THE PRINCESS OF AENYA is author Nick Alimonos’ second novel in his magic and legend filled setting of Aenya, but newcomers will be pleased to know that it reads well as a stand-alone story. Drawing inspiration from the likes of The Last Unicorn and The NeverEnding Story, THE PRINCESS OF AENYA aims to immerse readers into a world of swords and sorcery.
Aenya, a moon revolving around a gas giant named Infinity, is vividly painted from city to countryside. World building in a high fantasy story is always a challenge, but Alimonos takes his time to set the scene whenever a new area is introduced. Bits and pieces of the world’s history and the layouts of its landscapes and villages are slipped in neatly in the opening of chapters and through characters’ contemplations, allowing the reader to organically become acquainted with the locale rather than becoming overwhelmed with terminology. Great care has been taken to ground some of the fantastical elements of Aenya in real world science, from the perils of living so close to the gaseous planet Infinity, to the technology powering the flying galleon machines.
THE PRINCESS OF AENYA is told through the eyes of a rather large cast: the titular Princess Radia who is betrayed and has her throne usurped by her step-brother, Demacharon who is trying to piece together his shattered identity, Eros who uses his status as a shunned branded to aid in his assassinations, and many others. Much of the cast originate from different parts of the world, whether it is economic, societal, or literal, allowing for varied perspectives. Alimonos’ author bio states a love of the tabletop roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons, and the way each major character is rounded out with pieces of personal history and motivations will no doubt remind DnD fans of a detailed player character on an epic campaign. The point of view changes each chapter but the multiple voices are distinct, though, there are a couple of instances where prose and dialogue run a bit melodramatic. However, the overall writing makes for a smooth read with good pacing, colorful imagery, and tense action scenes.
THE PRINCESS OF AENYA draws from fantasy and science fiction to create rich characters, impressive world building, and a multifaceted story, with elements both familiar and refreshingly unique to the avid fantasy reader.
~Yi Zou for IndieReader