I just finished the fantasy trilogy "The Great Way" by Harry Connolly. Holly cow. What a fabulous series of books.
I'm so lucky to have stumbled on this series after the author had written and released all three books.
When (if) you start the first book you may feel a little lost because it immediately throws you into a new world very different from our own. A world filled with unusual magic, unique customs, sudden battle, historical military terms, strange lands, fantastical creatures, non-stop action, and breath-taking events. And the books don't stop to explain everything to you. You have to learn and understand as you go. But within a couple of chapters you are completely hooked and enveloped by this unique world, and what seemed strange at first becomes accepted and understood. Excellent world building!
The plot never disappoints. It is a series of sudden world changing events, moments of great danger, unexpected losses and a few gains, deep observations and attempts by the characters to understand and adjust to what is happening, and several hair raising escapes from death or fates worse than death. Never a dull moment that's for sure.
The series is told from the points of view of the two main characters: a middle aged soldier with years of experience and a troubled and weary soul, and a very young girl filled with magic and reckless bravery. The adventures these two characters go thru, both apart and together, are amazing. You come to love these two people, their deficiencies, their triumphs, their fears, their moments of indecision and then their determination to carry on even under the threat of certain death. It's a thrill to see both persons mature and lose their prejudices, to expand their capabilities, and to make a huge impact on their beleaguered world.
It's so difficult to describe this unique series. In some ways the series reminded me of a combination of the fantastical science fiction of the old John Carter of Mars books with its daring-do and formal speech, a flavoring of a very grown-up version of the Wizard of Oz with each unique creature that is encountered, a sprinkling of the journey-adventures of Tolkien, a softer (though just as bloody) version of the politics of The Game of Thrones, and (would you believe) some of the terror of The Walking Dead. As you can see, a very different set of books which are delightfully hard to explain. And damn good.
There is a lot of death and destruction and sadness in these books, but also great battles, heroic actions, and wonderful friendships formed thru shared adversities, slowly built admiration, and finally strong pride and affection.
My only complaint was when the books were complete. I didn't want the series to end!
I heartily recommend this series. Five stars! Kudos to Mr. Connolly!