I read a lot of fantasy books (hell, I just read a lot), and there is one key element that really drags me in and makes me seriously invested in a novel: worldbuilding.
In sixty painfully short pages, Mr. Hopkins has built such a robust world that it seems like all that is left for the remaining books of the Dryad’s Crown saga is to just play the characters across the landscape of Amon (and probably beyond). Part one of this story kicks off with the introduction of Silbrey, née Piper, née Ald’yovlet, a headstrong and remarkably astute foundling in the port city of Penderyn. Without giving too much away, Silbrey is sort of a mix of Jen Williams’ Copper Cat along with some John Wick, and a touch of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd.
Silbrey is trained to do unspeakable things by her “mother” the guildmaster Dahlia Tulun, but then finds love and settles down with her husband to raise a family on a farm.
That’s it, that’s all I’m giving you.
As I said previously, the worldbuilding that Mr. Hopkins has melded together is one of wonder. To make things even more amazing, this tale occurs in a world of his design, Efre Ousel, which he has amazingly created as “open content” in the hopes of fostering a collaborative community of storytellers with the goal of building on each others’ work. The potential gives me shivers.
Book Two of the Dryad’s Crown cannot come fast enough.