Thursday, July 22, 2021

Book Review: Orestin's Own by L. Alyssa Austin

Title: Orestin's Own
Series: -
Author: L. Alyssa Austin
Publisher: -
Genres: Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: August 24th 2020
Pages: 404

Synopsis (Goodreads): The veil is thinning. Every day more undead creatures slip into Everra. Soon their most terrifying kin, spawn of the dark goddess Orestin, will emerge to devour all life. Master Historian Mycellane enlists an aging Knight and an inexperienced priestess to join him on a journey to obtain an ancient artifact-one that can bring an end to the incursion. But their salvation lies on the other side of the veil, in the Dead Waste of Myrcantos, and only one person can bring them through: a Myrcantan necromancer who remains loyal to the enemy. The path before them leads through a barren, unforgiving land. Ravenous abominations lurk in the shadows. But the greatest danger to their mission is the hatred and distrust they feel for one another...


My rating: 4 / 5 ★

TW: Violence, age gap

Orestin's Own follows the story of an aging knight (Solarys), an inexperienced priestess (Caelesta) and a necromancer (Malèbrand), who were forced to go on a journey together to seek for an ancient artifact that can bring an end to the darkness that threatens to destroy Everra. There was nothing bright or warm about this story, only bleakness and a rather depressing journey. If I were to describe the story with a colour, it would be grey.

Despite having three main characters, Orestin's Own was told only from the perspective of Solarys and Caelesta, which left Malèbrand to be a wild card throughout the entire story. While Solarys has an immense hatred against Malèbrand for causing the death of many of his fellow knights years ago, it was difficult to figure out how exactly the necromancer felt towards the knight. Caelesta, having no prior histories with any of the two men ends up being stuck in the middle, trying her best to not let the two murder each other, whether with words or even physically.

I believe what I love the most about this book is how soft yet strong Caelesta's character was portrayed. Although she's a priestess being sent to go on a journey following a prophecy, she possesses no strong powers. When the three were attacked by undead creatures along the way, Caelesta struggles to try healing the men and even herself. Her powers never grows stronger despite how much she prays, but she continues on with her own courage, no matter how small it is. In a bleak story where there seemed to be no hope, Caelesta lights it up in her own way. I may have said Malèbrand to be a wild card, but Caelesta herself can be confusing at times as her motivation is never clear. As much as I was able to read from her perspective, there is always something underneath, something that she keeps beneath her duty as a priestess.

To my surprise, the story did touch a bit on a potential romance. Nothing too hot or passionate, just a yearning and rather painful kind of romance. There is an age gap involved—Caelesta is around twenty, while Solarys is described to be around forty. And Malèbrand's age is never explicitly revealed, but I'm guessing he would be somewhere around Solarys' age as well, considering they have gone on the same war before. Some might find it uncomfortable, but to me, Caelesta is already an adult so she's allowed to be in love with anyone much older than her. There is a certain point where it feels that she yearns for both men, but this is no love story, so these feelings all come at great consequences.

Just as bleak as the story goes, the ending is not a happy one either. What makes the story really interesting is that I can hardly guess what might happen next, whether another group of undead creatures are going to attack them brutally again, or if they will hate each other and simply abandon everything—and the ending is a lot, LOT worse than that. My heart shattered for the fate of Solarys, and Caelesta finally realises her true feelings, while Malèbrand turns out to be better than I thought he would be.

I may have used "bleak" many times to describe Orestin's Own, but this book is a very well written fantasy with characters that are different than the ones I used to find in fantasy books. There is no indication that there may be a continuation to the story, but if there is, I'm definitely looking forward to reading more about Caelesta, Solarys and Malèbrand. Many thanks to the author for reaching out to me to provide me this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you're into character-driven dark fantasy with a great world-building and only a hint of romance, well this book will be perfect for you. This book is available to be purchased through Amazon


She could kill these creatures, but she didn't want to. This isn't me, she wanted to say.
I'm a healer, not a killer.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

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