Spotlight: The Path of the Fallen by Dan O’Brien

Spotlight is my weekly Saturday feature in which I highlight a book I really enjoyed or am eagerly awaiting.  This week I want to draw attention to a book that was excellent despite being slightly outside my comfort zone: The Path of the Fallen by Dan O’Brien.

The Path of the Fallen by Dan O'Brien

Set against the backdrop of the tundra and a world desperate for hope, the journey of a young man, E’Malkai, will come to define a realm that has been broken by an evil that does not sleep.  A bitter betrayal, and the inception of a war that will consume the world, forces E’Malkai to confront the past and undertake a pilgrimage that is his by birthright.  Follow him on his journey and be transformed.

As you’ve probably noticed, while I read a lot of fantasy, not much of it would be considered epic fantasy.  And certainly none of it would be classified as epic fantasy/science fiction crossover.  That’s why I considered The Path of the Fallen out of my comfort zone.  It took me a while to get used to the unusual names like E’Malkai and the background of Dan O’Brien’s strange world, but once I did I really enjoyed his book.

Dan O’Brien’s world was well thought out and was a compelling mixture of typical epic fantasy tropes like swords and huge battles but also of science fiction elements like spaceships and lasers.  Truly, it’s the best of both genres.  The best part?  The reason for the mixture actually makes sense when you look at the history of the world.  However, the best part of The Path of the Fallen is the characters.  E’Malkai isn’t your typical angsty coming-of-age protagonist and *gasp* behaves maturely most of the time because this is more of an adult novel.  Fe’rein (the villain) isn’t as fleshed-out as I would have liked him to be, but he does make for a great antagonist.

I’d definitely recommend The Path of the Fallen to anyone who enjoys fantasy or science fiction.

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