Title / The Winds of Khalakovo
Author / Bradley Beaulieu
First published / 2011
Series or standalone / Lays of Anuskaya trilogy
Page no. / 354
Genre / Fantasy
Overall Rating / ★★★★
This is the first book in the Lays of Anuskaya trilogy and it is the author’s debut book. It is set on Khalakovo, a mountainous archipelago of seven islands. Windships are used to travel between these islands. It is a multiple perspective story featuring an interesting magic system and great world building.
I’ve had this on my TBR for quite some time now. I love the author’s other series, the Song of Shattered Sand series, so I’ve been meaning to check out his first trilogy for a while. I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed this book. The world building, in particular, is fantastic. I loved the concept of the seven islands and the use of windships to travel between them. This book introduces the division between the Landed (the rulers), the Aramahn (the indigenous people) and the Maharrat (revolutionaries). Conflict arises early in the book and we are also introduced to a disease called the Wasting, which has plagued the land over the last decade. I really enjoyed this world and I thought Beaulieu did a great job developing it through the book. It has a distinct Eastern European feel to it and a few Russian words are interspersed throughout the book, e.g. da, which means yes, and nyet, which means no (I do not speak Russian so please correct me if I’m wrong). The world building was definitely one of my favourites things about this book.
In terms of the plot, I thought it moved at a good pace and it kept me engaged throughout. It did take me a little while to get into it but after a couple of chapters I had settled into the flow of the story. Beaulieu does a great job at building tension throughout the book and the political intrigue is really well done too. As this is a multiple perspective story, the chapters switch between different characters, but these changes never felt jarring. However I will say that it was a little tricky at times keeping track of where everyone is, since the characters travel a lot throughout this book. Speaking of the characters, I thought they were all well written, although they were a few that lacked a little depth for me.
It was quite interesting to read this book after reading his other series, as you can really see his growth as a writer. In this book the character growth isn’t as strong and there are more loose ends concerning things like the magic system and plot, but then this is a debut book – you can’t expect to be as good as books written later on in a writer’s career (if that makes sense).
Overall this was a great introduction to this trilogy and I can’t wait to see how things progress in the next book, The Straits of Galahesh. If you’ve enjoyed the books from the Songs of the Shattered Sand series, then I think you’ll enjoy this one too. Have you guys read this book? I’d love to know what you thought. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.