One of the major elements in creating a comprehensive fantasy saga is the building of an equally comprehensive and cohesive universe in which to set that saga. In THE VOW THAT TWISTED FATE author Katherine D. Graham effortlessly defeats the oftentimes tedious exposition necessitated by a created universe by kicking off the narrative with a very festive, very busy banquet in which characters are introduced, histories are explained and the plotlines that carry the narrative are set out on their courses.
It’s been five hundred years since the legendary Two Queen’s War in which Queen Valera the White was victorious in defeating the forces of evil, though tragically at the cost of her human life. Valera’s direct descendent, Queen Arlena the Fair, now rules over a progressive and peaceable realm, protecting and guiding it with the spiritual and magical powers passed down through her bloodline. A harbinger of that peace being threatened comes in the form of a phantasm which begins to haunt Arlena. The Queen’s suspicions about who the phantasm is are confirmed when Valera manifests in full bodily form. Arlena rightly fears the ghostly visits are warnings are of dire times to come even before Valera finally speaks and tells her scion of the eminent return of the entity whom Valera bested in battle so long ago. Those dire times begins with a stretch of unseasonably terrible weather conditions culminating in overhead explosions which set the realm’s protective forest on fire and open up an ominous pentagram shaped constellation in the sky. Queen Arlena extinguishes the fire with her mystical powers, but in doing so she is nearly fatally drained of her life force. When she awakens two days later she realizes that she cannot possibly fight the dark forces on her own. So powerful is this evil that the Queen not only joins forces with her neighboring nations in the present, but must reach back in time and summon the help of the legendary Dwarven army which defeated the darkness so long ago. Together these forces all subscribe to a vow first pledged in the Two Queen’s War, and bond together to take on the dark forces in a final battle to determine the survival of all nations.
Throughout the narrative Graham’s craft masterfully breathes new life into these and many other of the most prevalent fantasy tropes. It is this craftsmanship, then, along with an involved and well-structured storyline that gives her work its unique voice. THE VOW THAT TWISTED FATE as a whole gives a generous nod to the best fantasy adventures that came before it while twisting around elements of the genre just enough to set it apart as an apt representative of the latest generation of fantasy epic.
With a refreshing new take on the witches and gnomes and days of future past genre, Katherine D. Graham’s THE VOW THAT TWISTED FATE provides a rousing narrative that itself provides the immersive escapism so treasured fans of the genre.
~Johnny Masiulewicz for IndieReader