Pantheon is the first of a two-part novel by Joshua Landeros. It takes place in the world of Avah, which has known peace for a generation after the devastating Hollow Wars. However, when a chieftain of the Midland Plains on the continent of Sebel tracks down bandits who’d raided his village’s crops, he finds hints of a conspiracy and a heretical cult that are plotting to overturn the peaceful world order. The story is told through the eyes of the chieftain’s daughter Athalia as she travels around Sebel and through Yaphet Orinse, an orphan raised by the venerable Asum of Giganato Shrine, who has seen disturbing visions of war.

Among Pantheon’s highlights is Landeros’ impressive world-building. He gives us enough information about Avah and Sebel that it feels like a real place without overwhelming the reader with a deluge of unneeded history and geography. He’s especially good at letting the reader know that there’s more to the world than what we see – for instance, Yaphet is close to the Asum of Giganato but not a member of the inner circle of the shrine the Asum leads, meaning that he and the reader have an almost but not quite insiders’ view of this part of the story.

The plot moves at a moderate pace. Much of the novel is spent accompanying Athalia on her travels and Yaphet in his training. These chapters make the reader invested in these characters’ lives. Still, Landeros regularly gives us a glimpse of the larger story, so no chapter is wasted space, and the reader always feels like he’s progressing. Landeros’ prose is serviceable; there are no Shakespearean turns of phrase, but it’s never awkward or unclear, either, and he excels at describing the action. However, readers should be aware that the novel does end on a cliffhanger, so those wanting the complete story will need to continue to the second novel.

Pantheon is a captivating dark fantasy novel that immerses the reader into a new world without feeling overwhelmed. The exciting adventure that the two protagonists undertake will give readers a feeling of horror as they encounter strange and dangerous beasts, and at times there is a sense of the more significant danger brewing under the surface as the delicate balance of peace is being disrupted.

Pages: 268 | ASIN : B088SY6PF4

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Posted on November 7, 2022, in Book Reviews, Four Stars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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