Path of the Spirit Runner

Rootstock Saga Series Book 2

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
441 Pages
Reviewed on 03/01/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite

Path of the Spirit Runner: Book 2 of the Rootstock Saga is an epic fantasy by L.H. Leonard. Ten years have passed since King Walter abdicated the throne of Innis and the northern clans retreated in the face of the forces supporting his sister. But Queen Anne has brought no justice to the land. Oppression fosters resistance. Fanaticism fans intolerance. Greed sparks conspiracy. Awakening mind gifts parallel developments in science, government, and religion. Forces both human and not are at work in Innis while the distant continent of Tallu beckons. Is it a source of resources to be taken by force, a refuge from persecution, or a homeland to be protected from foreign incursion? A map of Tallu evokes North America. A website provides extras.

In Path of the Spirit Runner, L.H. Leonard masterfully continues the dramatic world-building, suspenseful plot, complex characters, and fantasy elements introduced in Book 1 and extends them into the new land of Tallu. The narrative is well-paced and thoroughly engaging. Leonard’s skill in character development with such a complex cast is utterly amazing. Each chapter unfolds more depth and interlinkages to the protagonists and plot by changing the point of view through which the reader sees them. This makes for some surprises along the way. In Tallu, I was especially entranced with the imaginative tree city of Veridian and the dauntless personality of young Lamochatee and his coming of age. After reading Book 1, I was eager to see how Book 2 would compare. I wasn’t disappointed. Highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

Path of the Spirit Runner is a work of fantasy fiction focused on a tapestry of people across a vast fantasy landscape, and it was penned by author L. H. Leonard. Following the events of Legend of the Storm Hawks, we continue the Rootstock Saga series and pick up where our characters left off before. Healer Isobel and the prophetic John Deighton are destined to cross paths as Deighton imprisons those who have gifts of magic. Meanwhile, across the sea, Tobias Buchanan tries to care for his clan and find a place for them to call him amongst the Este of Tallu, even as the Este seek their own place in the greater order of things.

Suitable for all readers due to its non-graphic style, this is another fantastic epic tale from author L. H. Leonard that is sure to satisfy fantasy fans from all angles. It is a fully formed tale, from its accomplished narrative style, which sweeps across the vast and beautifully developed world which Leonard has created and populated, right down to the up-close emotive narration that follows the characters and gives us a small window into their true souls. I loved Isobel the most for her attitude, empathy and her huge decisions and sacrifices which she is tormented with during this particular plot. There are also some great resolutions to parts of the overall tale here, but an excellent building-up of yet more story that is to come. Overall, Path of the Spirit Runner is highly recommended for fans of mystical worlds with beautifully drawn realism.

Ruffina Oserio

Path of the Spirit Runner is the second book in the Rootstock Saga by L.H. Leonard, an epic fantasy with very interesting characters and a female protagonist that evolves through the story. Isobel has had her fair share of pain and trauma and she has a special gift, a gift she has kept hidden from the world. She has healing powers, but there is more to her than that. She is an empath. The people who welcomed her when she was in dire need are in danger, with an ego-centric and dangerous prophet, John Deighton, who captures weak minds of gifted Aurels. Will she unleash her powers at the right moment or watch the people she loves perish because of the caprices of a dangerous man?

The plot is sophisticated, with different plot lines following compelling characters. While the reader is keen on seeing what happens to Isobel, they also want to find out if Tobias Buchanan will manage to rebuild the New Rhynn for his clan. Meanwhile, there is a spiritual phenomenon marking the end of the cycle with the rise in the number of spirit runners, but darkness looms ahead of Tallu and the future is uncertain. The conflict is skillfully written and I enjoyed the role each of the characters plays in the story. I particularly loved the way the protagonist develops in the story with a clearly defined character arc. I love protagonists that are genuinely flawed, and Isobel is one such character. She is hesitant, uncertain, and less trusting, and this is understandable because of her painful past, so the suspense builds around whether she can fully accept her destiny or not. The prose in Path of the Spirit Runner is gorgeous and L.H. Leonard’s unique phraseology enriches the story and makes for an enjoyable reading experience.