Review of Kyra Halland’s Beneath the Canyons: Daughter of the Wildings Book One
Book Blurb: Cowboys and gunslingers meet wizards in this high fantasy set in a world inspired by the American Wild West. Silas Vendine is a mage, a bounty hunter authorized to hunt down renegade wizards. He’s also a freedom fighter, committed to protecting the non-magical people of the Wildings from the overreaching ambitions of the mages. It’s a dangerous life, and Silas knows it. Still, when he comes to the town of Bitterbush Springs, he finds far more trouble and excitement than he bargained for…
Silas is on the hunt for a renegade mage who has brought Bitterbush Springs to the brink of open warfare. In the aftermath of a shootout, he meets Lainie Banfrey, a young woman who is both drawn to and terrified of her own developing magical abilities.
Silas and Lainie team up to stop the lawless mage who has torn Lainie’s hometown apart. Their hunt takes them deep beneath forbidden lands held by the hostile A’ayimat, where only Lainie’s untamed, untrained gifts can save them from the rogue mage and the dark power he has discovered.
Rating: Five Stars – highly recommend
Similar Authors: Bandon Sanderson, Mercedes Lackey
Review: This book had me from page one. It has fantasy, mystery, and western with a great romance plot throughout. The intrigue kept me turning the page, and the well-developed characters made me care about what would happen next.
The plot was evenly paced, and it pulls you along to the end where you will immediately need to buy book two. There are western shootouts and farm hands looking out for their boss’s daughter. There were other magical races with an interest in one of the main characters. And there is a romance that changes the course of two character’s lives.
Lainie is a well-developed character with layers and competing motivations. She’s stubborn and loyal as all heroes tend to be. She’s not one to wait around to be rescued, but if she does need help she joins in to help her would be rescuers. She’s spent her life being told that magic is bad and Mages are soulless, but she believes in herself and trusts her instincts in the face of all she has ever been taught. She’s young and naive, but also strong and insightful.
The magic system is well thought out. The magic has a color/essence and leaves an energy residue. It also has a cost and can be depleted. An overlord style mage council controls the bloodlines and procreation of Mages. The Mage School is used to break them and remake them into something unrecognizable. I can’t wait to learn more about the secret council, and the underground movement to protect plain folk (muggles).
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed Brandon Sanderson’s The Allow of Law.