Lands of Dust is the first book in a new series by prolific indie author John Triptych. In a dying world of sand and dust, where humans cling to life by farming algae and fungi in the barren wastes, a child is found unconscious in the sands. He has no memory of life beyond the torture he endured at the hands of the Magi, and all the mind-probing skills of the village Striga, the wisewoman with psi powers, cannot find out more.
Prophecies exist that foretell this child, and in the course of this first story in the series, the village is challenged to give up the child; the price will be their lives if they disobey. Can Miri, the Striga, herself an orphan of the sands, the village ‘teller’ (the keeper of the village’s history), and a young brother and sister keep the boy safe, and fulfill the destiny outlined in the prophecy?
Triptych is a good story-teller. As a fast-paced adventure s in the ‘magical child’ sub-genre of fantasy/sci-fi, this is a good story. I wanted to know what happened to Rion, the child; I wanted to see how the prophecy played out. For sheer enjoyment of a story, I’m giving it 4 stars.
But while Lands of Dust is a good story, it’s not particularly well-written. The world building is good, lots of background; the pacing is good, but the flow of many sentences is middling and there are frequently places where less verbosity would have benefited the writing. Action sequences often end weakly. There are questionable uses of commas. Does this matter? Not if the adventure is your primary reason for reading. But to me, it does. I continue to hold self-published books to the same standards as traditionally published books. So, for the competency of writing, I’m giving it 3 stars. Overall, I’m rating it at 3.5, which will translate on Goodreads and Amazon as 4.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.