In Wilder Lands by Jim Galford

Rating 8.0/10
The huge sense of foreboding coupled with intense character-building make for an interesting read!

As a wildling, Estin is despised by the inhabitants of his city. Being lower than a beggar, every day is a f(l)ight for survival. When he’s tricked into doing a job for the Thieves’ Guild his life takes an unexpected turn. He meets a prideful wildling, something he would have deemed impossible. When she’s attacked and captured life makes a little more sense again, but doubts remain in his mind. Who is this creature and where is she from? Unknowingly, Estin starts a long and difficult journey towards maturity and acceptance. Meanwhile…

The escape of a failed necromantic experiment preludes the biggest war of all time. With unstoppable hordes of necromancers raging through the lands, everything is put on the line to ensure survival. As mages cast the foulest spells ever created, tremendous forces are unleashed. Farmlands are razed, forests are levelled, and refuge is increasingly hard to find as other entities enter the fray. What would you sacrifice to ensure the continuity of life?

The book makes a huge progression in maturity as the story unfolds and Estin grows up. Starting as little more than light-hearted comedy with a flair for dramatics, the story quickly proves to be one of conflict and intense emotion. You follow Estin throughout his life, and experience how his views on life change through his triumphs and errors. He has to face and overcome all his fears and barriers (like his desire to flee and his inability to protect), which is most accurately depicted by the start of every chapter, detailing his ever-changing dream of the genocide of his race.

When I started reading this book I was not expecting much, and I had a good laugh with the silliness of it all (I actually pictured the main character as King Julien from Madagascar after finding out he was a lemur). As the story progressed however, it really grew on me. As the generic threats actually became vicious and increasingly realistic my view swiftly changed. The huge sense of foreboding coupled with intense character-building and some light-hearted joviality made this a very interesting read!

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