Altaica

The Chronicles of Altaica Book 1

Fiction - Fantasy - General
304 Pages
Reviewed on 09/06/2014
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite

Isaura, the female main character of Altaica (The Chronicles of Altaica Book 1) by Tracy M. Joyce, is a character you will most likely find quite interesting and likeable in her own unique way. Isaura is different from the people she lives with, and they let her know about it often enough. But as she is a talented healer, and helps the people of her village escape from an invading army, they can't simply get rid of her (though some would like to). The escape on the ship is dangerous, and takes Isaura and her people to a different continent with different people. But will those people with their own conflicts help them? And what plans does that old woman with her bird guardian have for Isaura?

Altaica (The Chronicles of Altaica Book 1) by Tracy M. Joyce is a magical story with interesting characters. I found that the animal guardians were one of the most interesting aspects of the stories. It reminded me a bit of a mix of Shaman and Indian animal spirit guides. I liked Isaura right from the start - maybe because I can identify with her being different and some sort of outsider in her village. Her story is also a story of hope because she turns out to be a rather special individual, and has her own solutions to the problems she faces. She does make decisions that might not be right, which makes it easy to relate to her as a reader. She's not a perfect hero. Another interesting character is Asha. She deserves a whole book dedicated to her! Tracy M. Joyce managed to create characters that stick with you and about whom you would like to learn even more.

Mark O'Dwyer

Your reviewer made a classic blunder when buying Book One of the Chronicles of Altaica: not getting Book Two at the same time. And made another blunder on opening it for 'just a quick look' at lunchtime. I was embroiled in desperate situations on page 38 before realising I was late for work. Quick peeks are not going to work for you with this pacy story. Fortunately 'Asena Blessed' is now to hand and I will be soon immersed once more in this world created by Tracy M. Joyce.

'Her stories are gritty, a little dark and morality is like quicksand. You won’t find any unicorns or fairies here.' (Tracymjoyce.com.)

From the first lines we are on the run with Isaura fleeing a huge army devastating her home. She and some of her community flee down river in a barge which the wind and currents take out into the ocean despite all they can do. The desperate group endures storms and scorching sun and, as the food runs out, they begin squabbling. As the long days pass hope ebbs away, and they become suspicious of one another, particularly of Isaura who, we learn, is not considered 'one of them.'

'Two things your race is known for -magic and murder. Hill clan witch!' .... No one would look at Isaura, no one would speak to her.

Much of the engrossing first part of the book takes place in the cramped confines of the barge. Tensions and fears are exacerbated by the harsh conditions. We readers are plunged into a time of starvation, death and grief, complicated by the corrosive power of envy and a mire of moral complexity. We even get a little romance when Isaura finds herself awkwardly playing cupid to Gabriela and Jamie, who are among her few friends.

'My kingdom for a good looking man who has a fully working brain'. Isuara.

As the refugees drift on helplessly toward apparent death, the action shifts to the peoples and complexities of Altaica, 'a land rich in tradition; ruled by three powerful clans. A land with a history marked by warfare; where magic as we know it does not exist. Instead what is here, in abundance, is a more primal power. (Back cover.)'

'By the gods, how long have they been on this boat? How much longer can they last?' Umniga the Kenati of Bear Clan.

Umniga, a wise woman who discovers the strangers has her reasons for wanting to rescue them, altruism not being the first. She and her acolyte Asha can't do it alone but must persuade the clan chiefs to help. They mistrust one another and see no reason to trouble themselves over strangers. They want to know what is in it for them. A canny play of brutal politics between factions now begins, breaking out inevitably into conflict. When we pick up again with Isaura's particular fate we are hurtling at a hard gallop toward the second book, Asena Blessed.

You can obtain signed copies of the books at Tracy Joyce's website. The beautiful covers of Altaica and Asena Blessed are designed by Karri Klawitter.