Updated: May 6
It is so much fun to learn about the myriad characters involved in a good series, especially when different people are featured in individual, supplemental books. Series like Chaos Looming by H.B. Reneau incorporate this approach and give more substance to characters who might otherwise be cursory mentions in the story. Not only does this help writers better understand the world they have created, but it also builds readers’ empathy toward secondary participants in the primary storyline.
The Tales of Liamec series is another series that features different characters in each story. Though the worlds connect and overlap, readers get to focus on individual elements of the world in every concise, intentional addition. I’ve been reading the series backwards from the order in which it was written, but this has not hindered my approach or understanding in the least. Because of the series’ design, these books can be read in any order.
Moon & Shadow is the first book in this series, and it introduces readers to a young man named Sebastian. One day, Sebastian stands on a fence and plucks the moon from the sky to place on his mantelpiece. As he goes through town later, he makes several unusual requests of his neighbors and the collection of objects he amasses becomes more important than is initially obvious. With the help of others alongside his own internal strength, Sebastian bravely faces forces of evil to protect his community from harm. I read this book after the others, but the presentation of this story makes it both stand easily on its own and make sense at any point in the series. Please see my full review here.
The Wolf’s Tooth is the second book in this series, though I ended up reading it after books three and four. Unlike the other two that follow, this book focuses less on action and more on the details that immerse readers into the land of Liamec. It follows the growth of a boy named Twee from the time he is a toddler until he is a competent young adult. Through an unusual series of circumstances, Twee experiences the underbelly of Liamec and meets people who support him as his world expands. Please see my full review here.
By the Sea centers on a teenager named Annabelle Fisher who has just lost her brother to a relentless and unforgiving sea. Though she used to be one with the ocean, a better fisherman than many of the men nearby, her love of the water no longer exists after the ocean’s ruthless betrayal. A mysterious visitor to the Duke, a man named Llyr, hears of Annabelle’s beauty and begins to pursue her, revealing truths about himself that alter the course of the rest of her life. Please see my full review here.
Twilight’s Fall is a fast-paced, action-oriented story and is the fourth in this series, though the others don’t need to be read in order for this one to make sense. Because I read it first, there were several elements of the narrative that I wanted to know more about, but the story is based more on action than backstory. This design makes the book accessible to both advanced middle grade readers and young adults, but I still wanted to know more! Good writing and a well-designed structure makes this an enjoyable read. Please see my full review here.
Now that I’ve read all of these stories, I can clearly see how mentions from each tie directly into the others. Questions that I had after reading Twilight’s Fall are answered in By the Sea, just as brief references to characters in By the Sea are familiar because of Twilight’s Fall. Likewise, The Wolf’s Tooth and Moon & Shadow helped me better understand the greater world of Liamec as it relates to the other two stories. No matter what order they are read in, as part of the series or on their own, readers will enjoy each book both for its individual merit and its role in the larger narrative.
J. Steven Lamperti’s writing style is one that I appreciate deeply, as it reveals truths about a fictional world that make it feel real. All four of these stories are accessible to mature middle grade readers and up, even though the protagonists tend to be older teenagers. The inclusion of history, mythology, and recognizable human relationships make this series highly recommended to a wide range of readers.
The Tales of Liamec Series continues!
The land of Liamec is filled with both people and places that make it a unique and memorable place. A girl named Anise has begun to demonstrate skills that are best enhanced at the Academy on the other side of Liamec from where she lives, so she and her pseudo-uncle Sebastian set out to make the long journey together. Along the way, they encounter people and places Anise has never before seen, and she has frequent dreams that are more than what they seem. The Academy is more than Anise could have expected, as well, and after four years there, she is swept into a mysterious circumstance that requires all of her wherewithal to escape. Readers who have enjoyed other stories by J. Steven Lamperti will welcome this return to the land of Liamec and a narrative told primarily from an additional character’s perspective. Throughout the story, familiar characters and situations are incorporated, thereby referencing other books in the series while providing richer context for each of their stories. This novel reads quickly thanks to the brevity of each chapter, and readers are guided through the narrative by way of signposts that mark significant moments and places within the story. While this story is shorter than some others in this genre, it spans a great deal of time, and each individual segment highlights important moments within Anise’s trajectory and education. Readers would no doubt welcome additional information and detail were it to become available, but the story itself is well-written and complete enough to satisfy readers anyway. An author’s note at the beginning advises being aware of the rest of the series and being prepared for the subsequent novel, and the reason becomes obvious at the most riveting moment. This is a lovely addition to the Channeler Series as well as an enjoyable extension of the Tales of Liamec saga. Young adult readers with an interest in fantasy adventure are sure to connect with Anise as she ventures into the unknown to discover her true strength.
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