Author: Hallie Burton
Genre: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: Novel Plus (276pgs)
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press (Dreamspinner Press) (15th March 2013)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: In Ollas, anything that stirs the emotions is forbidden by the governors—especially music. So when Tallie Tarmelin, a farm boy from a lower-tier guild, is offered a scholarship for his talent in design, he keeps his head down and follows the rules. He’s terrified of breaking one of his society’s many laws and ruining his future. But feeling lost and alone in an unfamiliar city takes its toll, and Tallie accepts sympathy from a guildless social outcast even though he knows it could destroy his reputation.
Despite the rules against casual touching and fraternizing in public, Jonis Sinter offers Tallie comfort instead of denouncing him for an excessive emotional display, and they fast become friends. Secret friends, though, because Worran, the respectable son of a governor, has asked Tallie to be his partner.
When Worran’s mother learns of Tallie’s association with an outcast, she dispatches the militia. Worran sends Tallie a warning, and Tallie flees the city and civilization with Jonis. Surviving the wilds will take every ounce of perseverance they can muster, and the rediscovery of music might be their only solace— unless they recognize the love that’s growing between them.
Review: Tallie is quite happy with his life. He is about to become a Journeyman in the Design Guild. He has a Master who will guide him and he is about to accept the partnership of a wonderful man. But, it all begins to fall down around his ears when his friendship with Jonis, a guildless Bonder, is discovered. Fleeing from the militia for breaking a secret Fundamental law, Tallie and Jonis begin a journey that will bring love and hope back to all the people of Ollas.
This story is of an incredible journey of two young men who discover that the restrictive society that they have grown up with has been stifling the spirit and the joy that can be discovered in a simple life. Tallie is a young man who has gone along with the rules set down by those before him. But, when his friend Jonis breaks a law that they don’t even know about and the militia comes for both of them, they flee to the wilds and begin to discover what the Governors have been suppressing for three hundred years. Sharing their discovery with others is risky, but both Tallie and Jonis agree that the joy they feel must be shared and it begins a change within Ollas that can only make a better life.
This is a very in-depth story of a very repressed society, where anything that could entice emotions is banned and you could get punished for the simplest of touches. I found this story to be fascinating. Nobody but the governors knows what the Fundamental laws are, but the breaking of a Fundamental law is severely punished, so you could break a law and not even know about it. Jonis and Tallis’s journey is incredible as they set out to survive in the wilds while dodging the militia who won’t stop hunting them, falling in love along the way and discovering the true tapestry of life.
This story is well written and the storyline is really good. An entire society will be changed by the simple discovery by two young men. The descriptions are wonderful and at times feel spiritual, but not in a religious way, more pure and celebrating life type of way. The characters are wonderful and they pull together well. Slowly realizing that what has been hounded into them since they were young isn’t right. The characters face danger and love and they buck against a system that is draining the life out of them. They all end up on a journey of discovery, with Jonis and Tallis leading the way and having, sometimes, dangerous brushes with nature.
I have to recommend this story to those who love shaking the foundations of society, finding love, discovering joy and bringing people together, and a happy ending.