A Warrior’s Tale tells the story of Nayla Treeborn, a half-elf, half-human warrior and her struggles to live in a world that is intolerant of a half-breed.
The novel, while the third in the series, is actually a prequel to the first book. It starts and ends at essentially the same point with the meat of the novel consisting of one long flashback. It sounds odd, but it works after the first jolt into the past. The author avoids the bouncing back and forth by writing one continuous flashback at the very start of the story when the protagonist begins to relive the past. Everything else flows back to that very moment of introspection.
This story is unique in a number of ways. While it is a fantasy novel complete with elves, wizards and dragons, it isn’t your parent’s fantasy story. It feels more like a cross between a fantasy novel and a ninja adventure. The novel is chock full of battles and combat and Ms. Suzuki brings her own martial arts training and knowledge to the page with great effect.
There is a caste of warriors who spend their entire lives training called the Kagai warriors who are masters of war. In fact, they are the dominant warriors in this realm, not the elves as is typical in many stories.
The heroine, Nayla is not the big, brash, busty warrior Amazon in a chain mail bikini. She is a diminutive woman bearing the emotional and physical scars of her father’s abuse. As a half-elf, she is shunned by elf and human alike and ultimately, she is forced to flee her father to survive. She is left in the protection of the Kagai warriors where she finds a home and trains to become one of them.
This is an aspect of the hero that I particularly enjoyed. She is not perfect. In fact, she is badly flawed and prone to over-reacting. Too often the hero is some one-dimensional cutout that is too good to be true. Nayla feels much more real.
The characterization is deep throughout and there were many moments when I found myself shaking my head at a character’s actions simply because they are written as real people with all the faults and shortcomings we all have.
I have one minor complaint with the story and that is the language. It is extremely precise, almost stilted. I suspect this is to give the world a more formal flavor, but it did make for a more challenging read. Still, the story was very enjoyable.
Imago Book 3 – A Warrior’s Tale is a Fantasy Novel written by L.T. Suzuki. It was published October 2003 and is available in Softcover, deluxe PDF and a wide variety of eBook formats. Print books can be purchased thru Trafford Publications, PDF’s from the author’s website and ebooks are sold thru smashwords, iTunes, iBookstore, mobipocket and kobo.
You can learn more at the author’s website: http://web.me.com/imagobooks/IMAGO_FANTASY_REALM/Welcome.html