When I first read Fated: A Draemorian Chronicle: The Western World by Sebastien Leonard, I was provided with a rough draft to offer my editorial thoughts. My feedback on the rough draft revolved mostly around how much I liked the characters, the potential of the fascinating world Mr. Leonard had created, and my appreciation of the parallels he had drawn between the history of his world and that of ours. I told him to flesh things out a little more and that I would love to see a more polished version in future. Well, I just finished the final version, and to be honest – I was not disappointed.
As a reader, a writer, and sometimes editor (and especially as a writing reader who edits while reading), it is SUCH a joy to me when I see someone reach a potential that I know they have. Leonard’s writing had a spark to it when I read the rough draft. It is so wonderful to see that spark fanned into a flame.
The book is composed of two major parts: the first part being a compilation of journal entries from the minstrel, Sorrownote, and a collection of documents from various characters in the second part who each introduce the histories of the various parts of Draemoria in their own unique voice as a backdrop to the story. The second part is a novella involving the writers of those documents in a battle that sets the readers up for the rest of the series (and, Sebastien tells me, a future video game franchise as well!).
The first part of the book was completely revamped from the rough draft, and I loved how each document was separated by a journal entry and the voice of the character was made much clearer throughout. The rough draft had me confused, but this final version is exactly what I was hoping for.
The novella had a few problems with grammar and sentence structure in the middle, but because the first part of the book had been arranged in such a way that I really cared about the characters and attained that suspension-of-disbelief element, I only really thought about it after the fact instead of being stopped in my tracks, because I was actually so involved in the story that I didn’t care about the grammar.
The rough draft was also devoid of illustrations, and when I received my copy of the final draft, I was elated because Derek Sproule had done some absolutely beautiful artwork for it. A fantasy novel is never really complete without proper illustrations, and the map of Draemoria was also really helpful in helping track the band’s journey throughout the land. The illustrations capture the essence of the novel at its heart, and I really liked that. It was clear the illustrator and the author both shared the same vision, and especially for a new fantasy series, that is very important.
This book is total fantasy nerd fun, and I love it. I think it would make an AMAZING graphic novel, if the opportunity ever arose, and I am actually really excited for the day it becomes a video game because I could see myself TOTALLY addicted to it. The thing to remember when reading this book is that it is the beginning to a series, and Leonard is purposely choosing to introduce the history first so the reader has background to go on, much as one would in a video game’s script, and that the story itself will deepen and become more intricate as other books come out. I am very excited about this new author and I hope you all go and buy his book. I give it a very well-deserved 3.5 stars out of 5.
Support Sebastien and help him get more books in print here: https://www.inkshares.com/projects/a-draemorian-chronicle-the-western-world
See more of Derek’s work here: https://www.facebook.com/DerekSprouleFineArt
So long, and happy reading!