Autarch LLC (2018)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (12/18)
“Tears from Iron” is the first book in the Memories of the Cataclysm series by Jonathan Oldenburg. This fantasy takes place in a land after a cataclysm was caused by a great war between gods. The war left the land devastated with natural disasters including earthquakes and floods. The Syraestari are immortal beings who broke an oath so that they could live on their own terms. Their terms involved binding others into slavery. The T’Okaedrin are the warrior brothers and the Pi’aernoth are the sisters who serve the Syraestari, which includes capturing others. The warrior brothers and sisters think that they are helping the children that are captured, because they are rescuing them from an uncivilized life. They also believe that the Scions and Wildmen are meant to be enslaved, until one day when a T’Okaedrin named Vistus wakes up to the truth and realizes that he and his people are also enslaved. Vistus has been sent undercover into the slave camps so that he can gather information on the secret locations of the enemy tribes. This will enable the tribes to either be enslaved or destroyed. In addition to learning about the people he is sent to betray, Vistus is also visited by powerful individuals who help wake him up to the truth of his own reality. He discovers that he has within him, the power to be a powerful sorcerer. Vistus struggles with the truth, because it goes against everything that he has been taught and he must decide which side he is going to be on.
“Tears from Iron” is a classic that fans of military or epic fantasies will enjoy immersing themselves in. The author Jonathan Oldenburg has done a fantastic job of creating a land where there are different factions of people who are dealing with warring against each other and huge natural disasters. Throwing magic into this mix adds a great deal more to the drama.
In addition to the fantastical aspects of the story, it is also enjoyable to watch the characters evolve. This especially applies to the protagonist. As he learns the truth about being enslaved, his character experiences a paradigm shift, and he not only changes his attitude towards people whom he thought were below him, but he goes further and accepts them as if they were his own family. The land is also described in wonderful detail. Fantastic cataclysmic events are happening as the story progresses. I found it interesting and unsettling to be reading about earthquakes, while I was experiencing several where I live!
I also appreciated that there is a true ending to the story, instead just being cut off and leaving readers hanging, as some sagas do. The author did leave room for the readers to see that another adventure will follow. There is a lot of violence in this story, however, I feel it is still appropriate for teens and adults. “Tears from Iron” by Jonathan Oldenburg is a large book, yet there is so much happening, the reading goes by quickly. At the end, I found myself wishing that the next one in the series was already available, because I didn’t want to leave this world! I look forward to the forthcoming adventure in this series.