Down Among the Yla
When Vivian LeFevre arrives in the underground city of the Yla, she hopes that it is going to be a new start - an escape from the sadness she left behind.
But, when she starts to be haunted by vivid dreams of clay monsters - dreams that soon become real - Vivian is forced to flee across a continent in an effort to warn her people of the impending war.
On her journey, she discovers the answer to secrets lost in history, the origin of the clay monsters and the truth about what lies at the heart of the Soul Lights. Secrets that Vivian can only find by truly going Down Among the Yla.
"What starts out with an assassination attempt soon becomes a story of friendship, betrayal, and mystery. Ms. Mellor has created a new and interesting race with the Yla who live underground away from the humans they shun. Vivian enters the city as an ambassador and soon becomes friends with the ruler's daughter. Soon everything goes awry. Interesting tale with twists and turns that kept me riveted. Looking forward to more of her work."
"Although I'm not the biggest fantasy fan around, this novel eschews most of the tried and tested sword 'n' sorcery conventions in favour of building an original and intriguing world. No dwarves, elves, dragons or robed mages here; instead we have two races in opposition: the humans and the underground-dwelling Yla. An assassination attempt in the prologue sets the scene for the simmering distrust between the races, which doesn't take long to boil over into outright conflict.
As in Mellor's previous novel, the writing displays a versatile touch. The action scenes (and there are plenty of them) are vivid and exciting, while still allowing the characters time for moments of introspection and interaction. There are some nice mystery elements in there, too: what is the true nature of the wondrous Soul Lights and, perhaps more significantly, what is the secret behind the golem-like clay giants that the Yla send to rain destruction on the besieged outposts of man?"
"Though I’m not a raving fan of the “epic-quest” fantasy much these days, Down Among the Yla ranks highly in the indie fantasy books that I’ve read. The exploration of Yla society was genuinely engaging, and the mysteries intriguing. Though I was skeptical at times that the author could bring a sprawling story like this to a satisfactory conclusion, she does so, and with aplomb."
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