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Review

Legends of the Exiles by Jesse Teller

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: https://jesseteller.com/
SERIES: (Stand-alone)
PUBLISHED: April 15, 2019 (Self-published)
PAGES: 455
GENRE: Dark Fantasy

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Blurb

The isolated barbarians of Neather have deep ancestry and strict traditions. Four resilient women defy tribal customs as they fight to overcome their own tragedies. Abuse. Addiction. Assault. Grief. What struggles can they endure to defend their hopes and their hearts?

Helena seeks a love as bold as she, yet finds the men of her village lacking. 

Jocelyn fears her strange visions and sacrifices a life with the man she loves for the one her destiny demands. 

Torn apart by abuse and grief, Ellen is a brilliant woman who must focus her intellect on finding reasons to persevere.

Rachel, a brash girl of noble heritage, dares all men to challenge her and longs for one who will.

In this set of four interwoven novellas, award-winning author Jesse Teller challenges assumptions and showcases the strength of feminine resolve.


Review

ALSO REVIEWED AT: Fantasy Book Critic, Goodreads

The arrow wants to fly, her instructor said all those years ago. It is only waiting for the right moment and the right warrior to fly from.

I always find it exciting to begin reading the works of an author I’m unfamiliar with. There’s the thrill of not knowing what to expect and the hope of thumbing through the final pages with a sense of satisfaction in finding a treasure in a vast sea of wonderful adventures. When I first read the blurb for this book, I knew instantly it was something I needed to read and now that I’ve closed the back cover, I can say with all honesty I’ve found a priceless trinket and Jesse Teller has has gained a loyal reader.

Legends of the Exiles is an exquisitely beautiful and poignant narrative that follows the lives of four women from different clans as they venture to find love, but in the end find their true selves. Each of the four original with an independent voice, and a warrior in her own way, whether it be in the traditional sense of a trained fighter, a survivor of abuse and loss, one who sacrifices all in the name of duty, or one who is willing to do whatever it takes to hold onto true love. All four the living embodiment of fortitude, driven by strength and conviction regardless of how dark and hopeless things may seem. Their ability to stand in the wake of adversity and overcome what life forcefully hurls at them is truly inspiring. It seems as though, despite their differing backgrounds and upbringings, these women have more in common than they may think.

The format of this book is brilliant and something I have yet to encounter. Each woman is the focus of her own novella – four separate novellas, knitted together with the use of similar timelines and familiar faces, adding a whole new depth and understanding of the world that surrounds us as we journey from the mountain to the City of Exiles and back again. Reading this was akin to putting together a magnificent jigsaw puzzle, each page another piece in the grand scheme. Once I began the second novella and witnessed the threads from the first seeping in, I was blown away and completely committed.

What I appreciate most about this story is its ability to tackle issues that many face – regardless of gender – in an authentic and unwavering way, never hiding the grisly aspects that, unfortunately, oftentimes remain behind closed doors. The effects of sexual assault, bullying, shame, death, and all the ghastly pain that follows. Although set in a fantasy setting, it feels real and relatable, and done in a strikingly tasteful way.

I went into this with high hopes and am more than pleased that Teller has exceeded my expectations. Legends of the Exilesis an intelligent exposition of human emotion and behavior deep in its bones. It’s charming and tragic and eloquent and I absolutely adore it. Please please please, give this one a try, I cannot recommend it enough.

I want to thank the author for providing me a complimentary ARC of this wonderful story!

Justine Bergman

Web developer by trade, ravenous reader, excited reviewer, dark fantasy enthusiast, mother of pups, drinker of strong coffee, and player of games. I'm also a contributor over at Fantasy Book Critic and The Fantasy Hive, and I love sharing the love.

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