Four women, their stories intertwined with each other, struggle to find their places in the world and to be with the people they love.
Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for this review.
Legends of the Exiles is essentially four novellas in one volume, each story focusing on a different character, and in some ways, a female archetype. Each character is different enough that even though some of them share similarities, each of their stories explores different ground.
One of the common themes is the notion of choice. All the protagonists come from a clannish culture which is not necessarily kind to women and this is reflected in both the choices that get made for them and the results their own choices engender. Resistance against arranged political marriages is seen from inside & out, judgement is placed on victims of sexual assault & unwed mothers and whether the good of the society outweighs personal happiness has to be decided.
One of the greatest pleasures from Legends of the Exiles is the way the stories connect with each other, characters from one appearing, or even starring, in another, makes it that much richer than any one on its own. Sometimes the same scene is featured from another perspective, sometimes a scene beings in one story, then is continued in another. It serves to add authenticity to the world.
There is plenty of evidence of strong world-building. While this stands alone, it is set in the world of Perilisc which is the home of several of the author’s other writings. Maybe the fact that I’ve only read one of those other novels is at fault, but I often found myself wanting to know more about the clan’s and their history and was a little disappointed that it wasn’t forthcoming. Still, that did not detract from the other good qualities to be found here.