Crispina Kemp, historical fantasy author of the five book series, The Spinner’s Game, and Learning to Fly, is about to release another fantastic story, this time, Roots of Rookeri, my review for which you can find below. It’s set for release on 15th April 2022, so add the date to your diary, or follow the link to pre order: Roots of Rookeri eBook : Kemp, Crispina: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Quick Review (read on for full review)
Highly imaginative, engaging and complex, Roots of Rookeri, is a rich, well-woven tale, set in an well-constructed world. With themes of astrology, political intrigue, history, mystery and romance, this story has so much to offer. Highly recommended to fans of wonderfully-intricate, creative fantasy. 5 / 5
Summary (from Amazon)
A Key, a Tree, a Prophecy
Booderas Rookeri-Sharmin – better known as Boody, playwright, poet, dancer and chorusmaster – orphaned nephew of the Elect of Raselstad, disciple of the Forty-First Avatar who brought the Founders to this new world.
“Worth is not measured in gold. To ban a word is not enough. To forbid the metals silver and gold will not lessen their attraction. The Guided Guilds give no protection against the Old-World demons.”
Eshe, daughter of Judge Madir, believes herself tough (she enjoys caving and climbing), unsuccessful in matters of the heart, fears her father will intervene and arrange a marriage.
Kalamite, head of the quasi-religious Runman Order, son of a queen no one has seen, for to ensure her safety he keeps her locked in the mysterious Wood Tower at the heart of Citadel Lecheni. He is her sworn protector.
Sifadis Lafdi, heiress of the wealthiest House in Lecheni. Owns every ship in the Luant; no one eats fish except by her catching. But marriage arrangements threaten, and a ruling husband would separate her from her passion – the study of the ancient documents stored in her library.
A violation of Wood Tower has astrologer-priest Kalamite in fear for his mother, his queen. Planetary alignments foretell an invasion from the south. When Eshe arrives in Lecheni from southern Raselstad, Kalamite moves into action. He insists a spy is sent to Eshe’s hometown. Sifadis jumps at the opportunity to be that spy, to pursue a project of her own and to delay further marriage arrangements.
In Raselstad Sifadis meets her antithesis, Boody with his abhorrence of everything northern and Rothi. Yet they share a love for ancient books and Daabian plants. They also share an ancient connection which on meeting neither expects.
“What is time?” His hands spread in expansive gesture. “A commodity which cannot be bought and yet we spend.”
(From Roots of Rookeri by Crispina Kemp, page 207)
Firstly, it’s worth pointing out, Roots of Rookeri is not set in the same world as the author’s previous books, so you don’t have to have read them to read this one. However, it is also worth pointing out that I do love those other books and never tire of recommending them here on Sammi Loves Books, and the world in which Roots of Rookeri is set is just as authentic and well-constructed as the other one. So read them all! Now, on to my review proper…
Let’s begin with what we first encounter: that beautiful front cover. Isn’t it gorgeous? The colours and the text work so well together to catch the eye and the attention of the reader. The talented designer behind this front cover (and all of Crispina’s releases so far) is Lauren Willmore.
And my thoughts on the story…
Roots of Rookeri is a rich, complex tale, one that, with the imagination of the author, pulls the reader in and grabs their attention. With themes of astrology, political intrigue, history, mystery and romance, this story has so much to offer. I was lucky enough to be a beta reader for this story, and I fell in love with the world and the characters almost immediately. On this, my second reading of the book, I am even more captivated by the places and people, and the storyline as a whole.
The world building is simply remarkable and covers every aspect of life in the two countries. As I read the story I could clearly envisage all the locations visited, from the towered city of Lecheni in Rothi, to the sprawling, open Raselstad in Luban, (there are maps at the end of the story of both places) as well as being able to picture the locales in between. The invented language and slang is intricate and adds another layer of richness to the story. Then there are the two religions and their gods, stemming from one common source but interpreted in a vastly different way by each. I found this so fascinating to read as it so clearly echoes reality.
The interconnectedness of the stories of the four main characters was so cleverly done and woven together. All four were engaging, and together it meant there were so many layers of story unfolding as we progressed through it. Sifadis and Eshe were both strong, intelligent, independent brave women, whose stories almost mirrored each other, yet they were not the same. Boody the poet and playwright was entertaining and smart, and the love of his art was clearly important to him, as was his loyalty to his friends. And as for Kalamite, his single-mindedness and strangeness as well as being head of the Runmen Order made for an intriguing character.
All in all, Roots of Rookeri captures the imagination and transports the reader to another world, and I found once I started reading, I struggled to stop. If, like me, you enjoy wonderfully intricate, creative fantasy, I highly recommend this to you.