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Reviewed by Christina B. Steele for Readers' Favorite
S. Vagus describes his book Kasmah Forma as the name of a world crafted in a character-driven, epic fantasy style. It is not about swords and sorcery, it is about people and places. The fantasy world of Kasmah is divided into three regions: The Maharaan Expanse, Integrum, and the Land of the Gadori. Vagus takes the reader on a journey with a caring and charismatic girl, Kahli, as she makes the transition to a strong and powerful woman. The Maharaan, known for its harsh, hot, and dry desert, has forged Kahli into the survivor she becomes as she travels across Kasmah. To the east is the Jara clan, made up primarily of hunters and warriors; to the west the Harat clan, mostly nomadic traders and scholars. Next, we are introduced to Toyo, a young fifteen-year-old boy who awoke near the Gadori edge. He epitomizes life and rebirth. Through this journey, they encounter strange creatures and tribes in the Kasmah. This is where the story really blossoms, introducing the reader to the Quadras of Kasmah and the Integra Pol, and all their trades, cities, cultures and traditions.
I found this to be a very good fantasy tale of a charismatic and caring woman who finds her fate is not what she had hoped. Vagus does a good job of using a fantasy world to explore the interconnections of his plots - death, life and chaos. The reader sometimes can get lost in the story due to the foreign language used to describe this strange alternate world. It has to be one of the strangest and most surreal fantasy worlds I have read about. Vagus describes it with an almost poetic prose. Once you find the pattern within (The Maharaan Expanse, to the Land of The Gadori, to the Integrum) it helps to cement the plots and subplots without as much use of the Regional Glossary provided. Overall, I very much enjoyed Vagus’ tale of a strange world where Kahli goes from an innocent child to discover her true fate. Strangely suspenseful, I found myself surprised at the way the three plots melded. I found myself searching for more, almost like a memory that I can’t quite recall. I am looking forward to reading more of Vagus’ work to get a deeper understanding of the world he calls Kasmah. If you like the works of Stephen R. Donaldson and Kevin J. Anderson, I think you will thoroughly enjoy this book.