Refugees begins with three unique characters from different parts of the world and very different backgrounds. They’re young, inexperienced and looking to make their mark in the world. Each one wants to become their own person but they also have to deal with problems they never saw coming. A new star has been spotted in the sky and it represents the beginning of an ancient prophecy.
The prophecy states that a new kingdom will emerge built with the elements of mud, rocks and trees. Representing each element is one of the main characters: Amanki, Brina and Moshoi, the future leaders of the new kingdom. They all have a mentor named Baskrod that will help them but they are also being hunted by an evil emperor who wishes to put a stop to the prophecy.
Refugees (Mud, Rocks, and Trees #1) by R.A. Denny is a coming of age story in a world that is very different from ours. I love how the author does a slow build letting us learn about each character before they all experience an event that turns their world upside down. You care about them because you see them as they deal with the end of their old lives and watch them create a new life. There is one great scene where Amanki looses his faith after the death of his mother and the destruction of his village. You also see him regain his faith through relationships with other characters. Faith seems to be a main theme in this book as well as learning to accept those who are different than yourself.
I admit I’m not a huge fan of epic fantasy but I have to admire this book and the scope of the story that is being told. R.A. Denny is creating a whole new mythology that is based on old mythologies. The attention to detail is astonishing, the author takes her time describing the characters, their lives, the societies they live in and the gods they worship. The amount of work that must have gone into creating the world of Mud, Rock and Trees is impressive.
Refugees is the beginning of a six book fantasy adventure and lays a good foundation for what’s to come in the series. It’s also a good book to help kids learn the joys of reading. My only complaint was in the beginning I felt the book was taking too much time describing the people and the world they live in. Though I guess with a story that has so much depth to it you have to spend a lot of time setting the stage. If you love fantasy then this is a book that you will want to pick up. Be prepared to buy the next five books in the series because your going to get hooked on these characters.