Born to destroy, raised to love, condemned to choose.
For Panthea, every breath she draws in the Southern Kingdom is an act of repression. Her faith in her goddess keeps her from sin. Her guardian, Rassus, keeps her safe. And a powerful drug keeps her deadly power in check. Yet, none can change what she is: Panthea is an Erkenblood, and her power will always be one misstep away from turning her into a mindless killer.
But for now, her drugs are enough. Her guardian is enough. Her prayers are enough.
Until they aren’t.
When the Queen’s Inquisition raids her home in search of an ancient artifact, Rassus is hauled away, and Panthea finds herself thrust into the center of a bloody conflict with evil on both sides. Can she save the man who raised and protected her without becoming the monster the whole kingdom fears she is? Or will Panthea unleash her darkness… and sacrifice her soul in the process?
The Erkenblood is a fast-paced, action-packed story of dark magic, familial love, and impossible choices.
The Erkenblood is the first book in the dark fantasy series Wielders of Sessara, written by H. Ferry, a beautifully told story with a strong cast of characters and an introduction to a really immersive world. A rather different coming of age story of our character, Panthea, whose development will be a key piece of the plot.
Panthea lives afraid of her own powers, her condition as an Erkenblood being a source of pain for her; all is under control thanks to the use of drugs and the help of her master. Until one day this delicate situation is broken by an Inquisition raid, taking her master to prison; at this point, Panthea will have to control herself and save the man that raised her, avoiding letting the monster inside to take the best of herself.
But Panthea's is not the only narrative plot that Ferry introduces us to, as a second POV, Hillia, a girl who indirectly becomes part of the conflict that is burning through the Southern Kingdom; different circumstances, but both stories will become intertwined by chance.
In general, the rest of the cast is also well developed, and Ferry manages to give them a layer of humanity and vulnerability that makes spending time with them really enjoyable, as we end connecting with their struggles.
The world-building is quite immersive, taking advantage of the relatively slow pacing of the first chapters to introduce us well to the ideas and how the Kingdom is governed; for some reasons, it remembered me of the image of some oppressive countries in the real world, especially for how the Inquisition behaves.
The Erkenblood is a strong debut, with compelling characters, an introduction to a series that I hope to continue in the future; especially, I need more of Panthea.
H. Ferry is a speculative fiction author who writes stories of broken people navigating broken worlds. A scientist and engineer by trade, he strives to use his understanding of the world and his own imagination to create the right mix of realism and magic. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading his next favorite book or building a contraption or a piece of software.