3 out of 4 stars
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In a barren world where lives and lands are vanishing, it is often the case that prophecy meets fate in the most unlikely place. This axiom proves true in John Beachem’s fantasy novel Trinity’s Convergence, Book One: A Trinity of Flames. As its title suggests, the book collides the wildly different paths and convictions of three rival clans, and only destiny’s intervention will prevent the ensuing violent bloodshed.
Readers are plunged into a realm where magic prevailed merely one-hundred winters ago but has since been expelled from creation by a divinely catastrophic event called “the Flame.” Lost and trying to rebuild what’s left of civilization, the people of the land struggle to re-learn mundane tasks and develop systems for culture without the aid of conjuring. A caravan of traveling tradesman introduces the scene and Miryam, a particularly strong-willed young woman, becomes our protagonist. When a meek and bumbling scholar stumbles upon their clan of merchants, all hell breaks loose as he names Miryam key to the prophesized return of magic and the Flame.
Miryam finds herself running from the Children of the Red Moon who are sworn to prevent the return of the Flame, and cautiously accepting the help of the Onyx clan who are enemies of the Children (but historically unfriendly to traders). In a search for answers, the story follows conventional fantasy-style narratives’ multiple points of view along multitudes of paths grappling in one action-packed climax.
Beachem should be praised for his ability to spawn unique characterizations and present fresh settings and concepts. A triad of equally pokerfaced young women from vastly clashing backgrounds are detailed through flashbacks and a smattering of impactful similes which give insight into their humanity. Within his chiefly austere scenario, he incorporates a motley pair of comical medics whose Abbott and Costello-like banter provide a much-needed reprieve from the otherwise resolute exhibition. I also loved his introduction of new fantastic elements like the magical relic that wields the powers of old and a monetary system revolving around glowing stones which can be broken to create heat and light.
Despite my immense like for many of the book’s inclusions, I’ve chosen to remove a star due to the stale story progression and oft-confusing blips of reminiscence. Miryam is presented with a potentially life-changing charge, and the lives of both her family and numerous members of opposing clans are put on hold because of this. It was expected that after the suggestion of her involvement with prophecy, readers would be exposed to all facets of her pains and trials as she came to terms with her new reality (whatever that may be). Given only one murmured sentence of “likely” prophecy involvement though, Miryam and readers are then subjected to chapter upon chapter of stalled story development. No answers or clues surrounding the truth are given until the book’s wrap-up roughly 95% through the almost six-hundred-page saga. Then, once the culmination of information implodes, readers are still left wondering at details rushed through the few pages of the ending chapters.
It also may have been a sense of urgency that flawed what could have been beautifully constructed flashback scenes. Meaningful insights into the terrors of character flaws quickly disintegrated into a muddle of past and present, creating roadblocks to smooth reading. Alluring settings in a magically constructed wasteland are also undervalued because they served as filler scenes rather than structures of detailed import.
Trinity’s Convergence has all the trappings of celebrated epic fantasy. It sets readers up for a sequel and introduces a new world with spirited ideas. Hints throughout the book suggest that Beachem is playing at the devil in the details and executed more thoroughly, this coming of age story could be a smash among lovers of decisions, choices, and fate. I’ve rated this book 3 out of 4 stars in hopes of finding smoother transitions and more cognizant story progression its next installment. Readers of fantasy will likely love this well-edited foray into magic, and I suggest it to anyone who enjoys settling in for the long haul of a series. I for one look forward to Trinity’s Fate and hope it can achieve the perfection eluding its sister story.
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