Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson (2015)
Fiction | FantasyBlurb:
“Two wizards, 350 years apart. Together they must 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 Kalesh 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?”
pooled ink Review:
Thank you to the author for submitting this book for review!
An epic fantasy of sneaky proportions, Rogerson has spun together a rich crimson tale of sorcery, assassins, blood, and mystery. Unsettling darkness rolls through Paltria and upon the horrifying murder of his master, Paddren embarks on a quest to find the killer.
This book is filled with thrill, suspicion, magic, adventure, and a blood-thirsty hunt all brought to life by a plethora of descriptors. Rogerson makes great use of the power of description but they’re woven throughout the action as opposed to how some books just take a couple pages to dump a mountain of adjectives and images and then get to the action. Such a tactic creates an uncomfortable stop-go-stop-go rhythm in the story so I’m glad that Rogerson chose not to go down that path. Rather she managed to paint an image and feeling whilst on the move, avoiding any pause in conversation or moment to wait for its passing.
Enough information is given to the reader to keep them informed and avoid confusion or vagueness, but a healthy portion is withheld to keep the reader hooked. You get little tastes and find little breadcrumbs along the way but you must continue down the path of the plot to be satisfied with an end.
The plot moves at a slow to moderate pace, which works perfectly for the heavy air of mystery that dominates this dangerous quest. I also found its unique concepts intriguing and captivating. I really like the way Rogerson tied in the visions and the almost parallel pursuit of the past. What began as a simple story grew and twisted into another beast entirely.
Visions of Zarua unfolds with a gradual bloom introducing characters, events, and information as it becomes relevant. You must continue reading page to page to glean more about this world and the dark forces that are gathering within it. This is nice because the story remains an epic fantasy but without overwhelming the reader with a sudden onslaught of names, dates, places, events, facts, objects, and blah right out of the gate. Instead it unfolds very much like a mystery where you catch a hint here, you find a clue there, you meet a curious character now, you discover a secret later, and it all slowly gathers together winding tighter and tighter with increasing centripetal force as the book spears its climax and releases its conclusion.
A lot is packed into one book but the story is easy to follow, which I greatly attribute to the author’s display of skill and good writing. Fantasies can honestly be hit or miss (but paranormal has even rockier odds) but this has proven itself to be a good, solid fantasy book that I bet many a reader would enjoy no matter how fanatic they may or may not be with the genre.
Visions of Zarua casts a shadow of excitement giving the fantasy genre a nice little jolt. Teeming with suspicion, lies, murder, and lurking darkness this book continues to twist building itself into a fierce storm that absorbs time and thrills its readers as the characters embark on a ruthless hunt for truth and sorcery.
P.S. I love the cover!
Purchase here: Visions of Zarua
Meet Suzanne Rogerson!
Suzanne lives in Middlesex 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 she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.