The Godstone


Violette Malan


Science Fiction / Fantasy


Date Reviewed:

December 4, 2021

saw a postive review for The Godstone in the Bookpage SF & Fantasy column, and it sounded intriguing, so I checked it out. The author, Violette Malan is new to me, but based upon the strength of this novel, it will be worth my time to track down her other books. Alas, none are carried in our library system, so I may have to track down a used copy - I see Malan has previously authored a four book series called Dhulyn and Parno.

The Godstone is told primarily in first person from the perspective of its two major characters: Fenra Lowens and Arlyn Albainil. At the start of each section, the name of who is speaking is listed at the top (despite this, I sometimes got confused about who was relating their portion of the story). Fenra is a practitioners (magic-user), a low level talent that works as a healer in the outer modes, rather than staying close to the central source of political power, the Red Court and the White Court in the City. One of Fenra's patients is Arlyn, a sculptor who frequently drifts "low", meaning he falls into a depressed state. Fenra has to restore Arlyn with her practitioner talents. Arlyn himself is an unremarkable personage, a sculptor, but it turns out that he is related to Xandra Albainil, one of the most powerful practitioners the world has known. Xandra is declared dead, and the White Court wishes to enter his vault and examine his treasures, but only someone with Xandra's blood will be able to open the vault. Thus, Arlyn is summoned to the City, and Fenra travels along with him. It turns out that both Fenra and Arlyn have more secrets than the world knows.

I liked this novel because Malan does a great job of world building. The magic seems well thought, and different than in other fantasy novels. Arlyn and Fenra cross several Modes on their journey to the City, and at the boundaries, Fenra's clothing changes - because that is what happens to practitionerss at the Mode edges. Fenra is a healer, and so she is concerned for Arlyn. She also has a horse, Terith, that seems to have an uncanny understanding of human speech. Returning to the city is dangerous, the practitionerss there are powerful and unscrupulous.

Inside the vault of Xandra is thought to be an artifact called the Godstone. It is an item of great power, and obviously certain practitionerss would like to wield it. Can Arlyn and Fenra find a way to destroy the Godstone to prevent it from being used?

Although it does not say on the cover, I suspect that The Godstone is the first in a new series by Malan. If there are subsequent volumes, I will try to read them.