|Matador (28 July 2021)
|15.3 x 3.5 x 22.9 cm
"A thoroughly enjoyable and compelling read - fast paced, full of adventure, it kept me seeking the answers to finding what was next. I especially related to the main character, who never gave up on her quest."
"The characters draw you in, keeping you intrigued until the end. It's a novel you won't want to finish so you can stay in Tula's world a little longer. If you enjoy mystery, philosophy and action, then read The Abdication."
"As a discerning reader not easily impressed by genre fiction, The Abdication came as a long-desired, pleasant surprise. Justin Newland is a historical fantasy author who successfully broke my growing bias towards fantasy and other forms of genre fiction. The Abdication is a novel worthy, not just to be read, but for a compelling discussion afterward with fellow readers and friends.
The journey of the young girl Tula is an old and new story successfully using the saviour archetype, embodying many themes to provoke ongoing philosophic consideration rather than relying on tiresome, ironic twists of plot. Tula's journey of self-discovery leaves the reader questioning self-determination and the possible forces guiding fate. This journey successfully winds through layers of themes revealing the ugliness of unguided humanity racing headlong with the embracement of a belief in freedom and industry that it truly does not understand and is sorely unprepared to handle.
The story moves at a good pace and keeps the reader's interest through the eyes of Tula. In some parts, Newland slips into the treacherous areas of sounding preachy or morose with philosophy but maintains the interest by carrying deeper thoughts in a well-designed plot. These moments are rare in the novel and the necessity to mention them results only from the fact that this is a fantasy novel and the average fantasy reader will likely struggle in these parts due to lack of discernment. This is not a run-of-the-mill genre fiction novel filled with derivative characters and idiomatic motifs. If you're looking for dwarves, elves, and action spliced between the doldrums of plot - this is not the novel for you!
Newland structures the story in many biblical and philosophic references hidden from the average reader to be discovered by the discerning reader, constructing a story driven by plot and symbolism. This lattice of thought supports the story drawing inferences both rationally and spiritually without overwhelming the reader with argument. His build of the narrative keeps the story away from a simple retelling of a saviour narrative and produces original story readers will insert themselves to realize the great journey underlying and connecting all people. Tula's journey to discover destiny leads her not just to her origin but to the origin of all people and shows the aftermath of a freewill run amuck. The end of a long walk becomes a sojourn of discovery in an industry-polluted place both morally and financially bankrupt on the road to the place of Angels. There in that place, aptly named Topeth, the reader and Tula will confront the truth, faith in oneself, faith in a higher purpose, and ultimately, what it means to abdicate that faith."
Vincent V. Triola, Medium.com, April 2021 - click here for Vincent's review at medium.com