I discovered this book many years ago on the recommendation of Mark Lawrence. The eBook was on sale and I decided to give the story a shot thinking I would enjoy it. What I didn’t expect was to be completely absorbed and engrossed in a story we have seen before, but with wonderful twist, worldbuilding, and beloved characters who will surprise you at every turn. Cities are built in environments seemingly unable to support human life, but that us where the magic kicks in and there is plenty of it in The Whitefire Crossing. This book is a relatively unknown series in the SFF community and I look forward to sharing it with the ambitious readers.
We follow two main POV characters in The Whitefire Crossing and they both have their secrets and mysteries to be discovered. Dev is a smuggler with the perfect cover story. He’s in high demand as a guide for the caravans that carry legitimate goods from the city of Ninavel into the country of Alathia. The route through the Whitefire Mountains is treacherous, and Dev is one of the few climbers who knows how to cross them safely. With his skill and connections, it’s easy enough to slip contraband charms from Ninavel – where any magic is fair game, no matter how dark – into Alathia, where most magic is outlawed.
Transporting cargo and supplies is one thing, but the smuggle in a person into Alathia is a whole different matter. The borders are guarded by magic warders, but Dev made a promise to a dying friend and he takes the job and the dangerous cargo Kiran. Kiran is a young apprentice mage and decides to pay a small fortune to run far away to Alathia and one of the most powerful mages in Ninavel. Dev is unaware of Kiran’s past and they will traverse the mountains and desert terrains to accomplish their tasks.
What makes this book such a compelling story is the pacing, character depth, and interesting magic system. The background for the characters is told organically throughout the journey with our characters as opposed to huge info dumps. The chapters switch back and forth between Dev and Kiran with you never feeling let down. What I loved most about the plot was Kiran’s flashback episodes involving his training, use of magic, and tragedy he had to endure. You will know why he is on the run from his master at all costs.
Finally we have the magic in this world. Mages have different skills based on there power base and strength. For example, the city of Alathia has water mages to control the water supply into the desert city and I find it ironic that the city where magic is banned uses magic in order to exist. It is very much in the same vain as a leader saying one thing but doing another. The world also possesses charms which can be bought and sold with varying powers. This was a nice touch to a fantasy novel.
This is a story about secrets, politics, and survival and its most pure form. The story will not be made clear from the start and it is just a taste of the larger world we get to explore. You will definitely have more questions than answers upon completion of this book especially with the ending we get. Stakes will be high, but the characters will be their along the way. I’m sure some of you have never heard of this story before and I’m am happy to put this on your radar!