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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Stories from the Vale: Gifts of the Elven is a work of fiction in the fantasy and adventure subgenres. It is intended for the general reading audience and was penned by author Kathy Ann Trueman. In a fantasy land where those with the gift of magic are forced to hide themselves away for their personal safety, the grandson of the supposedly impartial king sprouts a pair of wings. As Arlin comes to terms with his new status and abilities, he meets the canny junior bookmaster Fiella, who agrees to help him find safety. But there are also those who would seek to use Arlin’s power for their own vengeful gain.
Creating a fully functioning, brand new fantasy world is no mean feat, but author Kathy Ann Trueman has achieved it with ease in her concise but highly immersive fantasy novel. Young adults and adult readers alike will appreciate the emotional complexities and power dynamics between the novel’s main characters, as well as their connection to the wider, oppressive political system working overhead. I enjoyed the magical lore immensely, with a highly inventive variety of gifts for the magical characters to discover and master, but enough solid logic to keep it all under control. When this is combined with the intelligent and well-paced twists and turns of the plot, the result is a novel that is sure to please fantasy fiction fans on all counts. Overall, I would highly recommend Stories from the Vale: Gifts of the Elven as an immersive fantasy read from a very promising author indeed.