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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
The Manderian Halden is the first book of the Tales from The Sehnsucht Series by Keyla Damaer. This anthology contains seven inter-connected stories set against the backdrop of an interstellar war amongst different civilizations in a fictional universe. A young cadet's dream of joining the Halden Army is irrevocably shattered when he fails to overcome his biggest fear. A Halden soldier's refusal to marry into a powerful noble family brings dire repercussions on herself and her family. A history professor's gamble to support a seditious conspiracy against an oppressive regime puts her own family at risk. An augmented soldier of the Federal Coalition learns of the true circumstances of her birth from a long-lost twin sister, leading her down a path of vengeance. A former Manderian rebel-turned-ambassador manipulates a human into helping him escape the clutches of the Federal Coalition.
If you love to read loosely-connected short stories whose parts make up a larger whole, you will have a great time reading The Manderian Halden. Author Keyla Damaer crafts a believable fictional universe where internal and external conflicts provide the foundation for the tales. These tales are about people caught amidst extraordinary events, trying to navigate circumstances beyond their capacities. The somber tone and gritty feel of the narrative might remind readers of James S.A. Corey's bestselling sci-fi saga, The Expanse. Each character is filled to the brim with personality, with distinct struggles and motives that drive their actions. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and can't recommend it highly enough to sci-fi lovers.