I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Herald of Autumn by JM Guillen
Series: The Paean of Sundered Dreams
Published: 2013 by Irrational Worlds
Source: the author
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I first discovered Guillen’s writing while browsing his free short fiction at Irrational Worlds. I quickly moved on to his short novel Handmaiden’s Fury, which I adored. When Guillen put out a top-secret call for reviewers on Twitter, I knew that I had to become a part of his diabolical plot.
The Herald of Autumn by J.M. Guillen is the story of Tommy Maple, the Herald of Autumn. He is a spirit who awakens at the start of each fall, and has a magical bow that can call upon the Hunt. This year, he is awakened by a trickster Coyote spirit who has been scared by an evil that can consume even gods. Now Tommy must hunt that evil and do what he can to ensure its defeat.
Guillen’s writing is enchanting and sets the tone for the novel. His poetic language encapsulates the essence of his characters and the role that they play in the world.
The brilliant sun shines its last through autumn’s glorious colors. Tonight, the moon will rise full and brilliant, and the people will dance with the harvest. It will be a night of stolen kisses and dire tales of the coming cold. Yet, above all, it is unity, it is family.
It is standing against the dark.
The premise of The Herald of Autumn calls to mind mythic fiction in the vein of Terri Windling or Charles de Lint. Native American spirits are real and still walk the land, but they don’t have the same power they once did. They spend more of their time asleep and people don’t call upon them like before. And yet, it’s a world where stories still have power, and where one’s debts are called to account. It’s a world of danger, magic, and beauty, and the gods’ loss of their former glory could be compared to leaves falling off of trees in the autumn. It seems a part of a cycle rather than the end of existence.
When I read Handmaiden’s Fury, I felt that the story was unfinished. This was not the case in The Herald of Autumn, even though the books are of similar lengths. At a little over a hundred pages, The Herald of Autumn gives us a glimpse into Tommy’s life by describing one of his many adventures. I love reading books of this length because I can relax and become immersed in them without having to worry about the time. They make nice bedtime reading, and you don’t have to risk pulling an all-nighter to finish a book that you can’t put down.
I was extremely satisfied with The Herald of Autumn, and will continue reading more of Guillen’s excellent work in the future.