Fantasy Novella Took Me By Surprise

A Reaper of Stone - Mark Gelineau, Joe King

A Reaper of Stone is a special novella. A story which has enough going for it in every area (characters, world building, and story) to make it one of the best short works of fantasy fiction which I have read in a while. Full of colorful drama, thoughtful introspection, and selective action, Mr. Gelineau and Mr. King have crafted a tale which left me wanting more of everything!

The tale begins with a short prologue introducing our main character, Elinor, as seen through the eyes of her friend Conbert. The two meeting one another in the most spectacular of ways.

From here, the story flashes forward several years. Conbert and Elinor now mature individuals cast back together by the “reaping.” This ancient customs sees the King’s Reaper (Elinor) and Royal Engineer (Conbert) on a royal mission to dismantle the ancient, powerful keep of Last Dawn when the royal bloodline comes to an end there. And while these old friends are honorable adherents to their chosen professions, they both feel particularly loath to take down this bastion of law and order in the wilds.

Our protagonists’ angst comes less from any love of Last Dawn and more from their dislike of the soon-to-be lord of this land a fellow by the name of Lord Piersym and his “Razor” Ephed. Both of these individuals represent all that our friends find disgusting and worthy of hate about the kingdom’s arrogant nobility and their “First Blades.”

This hesitance soon grows as Elinor befriends the remaining followers of the deceased Lady of Last Dawn and uncovering a secret which forces her to make a fateful decision!

All in all, A Reaper of Stone was more than I expected. Not only did the authors tell a short, engrossing story, they also endowed it with enough depth and weight of history to turn this land and its people into a living breathing fantasy world. Something which I really wasn’t expecting from such a quick read. The only criticism I can level at it is that the fun was over much too quickly.

I received this novella for free from the authors and Netgalley in return for a honest and unbiased review. The opinion you have read is mine alone and was not influenced by anyone else.