Jen reviews Nisila, a novella set in Damien Shillingford‘s the King series.
I had the pleasure of reading this author’s novel, I am King as a guest judge during SPFBO 7. Someone on Twitter (sorry I can’t think who) told me there was a novella coming in the same world and I’ve been stalking Damien Shillingford’s author’s page in anticipation ever since.
|Series: a novella in the King series||Genre: Fantasy|
|Date of Publishing: January 21, 2022||Trigger Warnings: death, fighting, violence, blood, mention of torture|
|Page count: 92||Publisher: self-published|
Star Crossed lovers, embroiled in a fight to save their nation are torn apart by unseen evils that threaten to destroy their world.
Nisila, a young warrior in the realm of Aiti, fights to win back a crown that was stolen from her beloved king. She is in love with Denali, a prince of the powerful Iron Lion’s, an ancient rastafarian tribe that believes in tradition and protects their magical bloodline from all outsiders with the threat of death.
Nisila’s mother wants her to stay away from the rastafarian prince and give up her fight in the civil war that is tearing their home apart and Denali’s family does not believe he truly loves Nisila, and see her only as a plaything since she is from a lesser tribe on the island. Understanding what Denali is sacrificing to be with her, Nisila pulls away from him and Denali retaliates by alienating his Iron Lion tribe and going rogue.
After many months of separation they are reunited and find the love is still strong between them, only an old friend from before the civil war, named Royce, suddenly returns and Nisila fears his intentions are not as righteous as he claims.
This is the first novella written in the “I Am King” universe, expanding on the hero Nisila and how she came to be part of Prince Beaumont’s story. This is best read after the first book in the series, “I Am King: Book One”.
This book does not contain any strong sexual content or adult language.
“Nisila raised her small knife, rotating the sharp edge in the light of the little sunlight that penetrated this deep jungle. She pulled down the front of her tunic and using the knife, cut a small cross upon her chest. She smeared the blood in her palm and rubbed it upon the length of her assagai. She would once again take up her mantle of Sè Lanmò: Sister of death. She would not hide in the darkness; she would die a glorious death and take as many of the enemy as she could.”
Only The Lonely Survive by Marianas Trench
First off – there are huge spoilers for Nisila’s arc in I am King. I would recommend reading that book first if spoilers matter to you.
This is a quick little novella clocking in at around 90 pages (the review is going to be very short) and gives us a look at what led Nisila, to begin her search for the young king Beaumont, kicking off the events of I am king.
We get a little background on Nisila’s home life, her relationship with Denali (her partner and heir to the Iron Lion Clan) and their involvement in the resistance, and its fight against Rancine, the Usurper, who claims to be the protector of the old ways but in reality is just a nasty piece of work.
There is a lot packed in this little story, and I loved the tidbits about the clan’s culture and their families and the battle scenes (the riding in on lions and the masks were just cool). Sometimes knowing what befalls a character makes it harder for me to enjoy reading about their life prior to what I know, but I really enjoyed reading Nisila for the background, not only for her but their country.
The story is bold and colourful and sparked my imagination. The fact that this novella kind of acts as a bridge for the one character, makes this way more of an interesting novella for me than it would have been as just a backstory (even as much as I like Nisila). It’s whetting our whistle for what’s to come and I can’t wait to see more of this world.