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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Aiduel's Sin by Daniel T. Jackson (reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author Goodreads Profile
Order Aiduel’s Sin over HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of Illborn 

OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFORMATION: Daniel T. Jackson is a fantasy enthusiast, with a love for fantastical worlds and epic adventures. After 25 years of creating stories for friends and family, he finally escaped from his day job to fulfil his lifelong ambition of writing The Illborn Saga. Daniel is married with four children, and lives in the United Kingdom. He also loves hiking, cycling and piano, and volunteers for a number of good causes. Illborn is his first published novel.
OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: How does the opportunity ever arise for one person to alter the destiny of a world?

As the nations of Angall move closer to a Holy War, the four Illborn are to face momentous challenges, while seeking answers about who they are and what their growing powers mean.

After Arion and Allana are drawn to opposing sides in the coming conflict, their mutual obsession threatens to bring ruin to them both. In Arlais, Leanna finds herself a target of both the Holy Church and of the killers who are closing in on her. And in Karn, Corin must respond to a deadly new peril, whilst coping with the devastating aftermath of the attack on his wife.

How will the choices and actions of the four shape each of their destinies? Only this much is certain; the mysteries of the Gate and of their dreams still await them, and there will be no peace for the Illborn.

FORMAT/INFO: Aiduel’s Sin  is 672 pages long divided over thirty seven chapters, a prologue, an epilogues & two interludes. Narration is in the third-person, via Corin, Leanna Cooper, Allana dei Monis, Arion Sepian, and Caddin Sendromm. This is the second volume of The Illborn saga.
January 28, 2023 marked the paperback and e-book publication of Aiduel’s Sin and it is self-published by the author.
 OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: I was super excited for Aiduel’s Sin after I finished Illborn. This epic fantasy debut was such a revelation because of the rich characterization and the main plot mystery about who Aiduel was truly and what is happening to our four POV characters. With this sequel, Daniel T. Jackson has taken the core of the story and gone in an even more exciting direction. However because this is book 2 of a series of four. There will be mild spoilers for the previous character’s scenarios.

This story again begins with a prologue in the past focusing on Caddin Sendromm, however this time, we go even further back into the past. There is a crucial incident (that ties into the mythos of this world) that is illuminated and it was absolutely fascinating. I love how the author is writing such terrific prologues to start the story on such an excellent beats. We are once again introduced to our four main protagonists Corin, Leanna Cooper, Allana dei Monis, Arion Sepian. After the events wherein Leanna has been proclaimed the Angel of Arlais, we find that the people of Arlais love her but the royal church has different plans for her. Allana has landed in the duchy of Berun and  finds herself in a position that is to her liking. Arion Sepian now considered a hero, finds himself on shaky footing after his new marriage and the recent invasion by the Ellanis Empire. Corin finds himself a Chieftain and one whose fame and name has spread far and wide. This fame however comes with consequences and it is one that can cause all his plans to be eradicated.

Thus begins the second volume of the Illborn Saga and one wherein the author ups his writing ante as well causes more havoc in the lives of these four special souls. The story begins on a similar route as the first book with each character facing a new aspect in their life. Previously  I had enjoyed Allana and Corin’s chapters a tad more than Leanna and Arion. I had even mentioned in my review “I hope the author displays his skills in upending his life in the future volumes.

I was specifically referring to two characters and the author delivers it in spades in this volume. I really liked how chaotic this book was for every POV character and some of the non-POV ones as well. Two of the biggest surprises of this book are Caddin Sendromm and Aiduel himself. The book’s title is a big clue and I loved how the book was structured similar to its predecessor. The interludes however are explosive in terms of the revelations as is the prologue. There’s a revelation about the past which puts a whole new spin on the concept of the Illborn. I loved the mythology that the author is building within the world and there’s quite a few revelations about the past of this world and I sincerely hope the third book gives us more.

This book really gives each character space to grow and they all grow in different ways. Leanna learns that she cannot be constrained by the Church. Arion learns that his prophetic dreams can have unanticipated after effects. Allana learns that ultimately, she is a survivor and she will do absolutely everything to survive. Corin learns that true leadership means sacrificing your goals for the survival of your people.  All four POV characters face turmoil that is more than what they have previously known. The author doesn’t take any short cuts with his characters and even for those who seem to be taking a darker path. Each and every character is unique and the way they process their emotions as well express their powers reveal their character. In this regards, I very much enjoyed the makings of a Dark Lord path that a character seems to be taking. However I don’t think that the journey will be as straightforward as it seems.

Overall this volume is definitely a solid entry in this series and builds upon the terrific foundation that was laid about by the author. The ending while not entirely predictable, does leave a lot of intriguing threads open for the future books and of course makes the next volume an instantly wanted one. For me, this volume offered lots of thrilling positives and almost next to no drawbacks. I’m sure folks who were unhappy with certain aspects of the story won/t find many things to change their minds here. There’s a lot of violence, religious strife and personal foibles experienced by all the characters, all of it is laid bare here and there’s no sugarcoating any of their actions.  Once again the author showcases how truly messed up this world is due to political and religious conflicts. This series is going to get a lot dark and hence it is definitely not for those even a little bit squeamish. This isn’t just done for show IMO but to truly show how horrid man can to be to his fellows all over scriptural interpretations.

CONCLUSION: Aiduel’s Sin is the exact type of epic fantasy sequel that I love to read. It builds spectacularly on the foundation laid by its predecessor. Allowing characters to shine, plot twists to surprise, and generally being unpredictable with its path. Aiduel’s Sin is epic, bloody, violent and twisty in the best possible way. Honestly, this was the best way to start 2023 and for me, this will be a contender for top reads of the year.



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