Hello and welcome to my stop on the Escapist Book Tours Side Quest for The Isle of a Thousand Worlds by Dan Fitzgerald! I am super excited to join the tour by sharing my review of the book. You’ll find that down below along with details about the book and author, links to grab yourself a copy, and even an opportunity to win a signed copy with swag!
Also, be sure to check out the rest of the tour by following the official schedule in the banner at the bottom of the post. We’ve got some great hosts lined up and ready to help us roll out the “read” carpet for this excellent Romantic Fantasy novel!
The Isle of a Thousand Worlds by Dan Fitzgerald
Series: Weirdwater Confluence Duology (Book 2)
Genre: Sword-Free Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy
Intended Age Group: Adult
Published: January 15, 2022
Publisher: Shadow Spark Publishing
Shown on Page: Explicit, consensual sex
The alchemy of the heart distills the body’s desires.
An aging alchemist seeks the key to the Universal Tincture said to unlock the Thousand Worlds of the mind, but she never expected to solve the riddle of her hermetic heart.
A meditation acolyte travels the mystical social media known as the Caravan and finds that the Thousand Worlds lie just below the surface, if she can only learn to see the space between the stars.
This steamy romantic fantasy explores the confluence of the physical and the metaphysical through the commingling of bodies and minds.
No Swords · No Deaths · Just Magic & Sexytimes
The first book in this duology, The Living Waters, holds a special place in my heart. In fact, it holds a lofty position in my top books of all time. When I read it a few months ago I, like many, was going through a rather rough period. I was burnt out, depressed, and struggling to find enjoyment in my favorite hobby, reading. The Living Waters was a splash of cool water and turned out to be everything that I needed at the time (if you’re interested, you can read my full review of The Living Waters here). As you can tell, I was so excited when we were given the opportunity to tour its sequel, The Isle of a Thousand Worlds.
“To these fish, the water is one world and the air another. Who is to say which world is more real? There are a thousand worlds, a thousand realities, but they are all connected. They are all one.”
The Isle of a Thousand Worlds picks up right after the events of The Living Waters (it can be read as a standalone though). Even though the original group has each went their own way, following their hearts and minds to where want or need to be, we still see plenty of familiar faces. The main characters are Gilea, the minder of the painted faces from the last book, and Patia, a character who you may remember from her brief appearance in The Living Waters as the alchemist whose quicksilver had been stolen by the swirls. I must say though that while I ended up loving the POVs of Gilea and Patia so much, I couldn’t help but be disappointed that the one character that didn’t return for this book just so happened to be my favorite from The Living Waters, Sylvan. His absence felt like a void. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing in itself, but maybe it should serve as a testament to how well Fitzgerald writes characters!
Probably the most talked about part of this book has been and will be the relationships. This is Fitzgerald’s spiciest book to date, with several graphic sex scenes throughout. There has been a lot of discourse™ lately about sex scenes, whether they have a place in fantasy and so forth. I’m not going to get into that directly, but I do want to say that The Isle of a Thousand Worlds simply couldn’t be told without them. Whether it was my cup of tea or not, the physical intimacy between Patia and Gero, our geriatric couple, was as absolutely central to the story and the development of the characters as the emotional one shared by Gilea and Temi. In fact, one of the things that I really loved about the portrayal of the relationships was the contrast between the physical intimacy of Patia and Gero and the emotional intimacy between Gilea and Temi. The central tenet in Endulian Meditation of “within as without” was expertly woven into the narrative itself, with our two main characters each representing one part of the philosophy.
She couldn’t believe that this silly little man with his crooked back and his twinkling eyes had captured her heart so entirely.
The plot of The Isle of a Thousand Worlds is mostly slice of life, following Gilea and Patia as they each separately try to find and access the Thousand Worlds, a mystical realm with unlimited possibility you can travel to in your own mind. They each search for answers in their own way, with Gilea learning meditation magic from the Endulian school and Patia taking the more practical route of trying to create the Universal Tincture, a potion made from alchemical science. We briefly wander into the politics of the world, with the Endulian Temple’s control over the mystical Caravan. In this installment, Fitzgerald was much more subtle with his worldbuilding. Where the previous entry in the series was from the point of view of two sheltered nobles venturing into the world for the first time, giving readers the ability to discover the world through their eyes, The Isle of a Thousand Worlds is much more metaphysical in nature, with exploration centering within rather than without. While I enjoyed the more philosophical aspects of the story, I really missed that great sense of wonder and exploration from The Living Waters and wished there was deeper worldbuilding. Even this is hard to critique because it, again, plays directly into the theme of “within as without”. If I were to really criticize one aspect of the story, it would be the antagonist (if you can really call them that). The reveal and the resolution happened so quickly and with hardly any build up that it left me feeling like I had missed out on something. Maybe this is my own biases and tastes getting in the way, but I was left feeling unsatisfied. Which in itself is kind of weird because everyone else was getting “satisfied” throughout the entire book, if you know what I mean.
The Isle of a Thousand Worlds is wonderful slice of life style romantic fantasy where the relationships are front and center and in this aspect, Fitzgerald absolutely nails it! The exploration of both Gilea and Temi’s and Patia and Gero’s respective relationships is beautiful in every way and the way in which the author weaves the central philosophy of the Thousand Worlds, “within as without,” into the characters and their relationships is nothing short of masterful. Character driven fantasy at its finest, The Isle of a Thousand Worlds is the perfect end to the Weirdwater Confluence (but please can I get a short story or something about Sylvan?)
“To find the Thousand Worlds, we must seek within as without, and in so doing we will see the universe reflected inside us, and ourselves shining down from the heavens.”
About the Author
Dan Fitzgerald is the fantasy author of the Maer Cycle trilogy (character-driven low fantasy) and the Weirdwater Confluence duology (sword-free fantasy with unusual love stories), both from Shadow Spark Publishing.
He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, twin boys, and two cats. When not writing he might be found doing yoga, gardening, cooking, or listening to French music.
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