Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Genre: Epic Fantasy/ Coming of Age
Approximate word count: 160,000 to 165,000
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“J. Leigh wrote her first novel at the tender age of eleven, delving deep into the extensive fantasy world she entitled Way Walkers. Since then, she has never really left, though occasionally does emerge to enjoy the company of friends, family, horror movies and the ever-popular sushi dinner.
She currently lives in southern New Jersey with a chow-chow, several cats and fictional cast of hundreds.
Leigh's published works include a choose-your-own-type interactive novel Way Walkers: University 1 and 2 with Choice of Games.”
“Twelve Ways create a thousand tangled paths.
Hatched from an egg but unable to shift into dragon form, Jathen is a Moot among the Tazu. His rightful throne is forbidden him because of his transformative handicap, and neither his culture nor his religion offer acceptance of his perceived flaws.
Driven by wounded anger, Jathen strikes out across the vast world beyond Tazu borders, desperate to find a place where he feels accepted and whole. Though he travels with the most trusted of companions, sabotage and conspiracy soon strike his quest. Jathen and his allies must struggle against man and magic alike, at the mercy of forces beyond their ken.
As Jathen presses on, his questions of belonging are surrounded by more of identity, loyalty, and betrayal. Where will the path of his destiny lead, and will he follow or fall? “
Ms. Leigh’s world building in this story was taken to epic proportions and is expertly handled. Tangled Paths is the first book and seems to be Jathen’s story as it begins with his atypical hatching. Here we are introduced to his Tazu race as well as some of the hierarchy of this one species. As Jathen grows older and his world view expands so does our knowledge of their entire world. Jathen is of royal birth, but due to his birth defect, and the prejudices surrounding it, he may never rule. So he sets out to seek his true destiny with an elder Clan charms maker where he finds himself being chased by a destiny that was way more than he was seeking.
Jathen’s quest turned into an adventure of a lifetime that will be enjoyed by adventure seekers, conspiracy theorists, and mystery lovers who revel in highly detailed histories. The characters were all well developed and I grew to care about many of them. However their tangled paths were all a bit overwhelming for me. There are twelve different races in this world as well as twelve different spiritual paths (Ways) to follow (Walk) in life, along with varying levels of magical Abilities and Talents. Ms. Leigh has included a glossary of terms, races, people, children, and ways at the end of the book that was helpful.
As Jathen discovers hidden secrets from the past and when some truths are finally revealed all hell breaks loose with devastating results. It is not surprising that he is left with more questions than answers at the end of this story. One of the most pressing is what is this nontraditional Talent of his? It was interesting to watch Jathen’s journey as it unfolded, Ms. Leigh has constructed an elaborate detailed plot and his quest is far from over.
This novel contains adult language.
No significant errors.
Rating: **** Four stars