Title: Eubeltic Descent
Author: Nadine C. Keels
Genre: Light fantasy, feels more like historical fiction
Publication Date: August 22,2018
Synopsis: As a woman who wasn’t born to wealth or privilege, Abigaia has mastered the art of thievery. And she’s come to hate it. Not only is she plagued by guilt, but her shadowed upbringing and silent ways cause most of her town to question her sanity.
Yet, Abigaia’s eccentric father always taught her to be proud of her heritage. Her ancestry lies across the sea, in a prominent realm she’s read about but has never seen.
The man who desires Abigaia’s hand in marriage doesn’t share her hope of seeing the Eubeltic Realm. But disaster erupts in their path, and Abigaia’s dream may have a greater purpose—if that famed domain of her ancestors is now in crucial need of her.
Eubeltic Descent is fun and interesting. Abigaia, the protagonist, is a wonderfully developed character. She has such depth that it took the entire book to feel like I had even scratched the surface of understanding her. I appreciate complex characters, and hers was especially intriguing! Abigaia is mute, and while this dramatically shapes her life and experiences, it does not entirely define her. So many of her other characteristics are displayed throughout her adventures.
When we meet her, Abigaia appears to be little more than a young adult trying to find her way in a difficult world. She lives with her aunt and uncle, steals to get by, and both argues with and enjoys hanging out with her friends. The first part of the book focuses on explaining Abigaia’s past, setting up our understanding of the cultures in the world, and laying the ground work for the journey she takes in the second half. However, most of this is done in flashbacks and asides so that at the same time we see who Abigaia has become because of her past.
One of the things we quickly learn about Abigaia is that her ancestors came from another land which is said to be much more prosperous than where they live now. Abigaia’s parents cherished their heritage, and as a result she dreams of visiting this land. Minor spoiler: she gets her wish and travels to the Eubeltic region with some of her friends. While there, rather than sight-see and party, she tries to see the area for what it really is, and ends up deciding to audition for a theater group. The friends she makes in this new land challenge a lot of things Abigaia thought she knew, but they also show her more acceptance and love than she has felt in a very long time. This is a story of growth, strength, faith, friendship, and finding not only who you are but who you are meant to be. There are strong elements of Christianity woven in as well, adding to the inspirational takeaway.
Despite being set in a completely fictional land with a fictional history and no correlations whatsoever to reality, this story made fantasy palatable to me once again. There is nothing outlandishly weird in the world, it simply is not our own.
It took a little while for me to really get into this story, but the second half went much faster and easier than the first. There were a few moments when something felt hastily thrown in as an explanation, rather than being organically a part of the world or story’s fabric, but nothing unbearable. Overall, Eubeltic Descent is a fun, interesting, and hope-filled story. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys stories with a happy ending and plenty of meat to the plot.
I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed above are entirely my own, and I provide them gladly.