Hey, writers and readers!
It’s not a good month without an indie novel or two. Today I’ll be reviewing The Emperor’s Harvest by R.A. Denny. This is Book 1/5 of the Mud, Rock, and Trees series.
Check out the review below and make sure to give your two cents in the comments section if you’ve already read the book, too!
Rating: 4 stars
When a new star appears, three people from vastly different backgrounds and societies come together to fulfill a prophecy. One is Amanki who is a Webbie; a human with webbed feet like a frog. The second is Brina, a tree person/glider who flies from tree to tree and has been preparing her whole life before the star rises. Finally, Moshoi, a rock person with hard scales on his back wakes up from hibernation and prepares for his long journey.
Each character is united under the same training and the same mentor. Baskrod, a religious and wise man has prepared each young person to go to Tzoladia in order to combine their talents and skills to save their people by usurping the emperor before he sends more soldiers to commit mass genocide and prevent the prophecy from coming true.
What I Enjoyed
Denny establishes the prophecy and the plot early on, so we understand right away what’s going on and what’s at stake for those involved. We get to follow Amanki, Moshoi, and Brina as they come to terms with the prophecy and the role it plays in their lives. Along the way, we learn about their cultures and how they’ve been preparing for their trek to Tzoladia.
I mainly enjoyed learning about each race: they’re all human with some kind of additional, animalistic quality, whether it’s webbed feet, an armored back like an armadillo, or skin flaps like those from flying squirrels. I found it really fascinating and unique. Each character is relatable in one way or another, so there’s pretty much a character for everyone to root for.
What I Didn’t Enjoy
I’m not sure if this was my fault for not paying attention or not, but after reading into the novel, I realized there were a lot of characters to keep track of. Based on the premise and what I understood from the prophecy perimeters, I thought there would basically be one of each race type represented, but sometimes we would go back to a certain race/species and we’re actually talking about someone else. I think because there’s a lot to learn and so much going on at once, you have to be paying attention from the get-go or else you’ll miss stuff.
Another part that wasn’t super great was the pacing. It makes sense now that I know this is a 5-part series, but I expected to make a lot more progress in the plot. There’s a lot of prep work and character establishment; and since there are so many characters, it feels like we only see them scratch the surface of their journeys.
My Final Thoughts
Even though Denny has taken a different approach to write her saga, I predict that it’ll work in her favor with the rest of the books in the series. I personally look forward to seeing where our young heroes take us and how they react once they finally unite.
Other details to mention: there’s no swearing, no sexual content, and very little explanations of violence. It’s a very appropriate and fun read for teenage readers and up.
I hope I shared enough to still pique your curiosity without giving too much away. If you’d like to learn more about R. A. Denny and her work, you can catch up with her via social media:
Do you have thoughts about this novel? Share with me in the comments! You can also see all of my other book reviews by checking out the Book Reviews tab.