Title: Tales of the Clans: Ineluctable
Author: Elsy Devaine
Publication date: September 24, 2020
One Sentence Summary: On a diplomatic mission to protect and deliver a young Oracle to Vangr Sanctuary, Tyee and his companions manage to capture a monstrous Ineluctable and plan to use her to manipulate the criminal known as Reaper, but they end up opening the eyes of Tyee and some of his friends to what’s really going on in the world.
Tales of the Clans: Ineluctable is an interesting fantasy read with a lot packed into just over 300 pages. It tells a complete story, but does feel a little rushed and things were a little too easy or convenient. The world feels complete, but a little nebulous as there’s no real deep dive into a culture or history. The characters came off as a little one note, but did have fun personalities that lent themselves to really great friendships. Overall, this story definitely moves and reshapes the past and the future through a seemingly never-ending string of adventure and changed minds in the present, but it also lacks real depth in terms of characterization and world building, and might have a few too many exclamation points that makes the whole story feel a lot more dramatic than it should be.
As a paladin, Tyee is on a diplomatic mission to protect a young Oracle and a Councillor as the Oracle stops in several cities before finally retreating to Vangr Sanctuary. In an unexpected twist, he and his fellow paladins end up capturing a mysterious and mesmerizing woman called Helesys, who also has a connection to a criminal known as Reaper. They plan to use her to get at Reaper. Things, though, don’t exactly go as planned.
With history unraveling at the seams as an Oracle, an Ineluctable, and a Old Blood (all Guardians of Time) gather for the first time since what’s called the Great Imbalance when everything collapsed and the world changed, eyes are opened, sides are changed, and truth finds a way to worm its way out.
The one thing I loved about Tales of the Clans: Ineluctable was that it’s a standalone. It really, truly is. It felt like there were hints of other things to come that at least some of the current cast of characters might be involved in, but this story does neatly wrap up. But, because this book is a little over 300 pages, it did seem to go at something of a breakneck pace.
The story moves. There are times when the characters don’t seem to actually be doing much, but the pace is still quick. Those moments of stillness are really just a pause to gulp a fast breath of air. There’s always something on the horizon hurrying the story along. It made the prose feel a little clipped, and sometimes a little too precise. Almost as though the story was rushing to unfold, it felt more clinical at times than descriptive, especially when it came to things like just how long something was.
The focus felt like it was mostly on the story and not too much on the world building and characterizations. I had trouble getting a real grasp on the history, but got the general gist. It was a little hard to imagine what life might have been like as the characters seemed to really only move around while traveling from place to place or among the upper echelons of society. It was impossible to get a sense of what was normal in the world and how people lived. There’s a history to the world and it felt like a rich one, but I felt a lot of fleshing out was left out in favor of moving the story forward. So, I struggled to really picture this world, to understand how it functioned in order to understand how it might change.
There are a great deal of serious moments and a lot of serious events going on. It’s all about a great shift or change happening in terms of how the world is ruled. With the truth of the past coming out, the way things were done aren’t going to work anymore and it takes people who are gutsy like Tyee and Helesys to stand up and bravely call for change. But there was also something of a jovial air cast over the entire story.
It’s really because of the characters, the way they speak and the way they behave. It felt like, in attempts to lighten the story, the characters took it upon themselves to joke and make fun of things, and speak with too many exclamations points that made things feel a lot more dramatic than it should have been. They weren’t above playfully, or not so playfully, nipping at each other. Often. I did love the interactions between Tyee and his fellow paladins, Kauri and Farik, as it helped show them as a close group that can and will rely on and trust each other. But sometimes the characters felt a little too jovial for the moment, especially the Reaper, but he’s kind of borderline crazy anyways, and I really did love that about him.
I did like the characters, but they felt a little one note. It was nice to get the backstory of the main characters, but it made the others feel a little uninteresting and heightened the joviality so it was a little difficult at times to take them seriously. I also had a bit of a problem with Tyee as he was trained to be diplomatic, but really acted an idiot around Helesys, casting a bit of a sexist air on him that bothered me a little. However, I felt Reaper and Farik helped make up for him. Reaper was incredible and complex and, actually, the joviality fit him a lot better. His history kind of screamed for it. Farik was the reasonable, calm, levelheaded one and I absolutely adored him for it. He was a perfect balance for everyone else and I just loved the consistency of his character.
Then there’s the romance that felt like it came out of nowhere. During the first half, maybe because the prose felt so clinical and the characterizations were not well fleshed out that it made me feel detached, I didn’t get the sense a romance would flourish. Then the second half hit, and so did the romance. At times, it was sweet. At other times I was a little annoyed and just wanted to get on with the story.
Tales of the Clans: Ineluctable does a great job at presenting a whole, full, coherent story. But it also felt it did so at the price of deeper characterizations and world building. It was also overly dramatic and almost too cheerful to fit such a seriously themed story. I liked that it involves recovering history and making things the way they should be, so I wish the air had matched the story more. For someone who dislikes lengthy fantasy series and hates cliffhangers, though, this would be a good option. It’s full of magic, a bit of court politics, adventure, romance, and friendship, as well as an unveiling of truth.
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Thank you to Elsy Devaine for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.