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Fractured Days by Rebecca Roland
Publisher: World Weaver Press
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
My Rating: 5 stars out of 5
TBT Review Date: July 27, 2015
Malia returns home the hero of a war she can't remember. The valley burning under the Maddion's invasion, the fate of her late husband, the way she resolved the long-time distrust between the Taakwa people and the wolfish, winged Jegudun creatures--all of it has been erased from her memory. Malia hopes to resume training as her village’s next clan mother, but when the symbiotic magic that she and the Jeguduns used to repair the valley’s protective barrier starts to consume more and more of her mind, she's faced with the threat of losing herself completely.
A powerful being known as "the changer" might hold the solution to her vanishing memories. But the Maddion's new leader, Muvumo, also seeks the changer, hoping the being will cure them of the mysterious illness killing off his people. Meanwhile, Muvumo's bride hopes the changer can bring about a new era, one in which she and the other Maddion women no longer need to hold onto their greatest secret.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. I do know the author (she is the wife of a dear friend and has become a good friend as well) but my opinions are my own and based on my generally positive view of the fantasy genre.
Rebecca Roland has done it again in the second installment of the Shards of History trilogy (yes, trilogy. She is writing the third book right now). Fractured Days takes us back to the rich and colorful world of the Taakwa and Jegudun, now living in harmony after the Dragon War against the Maddions that Malia won, but can’t remember. Malia just wants to return to her life and remember but there is a unique and unfortunate side effect to the symbiotic magic of the Taakwa and the Jegudun. The Taakwa lose memories as the Jegudun pull power through them. Malia was the main source of that power that lifted the invisible shield back above their valley - locking out the selfish, empiristic Maddions and their deadly fire-breathing dragons. So returning to her life and remembering is a daily struggle. Malia had been set to become the new Clan Mother, training beneath her mother, the current Clan Mother. But how can she ever hope to achieve that status when so much of her memory is gone. And even more terrifying than the lost memories of the war are the present day memories slipping away behind a fog in her mind that threatens to engulf her fully.
As in Shards of History, Fractured Days switches between the perspective of Malia in the valley and the Maddion leader Muvomo, back at home in the Maddion’s cliffside village. In Fractured Days, another character is heard. Muvomo’s wife, Chanwa, is given voice. In the Taakwa society, women are revered as leaders. In the Maddion, women are treated as chattel, even forbidden from learning to read and write and certainly with no rights in the society. Hearing Chanwa’s voice and seeing her perspective brings greater depth to the story. Fractured Days has a very different feel than Shards of History but is no less intense. Rather than the external conflict of war, Fractured Days is driven by internal conflict. Malia struggles with a very personal battle with her memory loss. Muvomo struggles with trying to lead a dying race who can turn on him at any moment as more and more people die from a mysterious and uncurable illness. Chanwa struggles to hide her secret and to keep herself safe in a world very unsafe for women.
Selfishness is one of the main driving forces behind all the characters in Fractured Days. Muvomo seeks to cure his people primarily to maintain his status as Most Worthy and to have his name written in the historical scrolls. Chanwa wishes for freedom and rights for all Maddion women but ultimately seeks to save merely herself. Even our tortured heroine Malia puts her people at risk in order to regain her memories. The consequences of these myriad selfish acts result in major changes and an uncertain future for all the races in this Southwest US-inspired fantasy world. While Shards of History can stand alone, and you can read Fractured Days without having read Shards of History, Fractured Days leaves the door wide open for Book 3. Since I’m friends with the author, she received an “ARGH!!!” text from me late on the night I finished this book. I can’t wait for book 3. I’ve heard there will be llamas! I whole-heartedly recommend Fractured Days to anyone who likes fantasy and strong female characters. Definitely another 5 star book from Rebecca Roland.
Rebecca Roland is the author of the Shards of History series, The Necromancer's Inheritance series, and The King of Ash and Bones, and Other Stories. Her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Nature, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, Stupefying Stories, Plasma Frequency, and Every Day Fiction, and she is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. You can find out more about her and her work at rebeccaroland.net, her blog Spice of Life, or follow her on Twitter @rebecca_roland.