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.
Heliotrope is a slow-burn epic fantasy stand-alone that has a little bit of everything for everyone. Found family, magic, bloody battles, romance and so much more. Palmer Pickerings beautifully descriptive prose had me completely immersed and I blew through this chonker in just a few days.
We begin our story with a man named Teleo, someone with a tragic past and a boring, lonely present. When fate intervenes with his mundane existence, Teleo must save two young orphans, rediscovering family along the way.
Heliotrope embraces what makes classic fantasy great and brings it into the modern fantasy landscape with skill and heart. Pickerings’ prose is reminiscent of Robert Jordan, though not quite as long winded. The towns, cities and villages we visit are vividly realized, making it easy to slip into the world of Heliotrope.
The story is quite straight-forward and easily accessible. We never really go into religion, the cast is tight and the lore is only explained as it pertains to the story. For some, that may be a weakness, but for me it was perfect. I never felt like the world was lacking, having all the information I needed to enjoy the story and the mystery added to the realism.
Where this novel truly shines is with its characters. Palmer Pickering breathes live into her characters and makes them jump off the page. Their personalities are expertly crafted and everyone stands on their own. The growth they each go through is believable and beautifully crafted.
Heliotrope will grab your heart and not let go until well after you’ve turned the final page. A wonderful quest with beautiful prose and great characters, prepare to lose yourself in this epic fantasy.