- Depths of Nolcavanor
- R.J. Hanson
- March 25, 2020
- Bloodlines Reforged Saga short story.
As I do, I make my bias’ known at the start of my review. I’m an admin on the official Facebook group (because), I run the official wiki for the saga. I’m a one-time beta reader for the Lords of Order and Chaos series (same saga, same world). I originally received this for free via. R.J. Hanson’s newsletter, though the version I read for this review is part of a recent short story collection.
When I reviewed Death of a City, Birth of a Curse, I mentioned that it would have been nice to see King Ivant’s fight with the Kracken. I thought maybe it wouldn’t feel earned if it just started off right in the middle of combat. Depths proved me wrong in that regard. I had the sample of the story before the ebook and it had me hyped to keep reading it. Despite already having it, I stubbornly waited until I had the short story collection to read it. It was worth the wait.
The night before I read this, I read and re-reviewed Roland’s Path, book 1 of the Heirs of Vanity series. King Lucas was fresh in my mind and I found it eerie to learn how came to be lost in Nolcavanor. I found it exciting to learn more about the Slandik culture. There was a scene involving Scothen, carnivorous man-eaters that evoked feelings of the Predator franchise. I first learned of them from a “Where did it come from? Wednesday!” post on the official Facebook group. I was not prepared for how unsettling and terrifying those creatures were.
In general, the entire novel reads like a horror short story. King Lucas begins with a party of 12, in Roland’s Path, he’s found alone. So as you get to know these characters a little over the course of the story, it makes you feel for their loss.
One of my flavorite aspects of this story are the “blink and you’ll miss it” characters and references to other stories. I won’t spoil what, or who they are. If you’ve read other stories in the saga it makes for a nice nod to the fans or the detail-oriented people. It did leave a couple of unanswered questions for me. What is Kind Lucas’ axe’s name? What ever fappened to it? I don’t recall him having it in Roland’s Path, though it also wasn’t a detail I knew to pay attention to. How did he remain hidden from the Drow for so long? It made me wonder if they left him alone, it seemed so unlikely he’d be able to avoid them and their traps.
I’ve enjoyed these Bloodlines Reforged Saga short stories quite a lot. They’re bite-sized which makes them convenient to read in a single sitting. For example, I read this while making dinner in my air fryer. They help to flesh out the world of Stratvs without having to add a bunch of expository dialogue to the novels, and they’re all-around just exciting. There’s never a dull moment, something interesting is always in front of you.
One final bit of advice; don’t take what the characters say literally. At one point, they say the gods turned the city of Nolcavanor upside down. Then they go seeking a staircase and begin to ascend. Now, how the hell are they going up a set of stairs upside down? That confused the hell out of me and realize the gods didn’t actually turn the city upside down. ‘Cause, you know, that would be too funny or something. This is why fan fiction.