“The Bringer. You are he. You will cause great pain. But also glory shall you bring. What is to come through you will change us all— Gottari and Skolani alike—forever. For you shall be the start of it. Upon your doom, the Urrinan shall ride.”
Vaughn Roycroft knows how to write. The Severing Son certainly does not feel like a debut and in my opinion, could hold its own against many traditionally published fantasy novels. This book adds to the validity that self-published novels are often just as good —if not better— than trad pub. He’s going to be a name to watch.
His writing style is reminiscent of John Gwynne, in the best of ways. There’s a warmth to their writing that shines through, even when paired with the gruesome things that often happen in an epic fantasy setting. It doesn’t hurt that you can see the historical inspirations in their novels, especially Nordic culture and mythology.
“Holding a knife he made beauty. Holding a sword he only made trouble. A knife had a thousand uses. A sword had only one. His father always said that the best way to keep swords from spilling blood was to be the best at wielding one.”
I am a fan of multiple POVs in epic fantasy and Roycroft pulls off the switch-ups with ease. There were enough romantic scenarios to satisfy the romance-lover in me but not so much as to scare off the romance-shy. I found myself very much endeared to our characters and am eager to see where their path goes. Alternatively, he hit just the right amount of battle scenes for me, too. There were enough to keep the integrity of the story without dragging us through needless scenes. Roycroft knows how to maintain the flow of a battle scene. They were riveting and anxiety-inducing, yet were easy to follow.
“I guess that settles it. If you’re going, I’m going. You’ll never stand alone. It’s the only thing I can truly promise you.” Elan extended her arm to him. He rose into his shoulders, smiled, and they grasped forearms. “Together, then.”
This book was so quotable that I had a great deal of trouble limiting it to the four quotes I allowed myself. There’s wisdom and beautiful prose while not meandering into unnecessary flowery composition.
Lastly, he uses prophecies to his full advantage. As the prophecies unfold and we learn more about our characters, I am not sure whether some of my favorite characters will end up being the saviors or the villains, and I find that incredibly exciting. I don’t want the straightforward route, I like when an author makes getting to the conclusion of a series a battle within itself. I have a feeling that we are going to come out of this trilogy feeling like we were in the battles ourselves and there’s no better feeling.
“‘Trust me, I know what’s inside you.’ His bloody smile was grim. ‘Because it’s inside me, too.’”
Before we go, I would also like to give a nod to this cover art. It is visually striking and gives a nod to traditional book covers while looking gorgeously refreshing amongst the recent covers I’ve seen in the fantasy genre.
This was a pleasure to read and I can’t wait to see what Vaughn throws at us next. I am eager to see what he creates as his pacing, character development, and world-building skills keep sharpening against the blade of experience. He has already shown his immense, innate talent with this first novel.