Author: Sandra Hurst
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Release date: March 17, 2017
My rating: ♥♥♥♥
Blurb: A young exile, Y’keta, finds a place to belong, only to find his new home threatened by secrets from his past. If Y’keta reveals what he knows to the villagers, it will tear their history and traditions apart…but sharing his secrets may be their only hope for survival.
Let me start off by pointing out how rare it is to find a fantasy book steeped deep in Native American mythology or at least a story that resonates with indigenous cultures. If you’re like me, you’ve probably never even heard of such a thing – until now, that is. When it came to Y’Keta, I wasn’t sure what to expect and so, as the story goes, I crawled into the pages to find out.
Told through the perspective of multiple narratives, the theme of Y’Keta was coming of age and the inevitable thrust into young adulthood, something everyone can relate to regardless of where they are in life. Perhaps my favorite element of the story was the writing style, which was almost lyrical. As I read, I felt it the flow of the story like a chant or a prayer, which complimented the story unfolding. Though I didn’t mind the narrative switches, I think others might not enjoy the many perspectives that flip back and forth. For me, it wasn’t an issue, but I could see this being a bother to others.
The culture of the people in the book, especially Y’Keta, is present is everything from the dialogue to the way the characters interact. This world of Natives, animism, and spiritual encounters was enticing and surprisingly easy to read. I didn’t feel as if I were on the side lines – the pale face watching events unfold. I felt like I was inside the story itself, swept up alongside Y’Keta and thrown out into a wild world unfamiliar to me.
In the story, the sky road paves the way to the stars and I could imagine the world of the Umlaat and the Esquialt, and every other village. It’s so easy to blend all these details together and to forget the differences among them, but Hurst managed to do it.
The transition from childhood to adulthood was particularly difficult for Y’Keta, who was trying to move on from his past, but as he learns, he realizes that if he kept his knowledge to himself, plenty of people would suffer. A choice must be made and it was this decision that made me empathize with him the most.
Hurst illustrates each detail carefully and thoughtfully, not overdoing it with frivolous amounts of descriptions or jutting dialogue that cut through pages of monologue. I felt the story was evenly paced with an impressive balance of show versus tell. Before I knew it, I arrived at the end exactly as I was meant to and most, if not all, conflicts were given sufficient closure that I didn’t feel I had been robbed by loose ends or plot holes.
I suppose, in its own way, this is both remarkable and slightly disappointing. Though everything was beautifully written, philosophical, interesting, and I was able to connect with the main character in a way I hadn’t expected – I still felt as if everything was too neat. I was neither surprised nor emotionally blown from a powerful impact and while this is absolutely not a bad thing at all (and is likely proof I enjoy novels that torment me), I found myself wishing there was more.
There was something, in my opinion, that was ultimately missing. BUT, and I need to stress this, it was still a wonderful story to read and one I’d recommend. So I wasn’t blown away by raging fight scenes or the tragic death of a beloved character or an epic love that must triumph evil…..so what. Life isn’t always as messy as I make it out to be and in its own way, Y’Keta focuses on the beauty of life rather than the tragedy.
And that is enough for me to like it.
Check out Y’Keta and if you want to know more about Sandra Hurst, visit her at https://delusionsofliteracy.com
FTC Diclaimer: I received a copy of Y’Keta from Hurst in exchange for an honest review.
Does Y’Keta sound like the kind of book you’d read? Let me know 🙂