Exploring #DesertFantasy this #WyrdAndWonder | “Speechless in Achten Tan” (Book One: The Sands of Achten Tan series) by Debbie Iancu-Haddad

Posted Tuesday, 31 May, 2022 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review Year 5 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I stumbled across a reviewer request on Twitter in the middle of #WyrdAndWonder which intrigued me because it was for a novel which had a very bewitching premise! The lead character had lost the ability to speak, and she was on a Quest to find her voice! I had a few concerns in regards to the content of the novel which I discussed with the author prior to accepting the novel for review consideration. Plus, given that our 5th Year of Wyrd And Wonder was already underway, I did have concerns about being able to read it in time before our event concluded. The book took a bit longer to reach me but I was overjoyed once it did arrive as there was something uniquely different about the story and I was hoping that it wasn’t too Dark for me to enjoy reading.

I received a complimentary copy of “Speechless in Achten Tan” from the author Debbie Iancu-Haddad in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

Sometimes stories have a way of FINDING YOU rather than the other way round. When I asked the author directly about content warnings she mentioned to me about ‘fade to black’ romantic encounters and a limited number of explicit words as there was a replacement stronger word given as this is a Fantasy novel. Although one universally known word does make an appearance ever so briefly which I was grateful to hear about as well. Being this is a Desert Fantasy novel with a strong empathsis on Weird Fantasy aesthetics, I had a feeling I would enjoy being inside this world quite well! I wasn’t sure of course about how dark the world might evolve as I knew Mila was going to go on a Quest as all cavern witches must do at some point if they cannot ascend to the next stage of their development but one thing was for certain: I knew the visceral imagery and the enveloping of the world-building would be wholly new and original to discover as I do not spend a lot of time reading these kinds of Fantasy. Although, at some point I need to finish reading Empire of Sand.

I am grateful I was able to connect with the author via Twitter and include this reading with my stack of novels and stories this 5th Year of Wyrd And Wonder! And, perhaps by our sixth year I’ll have more joys of reading more stories in Achten Tan as I am dearly curious about the anthology Tales from the Year Between, Volume One: Achten Tan (Land of Dust and Bone) as much as I am eager for the sequel, too. It would be interesting to see what aspects of the world are explored in the anthology and of course, how that parlays into the series now being written. As the anthology was writ by different writers (all of whom would have different POVs) it would give an interestingly impression about Achten Tan and of course, a lot of curious possibilities of where Iancu-Haddad might take the series itself.

This is another example of why I lament about the blessings of being a socially bookish reader right now in today’s world because readers and writers can find each other in social settings which allow the reader to find stories they might have missed otherwise. I have long been a champion of Indie Publishers and Press as well as Self-Published or Hybrid authors — finding Skull Gate Media through reading this novel was an added bonus whilst continuing to seek out the Indie Fantasy section of a genre I love made my heart feel wickedly happy this Wyrd And Wonder. I love being a book cheerleader for #IndieFantasy storycrafters each May and thankfully I continue to be able to seek out the stories which are elevating my joy of discovery within the genre itself. As even outside of Wyrd And Wonder – these are the stories I desire most to read every week and month of the year.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Exploring #DesertFantasy this #WyrdAndWonder | “Speechless in Achten Tan” (Book One: The Sands of Achten Tan series) by Debbie Iancu-HaddadSpeechless in Achten Tan
Subtitle: The Sands of Achten Tan : Book One
by Debbie Iancu-Haddad
Source: Direct from Author

Mila hasn't spoken in the five years since she became an Onra, a first level Everfall witch. After failing the test to reclaim her voice and control her magic, her mentor sends eighteen-year-old Mila to Achten Tan–City of Dust–a dangerous desert town, built in the massive ribcage of an extinct leviathan.

To reclaim her power, Mila must steal a magical staff capable of releasing it, from Bone Master Opu Haku's sky-high lair. Her only resources are the magical luminous elixirs of the cursed caverns where she grew up, and a band of unlikely allies; a quirky inventor, a giant-ant rider, a healer, a librarian's assistant, a Tar-tule rider, and the chief's playboy son.

But in the City of Bones, enemies & friends are not who they seem, and trusting the wrong person can be deadly. If Mila fails, she will never speak again and her bones will be added to the wasteland. This book includes a kick-ass female protagonist covered in tattoos, giant ants, first-person present-tense narration, magic, banter, lots of innuendoes, and cute boys kissing.

Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fantasy, Weird Fantasy, Upper YA Fantasy

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1956042061

Published by Skull Gate Media

on 20th February, 2022

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 425

Published By: Skull Gate Media (@SkullgateMedia)

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NOTE: This novel began as a short story called “Speechless” and was originally published in Skull Gate Media’s anthology: Tales from the Year Between, Volume One: Achten Tan (Land of Dust and Bone). Whilst Skull Gate Media is an interesting new publishing company as it is a collective amongst the writers who co-own it together.

Notation about Cover Art and Design: The one observation which confused me about the book cover was the fact Mila on the cover looked a bit different than I visualised her in the story. Especially I was missing the artful way her braids had bones threaded through them and for being a gnome she looked far taller than I thought she would as well.

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook

About Debbie Iancu-Haddad

Debbie Iancu-Haddad

Debbie Iancu-Haddad is a Jewish Israeli author living in Meitar in the Negev Desert. Author of Speechless in Achten Tan a YA fantasy novel. And The Bone Master, forthcoming.

She spends her time taking part in Anthologies (seven to date with three more on the way), writing VSS on Twitter, and buying way too much stuff online. Her goal is to promote body positive characters and include characters dealing with physical challenges. #ownvoices

For her day job, she gives lectures on humor, laughter yoga workshops, and chocolate workshops, and sees how often she can make her two teenagers roll their eyes.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

My Review of speechless in achten tan:

Mila is a cavern gnome – which perked my ears as I was trying to remember if I had come across a community of gnomes settled into caverns and who practiced witchcraft; I can assure you this is the first time I’ve seen this kind of story! In her community, each witch like her must pass through certain tests in order to obtain a certain level of enlightenment in their knowledge of magic and witchcraft. Yet, if their unable to wield the magic and skill needed to complete the test, their speech remains elusively lost and their lessons must continue in order to ascend to the next level of their studies. It seems easy enough but as Iancu-Haddad discloses nothing is as easy as it appears and of course, in other stories I’ve read or seen about witches part of their abilities are co-dependent on either their emotions or their thoughts; as magic is far more than mere spells and manipulating the elements of the natural world.

Her best friend Geb is her confidante but also the person whom she trusts the most to give her advice. They had history between them but I felt their relationship was platonic for a reason rather than a missed connection of the heart. Soon after we’ve met them both – their each given a different Quest they must undertake by themselves. Geb wants to prove his worth and Mila wants to know that she has something of worth inside her to save; which made each of their individual Quests similar but not the same as Mila used to have confidence in her gifts but had lost her way. Geb on the other hand I felt never fully realised his own talent and didn’t believe in what set him apart from others in his community. I hoped they would both find restoration along their journey but before then, I appreciated getting a glimpse into the character known as Nora. She was Mila’s mentor and teacher but even she recognised that Mila’s issues went far deeper than her lessons could unearth. It was her idea for Mila to take the journey to Achten Tan and to seek out a woman who knew more than Nora about these kinds of things. It was there in her company we learnt how the cavern witches use different kinds of algae to infuse their magic and how that kind of magic can have different effects on those who use it.

love connecting to Fantasy through descriptive narrative and Iancu-Haddad didn’t disappoint me – especially as she settled us into the desert region of this world by describing what happened to Mila’s braid and what she adorned herself with as it all rattled and flew in the winds of sand! When she brought the wraiths though I was as shocked as Mila at what we both saw in that scene whilst knowing there were giant ants in Achten Tan is wholly different than seeing them! I almost felt the ants themselves were safer to be around than their riders who were a rough lot to say the least! Mila relies on her trainings with Nora to embolden herself to handle different situations which were a trial and test of their own even without Nora’s direct influence on her as she travelled so very far away from home. I almost thought her emotions were going to eclipse her courage though – as those wraiths truly are the darker sorts who prey on memories and emotional anguish!

Gerwyn was Achten Tan’s seer and she was the person of whom Nora sent Mila to find as she was critical in undertaking the next steps in Mila’s apprenticeship towards understanding her gifts and heritage. Gerwyn herself was quite the unexpected woman – more aged than full of youth with a cheeky bit of humour left in her bones; she took Kamal and Mila for a bit of a surprise. I was thrilled she broke the stereotypes of what seers are meant to look like and how they’re meant to act. To me she was beautifully eclectic and I couldn’t wait to see what would unfold next now that Mila had arrived. That was one blessing – the journey to Achten Tan was not a long one and I felt that helped with the pacing of the story. Especially as this is a first installment of a series. Kamal by the way was one of the An’cher riders Mila had befriended and their paths would become especially connected lateron in the story.

Her best friend Geb finally comes back into the timeline of the story – I had a feeling he was going to have a difficult path ahead of him. He wasn’t as self-assured and strong as Mila; although they both questioned their gifts, Geb was the one who let it stop him from moving forward. Mila at least kept trying to overcome her obstacles and learn more about what was preventing her from excelling at her gift as a witch. Geb is in a right mess, too! I wasn’t surprised when Kamal was shocked to see the state of him – blessedly, Mila was starting to make friends in Achten Tan and those friends were the right ones to have as they supported her without questions. Iancu-Haddad put in such a lively marketplace into the streets of the city but she also etched out other visuals you’d expect from a desert environment. Including the density of the heat, the ever-presence of sand and dirt as well as the shifting shadows and light as you moved in and out of the rib bones which rose above the city itself – as you were in the belly of the dragon at that point. The city also had surface and underground chambers to it – as well as other areas in which to explore which were not all disclosed in this installment.

There is a lot going on in the background of this story, too. Gerwyn isn’t exactly forthcoming with information but she talks in secret to others about something that I believed they needed Mila’s help with achieving. I intuited that by how she was both surprised of Mila’s arrival and how after knowing her she suspected what Mila was capable of which I thought was a powerful witch which this world hasn’t seen in a long, long time. Then, of course, there is the Council and the ways in which Achten Tan is ruled which led to the character of Kaii. He was one of those characters who was related to a ruler but had no interest in power himself. He had other activities to keep him occupied which will not surprise anyone! Yet, he had a sincere (at least it appeared) concern about Mila and I felt that spoke to the better part of himself. I was disappointed about Gerwyn though – as on first appearance she was an interesting character brought into the storyline but as time waned forward, I liked her less than I had.

When the story turnt to bone magic part of me was curious what kind of bone magic was involved with this world and part of me worried it would be too much for me to handle. I had a previous experience with bone magic and it didn’t sit well with me. There is a sequence of a father showing his magical power to his son (as he’s the ruler of Achten Tan) wherein he inflicts pain as punishment and then, has no remorse for it because of how his son has turnt his back on his own legacy. It was a hard scene all round because of how wrong it was for him to abuse his magic that way (especially for personal gain and reasons) but also because of how he allowed his darker emotions to taint his own magic. In this series, bone magic is found in all bones – including how even those who have bones within them can become affected as Kaii had become himself. That was a caution to me as I knew anyone who learnt that kind of magic would have control without any consequences affecting them in return. Unless of course, this world had a boomerang effect on using the bone magic as some have in their worlds?

I was truly gobsmacked as much as Mila when Gerwyn kidnapped Kamal (the first friend Mila had made in Achten Tan), Geb (the gnome you know Mila is in love with) and Kaii (Achten Tan’s first son). However, nothing quite prepared me for why Gerwyn had taken the three boys — as there is an honour among witches but Gerwyn doesn’t seem to have issue with bending the rules nor taking extreme measures to bring back Mila’s voice! The blood ritual she was endeavouring to conjure between Mila and the boys was quite intense but it also had an effect of revealling a few hidden truths as well. I just wish there could have been a better way round to having those secreted truths brought out rather than the method Gerwyn had used as it gave us a better view of her character and the lengths she would take if given the chance to get an outcome she’d prefer over another. The scene also served as an interesting revelation of better understanding how Kamal, Geb and Kaii fit into Mila’s life and revealled a bit more about Mila’s Quest, too.

There was a lot of empathsis on the romance igniting between Mila and Geb as well as between Kamal and D’or which at certain moments felt organic and in-line with the moving narrative of their timelines. Other times I felt the romantic interludes with Mila and Geb were overshadowing the main constructs of the story and were getting us lost in the tangents of their newfound passion for each other. Whilst at the same time, I felt the relationship between Kamal and D’or was a healthy one and felt a bit more in-sync with a natural romance forming between the two as with Mila and Geb it sometimes felt like they were going at each other at a rate of distraction.

Mila’s talents as a witch were uniquely tied to her emotions (which I forethought might be true) and it was either a blessing or a curse depending on how you looked at her circumstances. At one point – all the characters no longer have chaperones or mentors and are simply left to their own devices. Part of me felt that made sense in the context of the story and another part of me wondered how Gerwyn in particular would have simply let Mila walk out of her life without a confrontation. I felt that was a loose thread especially if you consider the foreshadowing of a conspiracy early-on after Mila had arrived in Achten Tan which I felt at the time involved her directly though without her knowledge. (as it was a conversation which was overheard)

My heart ached of course when Kamal suffers a loss – such a tender-hearted scene despite the alarming tragedy which was playing out for us as readers. I was thankful Iancu-Haddad blessed us with a quick resolution of how Kamal could move forward from that loss and gave us a renewed sense of Hope at the same time. Counter to Kamal’s suffering, I felt Kaii suffered the most personal anguish and adverse circumstances – as his father truly is a menace with darker arts of magic! His father is a bone magic wielder, and he has the tendency to use that kind of magic to illicit the most harm and pain he can from the person whose aggrieved him. In more than one instance that was his son Kaii – of whom, I was thankful had Mila as a friend as his father was ruthless as much as he was conceited.

One of my favourite moments within the story was when Iancu-Haddad spent time focusing on local cuisine and the eating habits of her characters. The gnomes, of course, were fond of algae and special breads but the Achten Tan populace loved their ribs even if they didn’t know what species of animals they were eating! When Mila’s and Geb’s family surprise both of them by coming to Achten Tan for the festival, we were happily surrounded by more food which was fun to observe because of how different the foods are in this world. The reunion with Mila’s family I knew was foreshadowing a separation from Achten Tan for Mila. She ached to go back home and to be done with the city of bones for good. You could tell that from her Quest and journey towards understanding her gift and how she could ascend as a witch. I, for one, knew she needed a jolt of normalcy after so much strife and especially after Kaii’s father put her and her friends through the ringer!

There is still an ominous darkness which has settled over Achten Tan and part of me wonders if that has to do with the bone magic itself. That it takes more than it gives and the persons who embody the magic of the bones themselves lose a part of themself they cannot get back? Kaii was a victim of his father’s wrath and violence, which thankfully is not visually hard to process because this novel blessedly avoids overtly graphic depictions of violence. There are still strong acts against different people throughout the story – where people are placed in danger or where injuries or even death can occur due to the outcome of what is happening. Yet, I appreciated Iancu-Haddad’s restraint in allowing all readers to be able to have the chance to read a dramatic Fantasy novel without feeling as if they couldn’t handle or stomach the harder bits of the story. For that, I was especially grateful.

Speechless in Achten Tan touches on harder topics whilst it paints a wonderfully fantastical story about a girl who wasn’t sure about her abilities and found the will to rise through the adverse situations, she found herself in to embrace the talent she always had within her. It is part Fantasy Romance and part Desert/Adventure Fantasy wherein you get to spend time in a desert city with enough dangers to keep you entertained and just enough heart to endear your imagination. I loved how the story flowed – moving you from different parts of the city even if we didn’t get a full back-history of this world to be disclosed you could intuit that there were places in this world that were still fractured and missing. I believed part of that was explained when we met the person behind the darker magic and the wraiths; but even then, it felt like the problems were larger than one singular entity alone. On a sidenote, I must admit, I was attached to the G’ants and the Tar-Tules, too, as well as those who rode them. There was a lot going on in Achten Tan and I felt this first story served best to ‘introduce’ us to the city and those who live near it as well as the main issues of imbalance between light and dark influences of magic.

Small Fly in the Ointment: Lack of History/Origins

I was nearly to the last quarter of the novel when I realised there was a missing component of the novel – the lack of history and origins of this world. It is revealled as you read there are many different groups of people who live in Achten Tan: elves, orcs (though only referenced, not really seen), witches, gnomes and even humans; and a few others I might have missed mentioning. There are also the Tar-Tules and the G’ants but there isn’t a reference point to know more about the natural setting outside of the depictions of the desert. I would have loved to have explored the natural history as much as the living histories or even the spiritual as the God Tree is mentioned several times as being revered but isn’t overly described. Plus, there are parts of this world beyond Achten Tan – such as past the Everfall where the gnomes live in the caverns and further away where a rat society once stood.

I’d love to see this part of the series deepened over different installments OR if it is in the anthology I mentioned, perhaps that would offer a few more insights into it as well. As I am not sure if the world itself was established in that anthology and then, Speechless carries forward from that foundation or if it was only a series of short stories set within the world and the entirety of the world was not yet known as well. It begs the question as I feel like I have a firm grasp of the world but not a working knowledge of it all (as of yet). Also, I remained evermore curious how a dragon’s skeleton was the foundational structure for Achten Tan? The history of dragons in this world is as shadowed from view as the origins of the world.

on the fantastical writing style of debbie iancu-haddad:

One of the joys of reading Speechless in Achten Tan is the inclusive nature of how Iancu-Haddad presented Sign Language as well as the tattoo symbols on Mila’s body which served as a short-cut of being able to talk to people without using signing. I’ve been an appreciator of ASL (American Sign Language) for most my life and I have a working knowledge of a handful of signs and the alphabet however I wasn’t able to find a local tutor to take the rudimentary knowledge I have of signing to a point of where I’d feel more comfortable conversing in ASL. It is a bit harder to find teachers to teach you when you’re not hearing impaired; at least this has been my experience. I found signing an easier language to learn as I’m dyslexic and it’s a visual language which is good for a visual learner. One day I still hope to renew my skills in ASL and broaden my abilities.

I appreciate writers who found a way to merge spoken and sign language into the context of their novels – as it not only opens doors of empathy and understanding about the deaf and hearing-impaired communities, but it also makes the story feel more authentic when they can showcase signing in-line with the characters’ story. Iancu-Haddad uses bold text to highlight whenever Mila uses her tattoo words and the signing is streamlined into how she communicates as if she were speaking (which she is) only with signing instead. I was so immersed into how Mila communicated that at one point I had forgotten she was signing and using tattoos because it just felt I had been round her long enough to know what hse was going to say!

I could tell there was a larger world waiting for me to see past the cavern – not just because I learnt this story was rooted inside an anthology which had already explored the world of Achten Tan but because of how Iancu-Haddad was eluding to the world outside the cavern. Including to the Achten Tanians themselves and how they interacted with Mila’s community. Part of me kept thinking about the film Rango because it was the first time I had experienced a story set in a Weird West or Weird Fantasy world where characters were interestingly pulled straight out of nature and where everyone lived in a nearly parched and desert world. This part of Achten Tan is also a desert – as we soon saw the scope of when Mila began her long journey through the sandstorm. The desert has its own dangers and I had a feeling this world had its fair share of secrets, too!

One of the things I prepared myself for was the layout of this world before I received the book in the mail as I found the map for Achten Tan online. It was the more unique worlds from the standpoint that this entire city is laid out within the bones of a dragon! The bones are exposed and some of them provide landmarks to know where you are in Achten Tan whilst others are fixtures of how you exit and enter the city. There is a spiritual presence here as well known as the God Tree which can be seen from far and wide throughout the city and further still into the wastelands of the desert which Mila travelled through on her way to Achten Tan. (wherein she met Kamal and the An’chers) I enjoyed how Iancu-Haddad provided information about her world and its inhabitants as we ventured further into the novel. She left us curiously mesmorised and cautiously respectful of the things we still had not experienced. As I felt this world held secrets both Dark and Light and depending on where you were and what you did would effect the outcome of what you experienced.

The joy for me about how Iancu-Haddad approached writing this world was to give us this otherworldly adventure encased in a Quest about a witch who’d lost her voice whilst endearing us to the characters who populated her story. Each of the supporting characters I felt could become explored further in new installments of the series as I especially liked Lakshmi and Niall. I am hopeful Kamal and D’or will be present throughout the length of the series, too. The illustrations within the story had a way of cluing us into different sections of the story, too. Whilst giving us a few clues to what things looked like as well. I felt this was only the start of Mila’s powers and where that goes from here is hinged against the events of the sequel which I look forward to reading!

A brief note on classifications of genre:

This was the first time I realised there were enough writers exploring desert worlds to where there is a new genre designation called: Desert Fantasy which I’ve attached to this story and world. I felt it also fit within the perimeters of Weird Fantasy too but wasn’t quite Weird West enough as Rango to befit that title. I realise this is also mentioned to be a Young Adult Fantasy novel but for me personally, I re-classified it as Upper YA Fantasy as I felt it dealt with themes, subjects and topics which would better fit an older YA reader than a younger one unless they were particularly ahead of their peers and then, it would suit them as well.

Note to adults suggesting this for younger YA readers – as forementioned there is some strong language sprinkled throughout the novel but only one particularly strong word is used three times which the author thankfully alerted me about before I read the story. I would have preferred it was absent entirely as the few times its present I could have just as easily read those sections of the story without it. Although it is not graphically violent there are violent acts against certain characters and in one particular case there is an accidental death of a minor character but shortly afterwards there is a slightly more visual scene about what happens to that body. For those reasons I’d consider the YA reader and their reading sensibilities before I’d suggest this story for them.

Equality in Lit: 

I have long been an appreciator of seeing Equality in Literature and tried to get #EqualityInLit to be one of the tags my fellow book bloggers might enjoy using themselves but that was before other tags became more mainstay and I left it as a footmarker of notes on my blog instead. In this instance, as this novel is written by an #ownvoices author, it was lovely to see how she maintained the Equality throughout the story in different ways of representation but also to make a very inclusive novel for those who use Sign Language as their main method of communication. I felt she made Signing very mainstream in both the story and how it can be seen in other novels as well. We need to see more of that as I know other writers I’ve interacted with on Twitter are doing the same with their stories too and bringing ASL or other variants of Signing into their publications.

The cleverness of using tattoos as words/phrases which others could intuit to understand what Mila was wanting to say without saying anything at all was also a stroke of genius as it was another layering of using non-verbal communication. Of course, as this is a magical world those tattoos used ink which give those words a more magical effect than if they had been spoken aloud.

This is also a story which celebrates LGBTQ+ narratives as almost immediately upon arriving in Achten Tan Mila learns that the An’cher rider (they ride the G’ants of this world) whose given her transport has fallen in love with the boy who rides the Tar-tule. All of this happens within less than the first quarter of the novel and it was refreshing to see the normality of it all. To see the innocence of Kamal’s anguish about his behaviour towards the Tar-tule rider (as he’s not as confident in himself as he’d prefer) to the way in which Mila shows her support and understanding. The development of Kamal and D’or’s relationship was one of my favourite sub-threads as it also showed different careers of interest in Achten Tan, too.

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Seeking the Fantastical:

→ cavern gnomes

→ witches

→ elves

→ elemental magic using algae

→ wraiths – dark spirits

→ G’ants: giant ants – which riders use as transportation across the desert

→ Tar-tule: which riders use as transportation across the tar moat

→ bone magic

Not since I saw Rango and featured William Ray (see also this Post and this one as well) have I stumbled into Weird Fantasy or brokered an interest into Weird West stories! I must admit, there is a certain level of appeal to these kinds of stories and I have a particular interest in the ones which are not overtly violent but rather have this fantastically otherness about them which cannot be classified by another sub-niche of Fantasy and are wholly inclusive of their own branch within the genre itself.

Giant ants will never scare a girl who grew up watching Honey I Shrunk the Kids starring Rick Moranis! Seriously – watch that film and tell me if you fear ants?! I think you’ll find the lawnmower is more of a serious threat! This series parlays a bit into that one aspect of the film all those years ago where teenagers realised that ants were a bit useful in helping with transportation across long distances. In this realm though – the ants seem to be singularly compliant without needing too much encouragement to transport anyone.

It took me a bit longer than it should have to connect what ‘tar-tule’ meant in this world. After all there was an illustration about them under the chapters and for whichever reason, I was imagining something else altogether! Laughs. It makes so much more sense now (says the girl whose halfway through the book!) but I’ll leave it as a surprise for those who pick up this story to read for themselves! Laughs.

When I realised this story involves bone magic a part of me worried, I wouldn’t be able to continue with the story after my readings of The Bone Shard Daughter last year. Unlike the other novel I had read and had to ‘let go’ from reading further – Speechless in Achten Tan pulls back the violence and also the kind of bone magic that is practiced in the story/series. I have a feeling there is a bit more to the bone magic itself than what we observed in this first installment but for now, it remains a kind of magic I can handle reading about – whether that changes in The Bone Master will have to wait to be seen.

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Post Script banner created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

This novel has a lovely preview of the sequel: The Bone Master

We get a bit of a taste of what life is like for Kaii after the events unfolded in the first installment of the series but we also gather a sense of drifting on behalf of Kaii himself. He wasn’t the most confident of characters but he also was a character who had a lot of issues with self-worth and direction. Those are still issues he has now but the one critical flaw he had was being too carelessly trusting about the women he met at his local brothel. I had a feeling this encounter (as that is where the sampler ends) was going to be more than he bargained for,..

It felt like stepping back inside the series – whilst D’or and Kamal were there as well updating him about what they knew from home (in regards to Mila, etc). Whilst this sampler was quite short, it brought back good memories of discovering these characters in Speechless and I knew I wanted to continue to take this journey. Afterwards, I read the author’s journey towards publication and how Twitter’s writing community placed a strong role in how it was not just written but also published. It is quite the fascinating story and is tied to the pandemic as well.

Hmm,.. now I can’t wait to find out when the sequel releases, how about you?

I definitely want to spend much more time in Achten Tan!!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it.
I look forward to hearing your takeaways about this novel.
Bookish conversations are always welcome!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

This book review was a happy SURPRISE addition to my #WyrdAndWonder readings
this Year 5! As much as it was part of my final selections as the hours counted down:

WyrdAndWonder Countdown collage made by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: jorielovesastory.com

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Reading this story contributed to
my #WyrdAndWonder Year 5:

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#WyrdAndWonder Year 5 banner created by Jorie in Canva.


Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Enjoying my fantastical reviews about the worlds of Fantasy?

Ever since the beginning of Jorie Loves A Story, I have embarked on a Quest to seek out stories within the worlds of Fantasy which would heighten my awareness of the genre and give me wicked good reads – across the subniches of a genre I’ve loved since I was seventeen. Every May, I happily co-host @WyrdAndWonder – whilst throughout the months of the year, I regularly read & discuss the Fantasy reads I am discovering.

Visit my full archive for ALL my #EnterTheFantastic wanderings! As well as take a walkabout through my archives for #WyrdAndWonder – or take a walkabout through my archive for everything deemed wickedly fantastical!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

{SOURCES: Book Cover for “Speechless in Achten Tan”, book synopsis, author biography and author photo (of Debbie Iancu-Haddad) were provided by the author Debbie Iancu-Haddad and are used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Wyrd And Wonder Book Review badge Year 5, Final Reads of Wyrd And Wonder banner (Photo Credit: ©jorielovesastory.com), #WyrdAndWonder Year 5 banner, Post Script banner (using Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo) and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2022.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Tuesday, 31 May, 2022 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, #WyrdAndWonder, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Content Note, Dark Arts (Dark Magic), Deaf Culture in Fiction, Death of a Sibling, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Novel, Desert Fantasy, Domestic Violence, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Fly in the Ointment, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Invisibility, Science Fantasy, Siblings, Speculative Fiction, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Traumatic Injury, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Upper YA Fantasy, Upper YA Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, Weird Fantasy, Witches and Warlocks

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