Title: Hero’s Song
Author: Edith Pattou
Series: The Songs of Eirren #1
Cullen is a farmer, the son of a blacksmith, but when news comes that his sister is missing, he sets off on a journey to rescue her. Accompanied by his friend, Talisen, and several other unusual companions, he ventures forth—to find the real story is stranger and more convoluted than he might have guessed. The creatures of Scath hunt after him, and more than his sister’s life is at stake.
I’m continuing to work my way through the backlog of great books I haven’t read in at least a decade. This was a favorite in childhood, and it still holds up fairly well today. One of the most interesting things about it is the humanity of the various characters. Battles aren’t quick and flawless, even when skilled fighters participate, and wounds take time to recover. Hunger and thirst battle against the band as well as the scald-crows or morgs. It’s a somewhat short epic fantasy. The worldbuilding comes in pieces, with an early Scottish/British flair.
Cullen is a rather unusual protagonist in that, despite some rather typical eventful things around hiim, he’s not particularly skilled or successful at a lot besides herbcraft. It’s like reading a hero’s journey from the perspective of the healer, who also happens to be driving the quest only due to his personal connections and refusal to give up on his sister. Cullen’s main contribution to most battles is just patching up everyone when things are over, perhaps landing one or two lucky blows himself.
Overall, this is a quieter story of heroism, about a hero who is faithful rather than spectacular. Cullen accomplishes much, though his friends all seem more likely to be the stars of the sort of story that plays out. I do wish Talisen’s origins had been more completely explored. There’s a story to be had in it somewhere. Brie, too, has some unfinished business, although since the sequel mostly focuses on her she gets more of a chance to work her story out later on. I rate this book Recommended.