Gnochi Gleeman is not like other entertainers. Because of his expansive knowledge of pre-apocalyptic Earth, the stories he tells are valued well beyond the flashes of an illuminator, or the spheres of a juggler. Gnochi spent the first decade of his career telling stories while traveling between taverns, inns, and any hole-in-the-wall which would feed him.
Cleo, a young teen from across the ocean, flees from her chaperone into the woods of an unknown land. During her first months journeying through eastern Lyrinth, she discovers something life-changing about herself. With that discovery comes the knowledge that her life is in grave danger.
Despite a love for the open road and a thrill for telling new audiences about the lost age, Gnochi chooses to retire and focus on curating his family’s hidden library of first-age texts. But the fates would not grant Gnochi the boon of a peaceful retirement. Not long after settling down, he learns that his sister and niece have been kidnapped, and in order to free them, he must assassinate the land’s ruling monarch.
On the path to murder, Gnochi runs into Cleo and the unlikely duo seek safe passage to the Lyrinth’s capital among the dilapidated tents of a traveling menagerie.
All the while, people across the world are beginning to prepare for the once-in-a-decade winteryear. These winteryears, one of the echoes of the first age still present in the current world, have been ravaging the Earth since it awoke from its eternal winter and recovered from its near destruction thousands of years ago. Will proper preparations be taken before the Earth is blanketed in its yearlong snow?
My Favourite Quotes:
“Tears continued to decorate her cheeks, though he suspected they were born of a different emotion.”
“A creeping chill, rising from the thick slabs of stone underneath, forced an impulsive shiver.”
“He wished that it would burst into the flames of his nightmares and consume him.”
“‘For you, Sapphire, I’d give the world as I see it.'”
“The yellow brick road has ended – before the lion found his courage, before the straw man found his wits, and before the tin man found his heart.”
Well, dearest readers, we meet again for another book review. This one brought to you on the day of its publication!
Where to start…
As a reader (and aspiring writer) I love to start a novel as though we are mid-way through the action. Where we are provided with enough information to hook us but not too much to over saturate us. The first book in Matthew Travagline’s duology: Gleeman’s Tales opens in such a way to make us feel as though we are on the precipice of something important. He gives us the perfect taste to whet our literary appetites.
We find ourselves in a world vastly different than the one we currently inhabit whose lost age is a slightly altered version of our current world. Through the eyes of a multitude of characters but especially through the stories of Gnochi Gleeman, and Travagline’s amazing stories within a story writing, the characters and we the reader are provided with insights that have an important bearing on their present and future.
I was completely drawn into Travagline’s ability to weave fact and fiction with tweaks to key past historical events allowing for the present which Gleeman and the other characters live within the pages of this book.
I felt an instant connection to the characters, whose names I loved (perhaps a literary name inspired post will come of this review) even if we only met for a moment or a chapter. (I’m looking at you Oo – I hope we would be friends enough for me to call you by your nickname.) Travagline has a brilliant way of creating characters the reader can’t help but champion.
The story ebbs and flows with enough action to keep you connected as well as enough heart to leave the reader wanting more. Thank goodness it is a duology although I feel like there is enough story here to allow for even more books.
I do have to mention for those readers out there who do not like drop off endings, that book one does leave us hanging… slightly. So prepare yourself emotionally to race to your nearest bookseller for the second installment or guard your heart for the wait in between (which doesn’t have to be long as book two The Harbinger of Change should be available immediately if you are reading this June 2020).
I do have to mention something which grieved me with this novel but please imagine I am relaying it to you in a whisper as it really is a personal opinion and really very trivial. Imagine this is me as a soft whisper wind: There were a few times I wished there had been more fleshing out of certain world building aspects or just a bit more to a particular scene but I feel like it was more in a greedy way for my own sake. I view it as a sign of excellent writing/world building when I want more. I really would love to see this novel turned into a television series!
All in all, I really enjoyed Gleeman’s Tales by Matthew Travagline and look forward to reading on to find out what happens to Gleeman, Cleo, Harvey, Roy and the rest who we left behind at the end of book one.
If you enjoy phenomenal world-building, a well-paced novel and characters who instantly claim your heart I would definitely suggest you read Matthew Travagline’s Gleeman’s Tales.
I heart Gleeman’s Tales this much:
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ !!
Find out more about Matthew Travagline:
Facebook: Fantasy Author Matthew Travagline
*** Copy received from the author in exchange for an honest review ***