Author: Anna Hedley
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Pages: 480 pages
Characters: Blair and Ren
Sub-Genre: High Fantasy
All the women of Yarn have died. King Daniel sends out his twelfth best warrior, Blair. But having learned from the first eleven that warriors aren’t to be trusted, he orders Ren, scholar and advisor, to go with him.
Blair thinks the Amorphous, a race of formless and seemingly omniscient beings, know more about the death of the women than they’re saying. Ren suspects Blair’s prejudices are skewing his judgment, and they’re looking in the wrong place.
If they’re going to solve the mystery and set Yarn right, it’s going to take understanding on both their parts.
I wasn’t sure about this book, even though I love high fantasy. I’m glad I read it. Not only is there an interesting society, one starting to cope now that the women have been gone for over twelve years, but there are multiple races: human, felin, the various elementals (naiad, dryad, etc), and a strange, non-corporal being.
The story has some really neat touches (like the country being called Yarn, the main river Twine, main city Rumple, and the felin being anthromorphic cats). The history, both recent and long past, are well thought out and the plot comes up with surprises here and there.
At first, I thought Barren would just be one of those enjoyable stories you read and then put away to not really think about. I was wrong. It snuck up on me and before I’d read a quarter of the story, I was enthralled. Although it really started to get my attention when Ren told Blair off when they first met.
Ms Hedley has crafted a wonderful story that takes you on a ride you won’t forget. A great book for high fantasy, suspense, or mystery stories. I’m definitely looking for more of her books and this one’s going in my favourites.
Reviewed By: Alison