Desert Rising: A Bland Generic Fantasy Tale
Desert Rising by Kelley Grant
A while ago, I was looking through the budget tittles on the kindle book store and one caught my eye. It’s called Desert Rising and it is a fantasy set in what appeared to be a Middle Eastern themed fantasy. That sounded uniquely intriguing and I am always in the mood to read something new, so I thought I would give it a try. Here is my review of Desert Rising by Kelley Grant.
The story starts with a desert family who moves into a city up north, and it follows the twin teenagers. The girl Sulis, has a gift from her mother. She has a calling from the god known as the One and pledges herself to the temple. She is an exceptional candidate and head of her class. But the deities, the four pope like servants of the god (The One), are at war with themselves to use their power for personal gain opposed to serving the ways of the One. Sulis hopes once she is accepted in the officially that she can change enough things in the temple to return order. Meanwhile her brother, Kadar learns about slavery in the north. He falls in love with a slave and helps to start a revolution to give the slaves freedom.
The good? This is different. I did enjoy the setting. I like Kadar and Sulis. Their chemistry is wonderful. And I really liked the evolution of Kadar especially. He has a great arc.
The bad? Much of this story is cliche. Sulis’s whole story resembles that of Harry Potter as she attends these classes at the temple, makes new friends, and learns how to channel magic of The One. And to be honest, the tale of a student going to a type of magical school is very over done at this point. Then the mythology and lore behind the gods, deities and the chosen one are all tropes and clichés seen nearly all other fantasies as well. So it is as predictable as ever. Sulis’s story is bland and mundane and her story takes up the majority of the novel as Kadar’s much more interesting tale makes up less than a quarter of the book. There is little action. The climax is short and very underwhelming. And lastly this book has plot of element of casual rape. One of the temple deities likes to rape his female pledges so that the deity of childbirth will have pledges forced into her servitude. And this book is not dark or gritty, so it seemed out of place. To throw something like casual workplace rape of students, into and otherwise PG to PG 13 rated book is tone deaf and somewhat tasteless. There was no need for it to be there other than shock factor. And I just really didn’t like it. It all felt wrong. Also I’ve been picking a lot of fantasy novels because I want to escape the politics, shootings and rape allegations that are on the news 24/7. So this is the worst form of escapism right now.
Overall, this book is dull and bland. It does have some elements of good story in it, but it decides to focus on the boring elements instead. It is a book hard to finish as it is stuffed full of generic fantasy tropes and that offers the most basic forgettable tale. It’s just not a very good book. If you never read fantasy, you may get enjoyment overall, aside from the casual rape element. Otherwise this is a skip. This book is not worth your time.
1 smoothies out of four.
Overall Rating: A Bland Generic Tale of Fantasy