Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘The Last Empath of Doctsland’ by Leah Putz, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tours. It was a pleasure to read this fantasy debut, and I hope that you will check out the other blogs on the tour (see the banner below) as well as the book and author.
Disclaimer: ‘I was given a copy this book in exchange for an honest review.’
A kingdom in danger. A royal family divided by greed. A warrior combining strength with magic.
Lisalya Manyeo is the only known empath left in the small seafaring country of Doctsland, so when they are threatened by their much stronger neighbor, Prince Viktor recruits her help. On their way, he trains her to fight.
Working together despite their very obvious differences, they go behind enemy lines to stir up a rebellion against his step-brother’s tyrannical rule. After initial success in recruiting people to join them, they are captured. Lisalya is gravely injured during interrogation, but Viktor nurses her back to life.
A final battle will determine who will rule, but sacrifices have to be made to defeat the enemy.
Will Lisalya and Viktor be able to overcome the odds stacked against them to save their country from certain destruction?
The Last Empath of Doctsland was a lovely debut, and a much-needed escape into a book that was a little lighter than some of the other books I’ve been reading lately, although still with the tension and action that I love in fantasy. It is a quick read in terms of length, and also because it is paced on the quicker side with a lot of events and action happening within its pages, and while there were a few places here and there that I felt could have been expanded on, it is one of those stories that sweeps you up and away and even with the fast pace, Putz takes the time to have some wonderful moments of bonding and friendship between the characters.
While this was very much a character-driven fantasy, which alongside the length meant that was a little less focus on worldbuilding, Putz has created a wonderful, multi-faceted world. I liked the feeling of old magic that permeated the book, although magic itself is not so common, as well as the idea of the main character being born into a bloodline, descended from witches (it’s one of those concepts that I just love). Even within that, the power of an Empath is very rare, and I have to say after reading the book it’s not a power I would ever want because it is so hard to block out everyone else. Beyond the magic, there were some truly beautiful descriptions of the world around the characters and events, and it was so easy to visualise the settings because of the way they were written.
The characters undoubtedly carried the book though, and what I particularly enjoyed was the growth that the two main characters especially underwent throughout the events of the book. From the beginning Lisalya and Viktor were strong, well-written characters, each facing their own choices and challenges, and the conflict of learning to work together against the backdrop of larger, more dangerous conflicts. While there is instant chemistry between them, the relationship was well-written and developed quite naturally through shared experiences and adversity, and I did enjoy watching it blossom. The secondary characters were just as well-written, with unique viewpoints and voices, and I would love to have spent more time with Jion and Siofra in particular.
Putz did a wonderful job of creating a real sense of consequence throughout the entire book, from the darkness and danger facing the characters in their attempt to start a rebellion, with all the risks that are involved from a personal level upwards. To the feeling that the characters were facing choices that held considerable impact, and watching as they grew into their roles, and learned to trust themselves and others with the weight of that possibility of making the wrong choice. There was plenty of tension and action, and it really was a page-turner as you find yourself caring for the characters and needing to know what is going to happen next.
A delightful read, with just the right edge of darkness. I would recommend to anyone looking for an engaging, quicker paced fantasy read, especially if you enjoy romance in your fantasy.
About the Author:
Leah Putz has been writing for as long as she can remember. Filling notebooks in school, writing on the scrap paper stolen from her mom’s desk at work, and even producing a short story in 7th grade, distributed to family and friends. She writes almost as often as she reads.
The Last Empath of Doctsland is her first novel. She set out to create a fantasy story featuring the key character types she missed when reading stories in the genre, notably strong women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ characters.
She lives and works in Minnesota, spending her free time either hanging out with her dog Frodo, or travelling as much as possible.
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.