cover image The Heretic’s Guide to Homecoming

The Heretic’s Guide to Homecoming

Sienna Tristen. Molewhale, $18.99 trade paper (442p) ISBN 978-1-77524-270-3

Tristen’s ambitious fantasy debut combines a coming-of-age tale, an obsessive love of words and stories, and an opulent created-world setting. Disgraced young Ronoah Genoveffa Elizzi-denna Pilanovani flees his home and his study of the mysterious shalledrim, ancient powerful humanoids who enslaved humankind and were eventually annihilated by their subjects. He ends up in a scruffy Chiropole coffeehouse, barely able to understand the local language, but he understands enough of an overheard conversation about the shalledrim to become fascinated with one of the speakers, Reilin. Ronoah joins Reilin on a journey to the Pilgrim State, setting off a torrent of secondary stories. Each story and its speaker contributes a different insight to Ronoah’s emerging self-awareness. He and Reilin travel first with a group of Tellers, who encourage him to contribute his own history to their hoard of myth, and then leave them to trace the ancient humans’ escape route, where Ronoah laboriously learns to discard self-doubt and build a mature view of the shalledrim and himself. Less dedicated readers may struggle with the often repetitive pop psychology and facile conclusions about what it takes to be a mature adult. However, fans of detailed fantasy worldbuilding will revel in this voluminous story. (BookLife)