I was about ninety percent done with this book when I realized that it was written by the same author of the Evermen Saga: James Maxwell. Boy, didn’t I feel stupid.
Much like the amazing worldbuilding in the Evermen Saga, A Girl From Nowhere sets us up in a vast landscape that feels very well developed. We open on a homestead in the wastelands where Taimin, the primary character, is learning survival and subsistence from his mother, father, and aunt Abigail.
When Taimin’s family is attacked by raiders, he is left crippled and both of his parents left dead. From there Taimin is raised by the very stern Abigail who, while moderately harsh to Taimin, teaches him how to fight and survive.
Later on, tragedy strikes again and Taimin is left to set out into the wastelands to find the perpetrators of the atrocities that have put him in this situation
In a semi-parallel storyline, we meet the mystic Selena. Because of her gifts, Selena has been passed from one wasteland enclave to another; sewing mistrust among superstitious simple people.
Taimin and Selena’s paths eventually cross, and we begin to see how inseparable the two are.
The two of them, along with a few others, set out to find the city of Zorn, a mythical “white city” where the chance at civilization is a dream.
A Girl From Nowhere has all the great fence posts of greatly developed fantasy literature: you have the warrior, the wizard, exotic races, and a stalwart non-human companion. As the story built, I found myself anticipating what fantasy trope would next get employed. To my surprise, there were often subtle twists that really helped move the story forward.
Plus, this book has some of the best gladiatorial fights since Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight series.
I’ll be jumping into book two shortly.