Liaju is about to receive her twelfth marks – arcane symbols etched within her flesh, by Divine Decree. These mystic marks grant access to her first matching Convocation. Liaju is plagued by troubling dreams, visions revealing the precipice her people, the Seizen, unknowingly approach – along with a possible path of escape. An obscure path, hidden and locked. Only Liaju holds escape's elusive key, a key as incomprehensible as it is frightening. Self-sacrifice. Must Liaju relinquish all to secure the Seizen’s survival?
Eden, a mischievous child, succumbs to temptation and leads her cousin astray. Their path leads through terror and death, to ultimate understanding. Trickery reveals treachery – for Eden’s misdeed unveils a monstrous murder.
Thrown into a perpetual, remorseless conflict you soon discover Malmaxa is more about the Seizen than place. Sorely troubled, barbaric, complex, and intriguing as Malmaxa is, it remains merely the setting for the true tale – the characters, their motivations, and the choices which shape and define them.
Envision Malmaxa, then step inside and experience a world at once astonishingly different, and disturbingly familiar. Experience Malmaxa… experience, enlightenment?
Beltamar’s War is the first in fantasy series by C. G. Ayling. Ayling creates a world that has a dark ages feel to it filled with cryptic messages, constant war and absolute laws. The people, although they are never identified as humanoids, receive a tattoo to symbolize they are full-grown and ready to pick a mate. The opening scene of mate picking alludes that the women usually pick the younger, more muscular and handsome of the opponents. Beltamar’s War centers on Liaju as opposed to Beltamar.
Liaju is still young when the book opens. She enjoys a close relationship with her twin brother and father. She recounts her confusing dreams that indicate the possible end of their people, the Seizen. It is difficult to make sense of the visions and harder to endure them night after night. It no wonder she turns to her high spirited cousin Eden.
While her cousin Eden provides a distraction, she also nudges her from her ordained path, which is very important to the survival of the Seizen. Liaju is the answer to the mystery, which will save her kind. Unfortunately, to step in as savior will demand sacrifice on her part.
Beltamar’s War is a complex world with rules, words, animals, and clothing just about everything different from our contemporary world as possible. On one hand, this is how fantasy worlds work. On the other hand, the lack of description for words, expressions, even clothing make it hard to comprehend what is going on in the story. A few lines of description would be lovely. While my English teacher thoroughly believed you could understand a word in context, I am here to admit I can’t especially when it is a made-up word. This makes the reading more of a challenge. I have to stop and think is the father referring to his daughter’s hair, her clothing, something else.
My first thought was that I started in the middle of a series and missed vital bits. I didn’t. It might even be nice to have a short dictionary in the back of the book to explain what the words mean if it is not explained in the book. Easy enough to insert this at the end for a comfortable read.
Beltamar’s War is a complex fantasy tale that should please many who enjoy legend-fueled quests. It resembles both the Hunger Games, in the fact that one section of the population depends on a strong female character. It also resembles Lord of the Rings in the aspect Liaju is on a quest to save her world. This book is for adults because of the societal complexities, but teens could read it since there is nothing to offend.