure to wrap you up – just make sure you have the time to invest in it all!