The Torcian Chronicles:Defiance by P.J. Reed #BookReview #BlogTour

Mesham sits dejectedly in a tiny garret above an inn, as the lands of Torcia fall to the magically-enhanced army of the infamous Mivirian Horde. One of the last surviving ancient warlocks of Torcia, Mesham knows he is marked for death.

The Torcian king knocks on Mesham’s door later that evening and offers him the chance of rejuvenation in return for a seemingly impossible mission into the heart of Mivir. Mesham reluctantly agrees, only to realise the evil of Mivir has spread to the very top of the Torcian government.

As Mesham undertakes his quest to complete the mission, he finds himself hunted by his king, by the mighty Torcian warbands, and by the Horde.

But he cannot fail, for the fate of Mesham’s beloved Torcia rests in his hands.

I'm delighted to be on the blog tour for The Torcian Chronicles: Defiance today. Many thanks to the author, P.J. Reed and Rachel Gilbey of Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me and for my copy of the ebook.
Although I've read a few books in the last few months that fall under the broad SFF banner, this first book in P.J. Reed's The Torcian Chronicles series is the first unashamed fantasy that I've read for some time. I'm happy to say that it did a very good job of reminding me just what I've been missing as this is a cleverly imagined, immersive story that I can already tell has the potential to become a hugely enjoyable, complex series.
As with any first book in an ambitious fantasy series Defiance has a dual role to play - it needs to be an engaging story within its own right while also building a rich and exciting fantasy world. The world building here is done very well; Torcia is a kingdom facing almost certain doom as it is ransacked by the marauding hordes from neighbouring Mivir. The merciliess Mivirian Outriders have been magically enhanced and are no match for any mortal forces. One thing I found particularly refreshing about Defiance is that magic in Torcia isn't venerated or celebrated, instead it's feared and its practitioners are forced to wear clothing bearing a downward coiled snake to worn ordinary citizens to keep their distance. Worse, they have to wear anti-magic wristbands, failure to do so is punishable by death. At the start of the book Mesham is an ancient warlock who lives in a filthy garret and is driven to eat rats to avoid starving to death. However, the Torcian king commands him to undergo a dangerous rejuvenation spell before ordering him to embark on a foolhardy mission into Mivir to trigger a civil war there, thus saving Torcia.
Mesham is joined on his quest by two vulgarie (non-magical citizens). The relationship between the three is one of the highlights of the book as suspicion and mistrust becomes at first an uneasy alliance and later approaches friendship. The truths the group learn about themselves lead them to question their beliefs and recall past events with some guilt. Although very much an action driven plot, the character development of the three main protagonists is well handled and bodes well for the rest of the series. Mesham, in particular is a fascinating warlock, his failings and self doubt contrasting sharply with his undoubted ambition now he has been given a second chance in life. He has a fierce loyalty to his country despite being treated so appallingly by his homeland and is prepared to fight to the death to save it.
The companions find themselves in one deadly situation after another and the drama is fast-paced and packed with twists and turns. The three men cheat death several times as the action races towards the gripping climax of the novel. It's a book that demands full attention from its readers, there is so much double crossing going on here that it can be hard to keep track on the various alliances, it means though that Defiance is a thrilling read and it also lays some interesting groundwork for future interactions. Naturally not everything is resolved here, it will be necessary to read the rest of the series to learn the eventual fate of Mesham, his friends and Torcia itself. This richly descriptive, exciting and imaginative book is a superb start to The Torcian Chronicles and I'm eagerly looking forward to discovering what comes next.

The Torcian Chronicles: Defiance can be purchased here and you can follow the rest of the blog tour by checking out the details in the poster below.

About the Author

Writer of warlocks and other magical creatures.
P.J. Reed is a writer and poet from England. She holds a BAEd from Canterbury Christ Church University and an MA from Bradford University. She has been widely published in anthologies and collections. 
P.J. Reed currently lives in Devon, with a handful of teenagers, one feral cat and a dog called Fizz.