I first came across Peter Orullian when he interviewed Brandon Sanderson. (You can find the interview here.) It wasn’t long until I found out Peter had a new book coming out with Tor called The Unremembered. I read the synopsis and thought, “This looks interesting. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for that one and put it on my TBR stack.” And that’s saying something. If you’ve seen my embarrassingly tall to-be-read stack of books, you’d know what I mean.
Nonetheless, when I did come across the book, I nabbed a copy and stuck it on top of my stack. After finishing a couple of other books I had promised to check out for a few people, I finally got my hands on it and settled down in a corner for a new adventure. The book didn’t look too big so I figured it wouldn’t take me very long to read it. But after a couple of days I found I wasn’t quite halfway done and got to thinking “This book is longer than I thought.” I thumbed to the back and found that while it’s not as thick as some of Tor’s other doorstop books (which I love, by the way), it’s actually 687 pages and according to my unofficial estimates, I figure it’s somewhere upwards of 320,000 words. Now that’s a respectable book. Anyone who can write a book that long and get it published by Tor definitely has my respect.
As you probably saw in the headline, there were parts of this book that reminded me of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. (If you’re curious, you can find anything you want to know about the Wheel of Time series at one of the premier fan sites: http://www.dragonmount.com/.) In particular, The Unremembered opens with Tahn, a backwoods young archer forced to flee inhuman creatures invading his village by being led away by a mysterious, competent warrior into who-knows-where. While the plot follows the type of storyline laid out by Jordan, Orullian does a good job of developing believable characters, each with a separate set of complications to deal with. The villains are real and the book opens with immediate conflict — oh, and by the way, if you’re one of those people who usually skips the prologue, don’t. You’ll be sorry — and probably will be quite lost as the story develops.
If you’ve read many of my reviews, you’ve probably seen by now that I try very hard not to give any spoilers. That’s a real pet peeve of mine so I won’t go too far into the plot. I’ll just let you read what the publisher wants you to know beforehand. Here’s the official blurb:
The gods, makers of worlds, seek to create balance — between matter and energy; and between mortals who strive toward the transcendent and the natural perils they must tame or overcome. But one of the gods fashions a world filled with helllish creatures far too powerful to allow balance; he is condemned to live for eternity with his most hateful creatures in that world’s distant Bourne, restrained by a magical veil kept vital by the power of song.
Millennia pass, awareness of the hidden danger fades to legend, and both song and veil weaken. The most remote cities are laid waste by fell, nightmarish troops escaped from the Bourne. Some people dismiss the attacks as mere rumor. Instead of standing against the real threat, they persecute those with the knowledge, magic, and power to fight these abominations, denying the inevitability of war and annihilation. And the evil from the Bourne swells…
The troubles of the world seem far from the Hollows, where Tahn Junell struggles to remember his lost childhood and to understand words he feels compelled to utter each time he draws his bow. Trouble arrives when two strangers appear — an enigmatic man wearing the sigil of the feared Order of Sheason and a beautiful woman of the legendary Far. They’ve come to take Tahn, his sister, and his two best friends on a dangerous, secret journey. Tahn knows neither why nor where they will go. He knows only that terrible forces have been unleashed upon mankind and he has been called to stand up and face that which most daunts him — his own forgotten secrets and the darkness that would destroy him and his world.
I found The Unremembered to be a good debut epic fantasy novel and look forward to seeing how Orullian grows as a writer. When book two in the series comes out, it too will go on my TBR stack.
You can find author Peter Orullian at http://www.orullian.com
The Unremembered, Book 1 of The Vault of Heaven, by Peter Orullian
Publisher: Tor Books, April 2011
Are you a fan of epic fantasy? I’d love to know who your favorite authors are. Leave a comment below and let us know! Maybe we’ll find someone new to put on our shelves.