I was kind of excited for a new epic fantasy. One that was a standalone was even better. However, I easily forgot how picky I am about fantasy. Visions of Zarua is well-written with minor errors… mostly homophones (grizzly vs grisly, etc).
The story was…well… epic quest fantasy. You have the usual cast of characters, though you do get a second ranger in place of a palladin. Then you have the epic quest… spurred on its way by the prophecy. This story isn’t so predictable despite the fact that our send that way. The characters’ roles are more fluid than they first appear…
Rogerson also finds a work around to the info dump. I hate info dumps… and while Zarua has a few, Rogerson got creative with conveying important information. She made it part of the story. The narrative jumps back and forth between the present and a time 350 years past. Rogerson uses this in a flashback type situation. She also changes POV, going from 3rd person to first with the time changes. It makes the large amounts of world-building narrative easier to swallow, with the added bonus of creating another character with a stake in the quest.
The story itself progresses in a fairly standard manner: disastrous events lead to a staggering reveal which leads to a quest whereby more reveals are made, further inciting the need for the quest. The final climax is drawn out and convoluted, and maybe my favorite part of the story.
Overall, I give this about a 4. Is not my type of fantasy (to much backstory for my tastes with a fairly predictable storyline), but it is a decent read for what it is.
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Visions of Zarua
Two wizards, 350 years apart. Can they save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past?
An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.
Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.
Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.
The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?
Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.
She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.
Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.
She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.
Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.