This is a special edition of Dragonmount's Fantasy Reivew: a look at Peter Orullian's Trial of Intentions, which will be released May 26.
After their victory at Tillinghast, Tahn and his companions set out on the next stage of their adventure—and that means parting company.
Tahn seeks to end the war before it begins, by completing his studies in Aubade Grove, and finding a way to strengthen the Veil. If the Veil is strengthened, the Quiet cannot break through. There, he reconnects with people from his past, and reconnects with a lost part of himself.
Mira sets out on a quest to rid herself of the stain Tahn's sin has marked on her. She seeks out a distant race of handsingers who may hold the key to her salvation, and the way for her to produce an heir to the Far king.
Wendra must continue her studies as a Lieholan, learning not only her skills but some of the past memories she's forgotten. Her powerful abilities may help her unravel the reason why the Song of Suffering is changing.
Vendanj and the rest of the group must go to Convocation to bring the kingdoms together in case the Quiet are able to break through the Veil at last. They are opposed by Roth—the leader of the League of Civility—though unexpected allies may be able to help.
This installment is action-packed from the very beginning. The pace of the novel is well done, with a few moments for the reader to catch their breath, but a pull that lasts through the very end of the story.
New players are introduced. Though mentioned and explained in The Unremembered, The League's importance becomes central to the storyline. Their motives become clearer and fleshed out; we can understand their line of thought more—yet they are still at odds with the Sheason, and may even be working against humanity.
The start of the story hammers home the fact that Tahn is an anti-hero. He's flawed, and is not going to be the perfect savior those around him need him to be. That's exactly what makes this tale so interesting. It's not about the black and white of the world, but about the gray areas that all people inhabit.
Tahn grows a lot in this book. He's come a long way from his home in the Hollows, and the insecure boy he was. With his memories returned, conflicting him and helping him at the same time, he struggles with grasping the state of his life right now—needing to find out why he can render the Will with pieces of himself, why the Quiet keep referring to him as the Quillescent, and the simple fact that he's unable to be with the woman he loves. Yet, despite all this, he does everything in his power to help his allies in their fight.
His time at the Grove really expands his character. Before, he was a boy from a small town who set out on an adventure. But here, he's a scholar, arguing the nature of the world and its magic. It's such a completely different side of him, and it's interesting to watch him embrace it.
While the dialogue does have some humor in it, sometimes it feels like the characters try too hard to say witty things. This is also a flaw in some of Brandon Sanderson's works. While I appreciate humor and laughing at characters' antics, it can seem a bit forced in this book.
Though the major plotlines all end on a bit of a cliffhanger—Tahn finishing one part of his Succession, Sutter and Mira off to save King Relothian, and Vendanj running from the Leaguesmen—it doesn't feel like it's unfinished. Each character is so far along in their own mission, working separately to find a common solution.
This was a great read, keeping in line with the epicness of the genre, and the complications expected from realistic characters. This series grows more in depth in each book, and I'm hoping for that trend to continue with the next installment. Orullian's world is absorbing and I can't wait to return to it again.
For more from Mr. Orullian, you can see an interview discussing his first novel in the Vault of Heaven series here. You can also purchase The Unremembered from the Dragonmount eBook store. Trial of Intentions will be released May 26, and can be preordered from Dragonmount. Make sure to check out Mr. Orullian's website for all the latest information on this series.