Book Review: Deltan Skies by Noah Murphy

v1b_EBOOKTitle: Deltan Skies

Author: Noah Murphy

Genre: Fantasy / Adventure

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

A young elven mage named Quintanelle Fillion flees from her totalitarian homeland to New Delta, a dense metropolis made up of hundreds of mile-high towers. She finds employment working for New Delta’s top private detective, a human named Alfonso Deegan, and his red dragon associate Mordridakon. Quintanelle’s first case thrusts her in the middle of New Delta’s own problems.

After millennia of oppression, members of the disenfranchised avian race have taken complete control of the criminal underworld, but what they want is the one thing they can’t steal. To achieve their goals, the avians’ charismatic leader enlists the help of a goblin shaman cast out from her own suffering people. Together they create a risky and daring plan that involves everyone from the city’s inept mayor and a corrupt city senator, to Quintanelle’s new boss and even her own family.

As their plan unfolds, a dark reality emerges. New Delta stands on the brink of total annihilation, and Quintanelle may be the only one who can stop it.

Deltan Skies starts out a little slow. We meet the elven mage Quintanelle Fillion on the first page, who’s recently fled from her homeland Teolos to New Delta, a giant metropolis. Without any worthy credentials (New Delta doesn’t accept any of her credentials from her homeland), she has trouble finding a job, until she runs into an ad to work as a private detective. She decides to give it a shot, but the interview is a lot stranger than she thought it would be. A man shows up trying to persuade her to attend another job interview instead, and turns out she’s late for the interview and sent back home. But then, New Delta’s top private detective, Alfonso Deegan, shows up at Quintanelle’s apartment in the middle of the night to offer her the job.

There’s some info-dumping in the first few chapters, which I think wasn’t completely necessary. We get entire passages about New Delta’s history and customs and Quintanelle’s own history. They slow down the pace, and it would’ve been a lot better had the author told us that information later, in a conversation between the characters, or a snippet here and there. However, if you hang in there and get past the first few chapters, until Quintanelle gets kidnapped by the avians, the action really picks up and the story unfolds.

The avians have taken control of the criminal underworld and have created a plan involving everyone from the city’s mayor to a corrupt senator to Alfonso Deegan and even Quintanelle herself. With New Delta on the brink of destruction, Quintanelle may be the only one capable of stoppings its total annihilation.

Once the avians come into play, the plot gets it together, the action picks up and you realize you’re actually reading a well-crafted, sophisticated, intriguing story about a horde of different races trying to work together against all odds. The stakes are extremely high, and by the time Quintanelle’s own father makes an appearance, I was thoroughly immersed into the world and story.

I must applaud the author for his world-building skills. The world of New Delta is vast and intriguing, and it offers a myriad of different races, a lot of them non-human. The author describes them all in great detail whenever they appear, and shows creativity by coming up with entirely new creatures. New Delta definitely isn’t limited to the typical ‘epic fantasy four’: dwarves, elves, humans, and dark elves / gnomes / goblins / insert evil creature here. There’s a lot more variety, and that makes this book very interesting.

Quintanelle is a great example of character development. She starts out lacking self-confidence, without a job or direction in her life, bordering on the verge of timid. But throughout the book she grows into a confident, self-reliant, strong, capable young woman who doesn’t back down from a little responsibility.

Alfonso goes through less character development, as do the other secondary characters, but he still changes by the end of the book. The changes are so subtle that the reader barely notices them until the end.

With an exciting, fast-paced plot, intriguing characters and an eclectic fantasy world, Deltan Skies is definitely worth reading and recommended to all fantasy fans. Just hang on through those first chapters, and prepare for an enjoyable, action-packed story.

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