When truth and lies have been used as a weapon. When you fight an enemy from the past using lies, and truth becomes the weapon with which you fight that enemy. The story takes you to an ancient land under siege.
The history of Keldarra is long but forgotten. A distant past when someone knew the Wolf Riders would rise. They also knew they would come to an end.
The Truth: Words spoken. Still spoken to speak a lie.
Marrida. Alagur. Each individual has a reason for wanting change. But can the reasons co-exist without clashing? Can truth prevail when each of them exists because of lies? When they discover similarity it reveals a hidden past, a past that means so much more than either knew.
Thank you to Maia and Silver Dagger Book Tours for providing me a copy of this ARC book. All thoughts and opinions are my reviews.
Tainted Truth is a traditional fantasy that is so enjoyable, that you feel its story itself is immersive enough to get you into this fascinating new world that Nathalie has built. Over 800 pages long, this book was slow-paced at times. Some parts could have been reduced in my opinion, but the strengths overweigh most weaknesses within this book. It is well written, well put, and well thought out. Writing a 800 fantasy page book with many character arcs is no easy task. I am honestly impressed that Nathalie has managed to build and construct a narrative in the second person (and second person is something I do not read a lot) that manages to hold a cohesive structure between many characters in this novel. You have to admire this aspect. Writing is never an easy task. I remember reading a quote somewhere that authors can have an idea for a dazzling world but the idea of executing it requires very careful planning.
I will say this: It is a refreshing change from the grimdark nature. Nathalie doesn’t hesitate to show the goodness that exists in our world. I will admit that she has not only impressed with me the idea that she can contrast both areas of good and bad, but she also shows that badness comes more out of human’s greedness than anything else. This is the start of a series that stretches out to 9 books. Nathalie also plays a lot of world of warcraft! That’s a plus, so expect to see a lot of references within this book. I was not too sold on the romantic aspect of this novel, as it contains prophecies and such. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. I’ve read fantasy novel with Jenn Lyon’s for example, showing the two characters being past reincarnations of former lovers and then we go through multiple flashbacks. And that book is published by Tor. If that book can have that, I don’t mind the romance in this one. Oh, it has a lot of Outlander influences. A LOT. Normally, I can understand why readers say oh no romance, but I can assure you, this is a pleasant and well developed chemistry between Alagur (who is part of the Wolf Riders) in this novel, and Marrida, being an acolyte at the Temple of Ruh’nar under of course, led by the Elder Sharriba.
On some aspects, the world-building structure fits well enough, but it does contain some weaknesses when we go from Marrida’s character arc. She’s smart, strong, funny and she’s able to see visions. The contrasting visions in each scene work very well indeed with Alagur, who’s also been having visions of her. Somewhere I felt this was disjointed because ultimately these two characters are trying to find a ‘tainted’ truth that has been long lost from the conflict that is currently happening between the Wolf Riders and the city that they raid in, where Alagur is given shelter by Marrida within that city. That’s as much as I’ll say about the story. Once you read all 800 pages, you’ll get the idea. The characters arcs of Bergas (And he is a character you must read and who I like so much. A very clever person indeed) has a very similar arc to a BBC documentary I was once watching, where this baby elephant had been separated from her mother. Over the course of that documentary, the baby elephant and the mother get together – but that’s only a clue. The real hint you should watch is: Bergas, Alagur and Marrida and see how they all fit together.
For Samar, as a villain, I felt he needed more scenes. I think I needed to see more of him in the novel. He did begin to fall back into the evil type of character that eventually begins to become hated by the very people he leads. However, he is a strong and capable man that is eventually rising out of his own ambitions to one day, perhaps, lead the Wolf Riders. I have to say this. The second person was very enjoyable. There wasn’t a single moment in this book where I felt it was doing anything wrong. Every character arc is well written and makes you grabbed into their lifestyle. You will feel for each character. There’s a lot of wolves and watch out for Yalla! (Hint hint).
Honestly, I enjoyed this. It took me 3 days to finish, but I loved it. I think its a book you should try out too. For a traditional fantasy novel, sure it has some tropes, but you know what, there’s nothing stopping you reading a traditional fantasy novel and enjoying it. I was reading the interview on the Silver Dagger Tour site and the author said something like this: Well I want to create my own world so why can’t I? And to be honest with you, I agree. Fantastic credit to Emerentsia Publications through which both Nathalie and her husband run. I will leave a link down below because independent small press publishers need the help and support from you: The reader. Every purchase you make of an independent small publisher, regardless of whether you’re in both sides of the pond (UK and US) in all genres, but mostly the genres of science fiction and fantasy, helps. It provides them money to build and expand their business and ultimately you get more books from them. I cannot stress this enough.
I’ll also say this. In the UK (where I’m from) we have a fantastic magazine called Writing Magazine that gives all the insights on the UK Publishing industry. In 2013, I recieved a copy where the editor at the time speculated whether self-publishing would change the industry. And this was 2013. Now fast forward to 2020, Amazon has given the ability for people to publish, independent publishing presses have emerged. If Amazon hadn’t given the ability for ordinary people to become authors, then self-publishing wouldn’t even be a thing (and this is from my perspective) and now thankfully, the lines between self-publishing and traditional publishing are blurring thanks to the initiative of Amazon for doing this. Lockdown has certainly provided challenges (and they need your support so buy a book from them please). So when you purchase a copy from Nathalie’s site you also help her company out. Normally my reviews don’t go in this much detail, but I needed to bring this up.
This is a fantastic, riveting book that you need to get! I really did enjoy it 🙂
Official Blog Tour Link:
Coming soon in the next series: