The Chains of Fate
by A.A. Night
Genre: Fantasy / Grimdark
Print Length: 364 pages
Reviewed by Melissa Suggitt
A dark and epic fantasy story that explores fate, destiny, and human suffering
In the far reaches of the east, DarHel is born and immediately labelled as cursed: an albino child deemed a bringer of famine, plague, and suffering.
Unloved, cast out of society, and raised in darkness and isolation, can he possibly rise above it? Or will his path be one of destruction and vengeance?
In the west, a once devout member of the Order, now jaded and stuck in the village of his youth under the shadow of his traumatic childhood, Igor longs to feel a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose.
As their paths cross, both as youths and as men, their fates entwine and the continent of Avonia will be changed forever. As war looms, so too does a new age. But the question is: will it be an age of Darkness or Light?
Bearing witness to both DarHel and Igor surviving a tormented childhood (and in detail) is difficult, but it is necessary to understand their individual motivations. In a fantasy world shrouded in magic, mysticism, and religion, human suffering and the ferocity of it is what makes it feel the most real.
Author A.A. Night is a natural worldbuilder. Their vision of Avonia is breathtaking in scope; the detailed descriptions of each new landscape, village, or city are so imaginative yet authentic. I felt like I was standing amidst the scenery. I, and I’m sure many readers, appreciate not having to work too hard to immerse ourselves in this new world.
The story may seem disjointed in places—and at times it had me furiously flipping back and forth between pages to find what I thought I missed—but with a little patience comes the reward. As each thread of the plot starts to weave together, the result ends up being incredibly satisfying.
As a grimdark fantasy, The Chains of Fate is heavy on the dark. Think Game of Thrones level of dark (minus the dragons). There is an abundance of bloodshed, sadness, and desperation. But there is also so much hope. Hope for a better future, a better world, and for justice.
Fate and destiny are continually explored as the plot progresses. Are they both predetermined? Do they even exist? Do mortals have a choice? If you look at the title, you’d think the narrative on this would be clear—that you are locked into the cards you’ve been dealt. However, at one point we see this exchange between DarHel and a divine creation:
“I seek to fulfill my destiny.”
“Destiny. Pah! A myth. A man chooses his fate.”
Wouldn’t we all like to believe that we alone rule over our own lives? It’s interesting to have the juxtaposition of destiny and free will here. Whether one has a choice or not, you may still be chained to the outcome.
Brother versus brother, mother versus child, sin versus salvation, The Chains of Fate is a complex and introspective tale that is certain to leave readers craving more. Fantasy lovers, don’t sleep on this one. We haven’t seen the last of Avonia.
Thank you for reading Melissa Suggitt’s book review of The Chains of Fate by A.A. Night! If you liked what you read, please spend some more time with us at the links below.