Publisher: Other Worlds Ink
In the end, Jerrith took off his shirt and wrapped his body around Cas’s gingerly. They lay together on the blanket for a long while, looking out over the lights of the valley and the spray of stars high above. The golden moon had set, and a cool breeze blew up from the Red Hills.
Cas was momentarily at peace for the first time in as long as he could remember. He’d lost track of the time he’d spent with the caravan, days that had rolled into weeks, weeks into months and more. It was close-on two years since he’d been exiled by his father, the King, from the Autumn Lands.
His back itched, but he’d learned to ignore that by now.
Jerrith seemed to notice, though. He pulled away to stare at Cas’s back, his warm hand feeling the nubs there. “What are these?” he asked, and Cas felt a shiver of pleasure go through him at the man’s warm touch.READ MORE
“That’s where my wings used to be,” he said softly, and squeezed his eyes shut. The darkness swelled in his chest again and threatened to overwhelm him. He could still feel the pain from when they had been cut off, at the order of his father. <em>That</em> he remembered. He pushed the darkness back down, and glimpsed something, almost lost in the pain. A strange wisp of a memory of his wings being removed, not cut off, crossed his mind. He shook his head to clear it and turned to look at Jerrith, sitting up behind him.
Jerrith’s face was drawn tight in a mixture of confusion and concern. “Wings?” he said, his brow furrowed. “You had wings?”
Cas nodded, sitting up. He was totally at ease with Jerrith, as if they had known each other forever, even though they’d only met hours before. It was a strange but pleasant feeling. “All of the Nevris are born with wings. You didn’t know?” There was something wrong with that statement, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.COLLAPSE
The world building was well done, enough clear descriptions to allow my imagination to fill any gaps, and the science fiction elements were kept relatively clean and simple, which worked well in terms of ease of reading, and not to give anything away, but I did not see the story ending like it did, although once the final act had been played out, it made perfect sense, and I commend Coatsworth for that “wow” moment.
I really enjoyed Bastian’s narration of the story, how he brought such life to the characters as they undertook their forced journey back to The Autumn Lands. The characterization were distinctive and consistent, Bastian voice was, in my opinion, a great choices, as one of my pet peeves is when the narrator does not match the characters in therms of age / tone. On the technical side, I was pleased with the consistent and appropriate pace and clear diction, which made the story a pleasure to listen to.
I will definitely re-listen to The Autumn Lands and will search out more books by Coatsworth.