Sister Warrior by Teel James Glenn (A Novel of Altiva)

Welcome to the sensual, savage, and fantastic world of Altiva. It is a world of crystal-smiths and warp wizards, first visited in the novel Death at Dragonthroat where Ku'zn, blue-furred warrior woman of the Z'n, gained her freedom from slavery. Now she begins a journey to free her brother, who along with her had been sold into contract bondage to save her tribe. She visits the strange, plague-wracked city of Orania only to encounter bigotry and deception in her search for him.

It is a quest that will separate her from those she loves and force her to confront her darkest fears, desires, and her deepest inner doubts.

She battles hideous monsters, duels skilled assassins, combats religious zealots, and fights to save the warp orphan, Earthman T.K. Mitchell, from himself. Along the way she just might find love and discover the true meaning of family before it is too late…

Sister Warrior is classic heroic fantasy, full to the brim with swords and sorcery. The book begins with a flourish and after a short prologue we join our blue-furred heroine, Ku'zn, as she sets out to free her brother from slavery. The events that unfold are linear but we are allowed to experience the past history of the characters through mental flashbacks.

Ku'zn is not your typical heroine, her hair is a rich powder blue, she has blue fur and “she had high broad cheekbones and a delicate nose that seemed at odds with the sharp, almost masculine set of her jaw. The most dominant of her facial features were her amber eyes with dark green pupils.” I liked the descriptiveness of the author in regards to his characters; the attention to detail really pays off and allows the reader to form strong mental images. Strangely though, it was a minor character that stole the limelight for me, his name was Skratch and his best friend was a ladle called Scoop (this will make more sense when you read the book). I found this character extremely likeable and, being homeless, he lives rough but still manages to have a “summer” and “winter home”. In the winter he lives next to a wall that has an oven on the other site; keeping both the wall and the boy warm – I hope to read more about Skratch in the future.

“This wall backs on the oven,” Skratch said proudly. “In winter, or rainy days I sleep here-you can feel the heat through the stone.” He touched the wall where it setback into a small alcove and snatched his hand away swiftly to illustrate his point. “Over there is my summer spot.”
Chapter 7: The Bite of a Z'n

Relationships are integral to the story; Sister Warrior differs from the majority of fantasy in that it is not afraid to feature same-sex relationships. I found this refreshing as the fantasy genre has to move with the times and books like this will further promote acceptance in the “real” world.

Teel James Glenn has great experience as a fight choreographer and swordsman and he utilises all of his knowledge and skill to produce truly breathtaking fight scenes. These sections are extremely important to a heroic / sword and sorcery book and this is where Sister Warrior really shines.

“Ku'zn manipulated the eight-foot lance with mercurial speed. She spun, counter spun and blocked with a deftness that frustrated the assassin's most sophisticated attacks. When the assassin cut at her legs she dodged, when the woman thrust at her stomach she parried with the center of the staff and was able to land a low kick to the guild woman's upper thigh. She even forced Lee Zan Kar to parry several lightning quick slashes and lose ground.”
Chapter 19: Duel

Fans of Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcock and David Gemmell will enjoy Sister Warrior, the action is fast-paced, the excitement constant. Sister Warrior is just one Novel of Altiva and although knowledge of the prior books is not essential to enjoy this tale it will provide the reader with a greater understanding of the character. If you're looking for a action-packed, sensual fantasy, then you need look no further.

7/10 If you're looking for a action-packed, sensual fantasy, then you need look no further.

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