I picked up a copy of A Quiet Rebellion: Guilt (Numoeath Book 1) after reading several of M.H. Thaung’s very short stories (VSS) on her website. For what it’s worth, we follow each other on Twitter. I found her VSS to be well-written and, in some cases, thought provoking. My curiosity got the better of me and I decided to see what she could do when writing in a longer format.
As usual, I went into the book blind. I didn’t read any reviews, I didn’t read the synopses. I prefer it that way. I think that reading little tidbits not only runs the risk of exposing me to spoilers, but it can cause me to form an opinion before I even read the first line.
So here’s the spoiler-free deal with A Quiet Rebellion:
It’s an interesting take on a fantasy story. There’s not really any magic to speak of, but there are beasts who can attack humans and imbue them with almost supernatural powers. This includes powers like starting fires, influencing decision making, or causing pain.
The setting is fantasy-like. There’s a lot of isolation between villages, a central city with a queen and a castle, and transportation consists of either walking or hot air balloons.
One of the more interesting aspects for me is that this society has things like electric lights, hot air balloons, and carts on tracks (sort of like human-powered locomotion), but they still seem to be just coming out of a medieval period. To me, this gives the story an “early steampunk” feel.
The main story follows several characters – an herbalist/healer, a soldier, and a young woman who has recently developed powers after a beast attack. The characters all have unique personalities, which I enjoyed, and they’re all damaged in some way. Not necessarily in a physical sense, but emotionally and mentally. Ms. Thaung did a fantastic job of making them real by giving them internal struggles, self-doubt, and relatable fears.
The story expands as it goes along, introducing more characters and more intrigue. I felt like things were coming to a head towards the end of the book, but it was just a build up before the final page. However, it’s not like the story ends on some terrible cliff-hanger. There are questions that need to be answered, mysteries to unravel, and people who may need to be rescued.
I think the main things I liked about this novel was the slow build up, the unique story line, and the well-developed characters. Also, the author slowly builds the backstory instead of giving it all away at once. I came away from it still not fulling understanding the situation, where these beasts come from, and how their society got to this point. I’m sure more will be revealed in the next book and I’m looking forward to it.
I definitely recommend A Quiet Rebellion: Guilt. Pick up a copy if you’re interested in a unique fantasy.