Kalanon's Rising - by Darian Smith

I hope my reviews will help you get a feeling for the story without spoilers, (I’ll warn you if there are any) and make you interested in reading them.


Today we will review:


Kalanon’s Rising (the first book of three)

By Darian Smith



The story:

This book is a fantasy murder mystery, told through the eyes of a war hero who is trying to forget the war and atone by becoming a physician.

He is tasked with solving the gruesome and unnatural murder of the king’s nephew, joined by an immortal mage, an awkward priest, a naïve apprentice, a shaman (kind of?) and an ambassador of his former enemy country.


Whenever I imagine the protagonist operating on his patients after the war... I keep thinking this: 


What I felt was great:


The Pacing

The plot, mystery and descriptions never feels like they dragged on. There’s always just enough to satiate your curiosity without becoming tiring. The whole story is fast paced and never loses momentum.

The World Building

The story revolves around three different countries. We only really delve into one of them, as that’s where the story is set, but you get a good picture of the three nation’s history, their relationship with one another, and their trade and economy.  There aren’t pages upon pages describing the detailed nuances of their interactions, but you learn enough without being bored.

Fresh necromancy

Necromancy has always been considered ‘evil’ magic that evil people do for evil purposes (I guess unless you play Guild Wars… then you’re a farmer who just ended up being a necromancer.) Necromancers are either trying to conquer the world, or are just devoid of empathy. But Kalanon’s Rising offers an original reason for why people use necromancy and the nature of those who use such art. 

They consider the magic a great responsibility, but if it was me...

Various uses for raised Kaluki: (If Jenn had this power)

That's what I'd do - just saying!

That's what I'd do - just saying!

Red herrings and traps

I have to admit, there was one point where I really thought I knew who the culprit was… Darian Smith is really good at giving you hints as well as lulling you into a false sense of self-confidence! (Never go into a maze this man has built!) The mystery was far more complex than I had assumed!

Short chapters

Like many who grew up in the modern world, where we are fed stories through fast-paced medium like movies, t.v series, comics and games, I don’t have patience for walls of text.  The chapters were short, most were maybe 10 pages long, and this made the story snappy, easy to read and kept the tension strong.


People who would like this book:


* People who like well-crafted worlds and mysteries that get straight to the meat of it!

* People who like fresh magic and inventive races that are more compelling than elves and dwarves.


People who may not like this book:  (Though the first chapter is free, so perhaps take a chance on it anyway!)

·         People who like one main character and want to stay with them, rather than moving between a diverse cast.

·         People who love deep and vast world building, where everything is explained in detail. If you’re the type that wonders about how the war started, where the protagonist grew up, why the king doesn't have a partner, stuff that probably has no influence on the plot of the moment, then you might find this novel lacking.


Last points:


·         The interesting point with Kalanon’s Rising is that it’s not a murder mystery where the primary goal is to bring the murderer to justice. I never felt sympathetic towards the victim.  What drives the investigation and the reader is that the story is about more than just the murder and the victim; they act as a starting point for something far more sinister.

·         I’m curious about where book 2 will head – will it be another murder mystery? How will it solve some of the plot points hinted at in book one?


I don’t do star system! I think it’s pointless! For Amazon and Goodreads, it’s good for the author, but here, on my own website, I don’t think it’s really something that fits in a number. But if I must, I’ll give it a score of “sponge cake”. Yes.

You can buy the book here

You can find more about the author here

Want me to review your book? Email me at Jennrackham@gmail.com and I'll see if I can fit you in! (It can be a visual novel, game, comic, not just books)