THE HERETIC LAND
by Tim Lebbon

PUBLISHER: Orbit Books
RELEASE DATE: 2 August 2012
FORMAT: Paperback, 408 pages
GENRE: Fantasy

Arrested by the Ald, scholar Bon Ugane and merwoman Leki Borle find themselves on a prison ship bound for the island of Skythe – a barren land and the site of long-ago wars. Warped and ruined by the ancient conflict, survival on the island is tough and its original inhabitants are neither friendly nor entirely still human. But something else waits on the island, a living weapon whose very existence is a heresy. Destroyed many years ago, it silently begins to clutch at life once more. (Goodreads)

REVIEWER: Melanie

The story starts with Bon Ugane and Leki Borle bound for Skythe, as punishment for their crimes. Bon fell foul of the law following the disappearance of his son Venden. Leki and Bon team up to try to survive and find themselves on the run for much of the story. It is perhaps the Slayers who hunted him for at least half the novel that were the scariest and potentially the best developed antagonist in the story.

Throughout the novel we are introduced to a number of characters including Juda who helps to rescue Bon and Leki from the Slayers and of course, Verdun who had gone missing years before and the reason why Bon ended up on the island in the first place. The plot centres on the resurrection of a long dead god Aeon and the history of the Skythians.

This is a very difficult review for me to write as I read this book in a bit of a fugue. I started out thinking this was going to be a gripping fantasy but found the lack of detail, the poorly developed characters and rapidly changing scenes caused me to lose interesting quickly and in the end it got rather tedious.

I wasn’t adverse to the overtly religious context as sometimes this can really make a novel but the prose and writing style made this a chore to read. The story lost it for me when we were introduced to Milian Mu where one minute she was killing just about everyone then ended up with a shard of the god Aeon in her and ended up somewhat good. In the following scenes she went from just knowing Bon to being pregnant with his baby. This transition was too swift and with a minimal amount to non-existent background to this change. I wasn’t even remotely interested when Venden was exposed to Bon as being alive and later subsumed by Aeon as the backdrop was so fractured that it was almost impossible to garner any empathy for the characters, let alone understanding of what was going on. Every chapter was a challenge to get through and the end result, in my opinion, wasn’t worth the effort. Overall, this book was a disappointment.

VERDICT:

I started out with THE HERETIC LAND thinking it was going to be gripping fantasy read but I really struggled to finish it. I thought the characters were under developed and the plotline chopped and changed with very little explanation of the world in which the story was set. I was generally quite disappointed with this novel and pure determination got me to the final page rather than any enjoyment for what I was reading.

RATING: 

TIM LEBBON ONLINE
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Melanie

A displaced Canadian living in the UK who when not reading is often found trawling through GoodReads looking for something to read or buying another book on Amazon. [Melanie no longer reviews for the site.]

2 Comments


Carolyn December 26, 2012 at 1:35 pm

This doesn’t sound like my cup of tea at all. I’m not too fond of epic fantasy fiction, and if you found it difficult to get through, then I definitely would.

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Melanie December 26, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I was really disappointed as it sounded like it was going to be really good although got some really mixed reviews…people either loved or hated it.

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