Epic in scale and epic in style, The Redemption of Erâth series by Satis is the story of Brandyé Dui-Erâth. Born in fire, orphaned, raised by his reclusive and private grandfather, Brandyé is not truly accepted in his village. He learns to accept his unchosen outsider status, tempered by his two good friends, Elven, a boy of his own age, and Elven’s sister Sonora.
But there is a locked room in Brandyé’s grandfather’s house…and there are Brandyé’s dreams. Slowly it becomes evident that there is more to Brandyé – and to his grandfather, Reuel Tolkaï. Creatures from myth begin to menace; powerful tools of war come to Brandyé, to be used for good or evil. Rebellion simmers and flares, with unintended consequences. Darkness threatens all Brandyé knows, and Brandyé himself, sending him into exile.
Brandyé’s story is compelling, although the telling of it is detailed and slow-paced. And I use the word ‘telling’ intentionally: the author definitely tells this story; he does not, for the most part, show us it through Brandyé’s thoughts, emotions, or reactions. The voice is usually passive; the action recounted to us. It reminded me – in stylistic terms only – of an old book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales I had a child, which used the same passive voice for most of its re-tellings. The language is mannered and slightly archaic, bordering on the style of Lord Dunsany in his classic epic fantasies. While this almost bardic telling of the story is interspersed with conversations and scenes written in an active voice, the overall feel of the books is detached, the reader distanced from the characters by the stylistic choice. I almost think The Redemption of Erâth would benefit from being read out loud; the language deserves to be heard.
While the plot – that of the magic child with a difficult road to walk in the saving of his/her world – is a classic fantasy plot – Satis does not flinch from making difficult choices for his characters. The world-building is extremely detailed. Satis is building a complex and finely-drawn world, more finely-drawn than some readers will be happy with, especially when combined with the slow-moving action. (There is also a companion volume, The History of Erâth, which I have not read.) Influences from classic fantasy, especially Tolkein (the name of Brandyé’s grandfather clearly an homage) are obvious.
I found these two books – Volume 1: Consolation and Volume 2: Exile – difficult to rate. The story is compelling if slow in the telling; the style will deter some readers, especially those used to action-based, fast-paced dystopian fantasy. But this is a deeply imagined world, and I will continue to read the next books in this series.Three stars.