Review: Eluthienn: A Tale Of The Fromryr by Sam Middleton

Eluthienn: A Tale Of The Fromryr by Sam Middleton


Arina reviews Eluthienn: A Tale Of The Fromryr, the debut epic science fantasy of author Sam Middleton.

An ARC was received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review is posted as part of the Wyrd & Wonder Month hosted by some amazing ladies. Check out all content on TwitterInstagram, and BlueSky!

Wyrd & Wonder 2024
Artwork by Ehtisham Sajid
About the Book
Series:part of yet unnamed series
Genre:Science Fantasy
Publisher:Self-published
Date of Publishing:March 1, 2024
Trigger Warnings:Death, violence, war
Page count:370

Possible fit for The Sound of Madness Reading Challenge 2024 prompts:

Joker prompt that goes with anything: Now We Are Free

Anywhere Away From HereKiss My Ass
HandwrittenYou Are My Home
PsychoSummer Jam
AddictedNew Song
The MysticSay It
Queen of KingsThe Legend of Mother Swan
Accidentally in LoveThrough Glass
White FlagRoad to Joy
Sob StoryGive That Wolf a Banana
Always HalloweenKill Your Conscience
TherapyGhosts & Monsters
Low LifeChasing Stars
Book Blurb
Eluthienn: A Tale Of The Fromryr by Sam Middleton

Welcome to the Abyss

Formaria – a labyrinthine network of underground tunnels – is home to the Fromryr. An alliance of humans, dwarves, elves, and gnomes, they fight an endless war with ancient technologies. Technologies they don’t truly understand but deploy with devastating effect.

Above the surface, exorcist Kalbrayeth Lyander investigates a possible demonic incursion. When he discovers a body imbued with unknown sorceries he finds himself in possession of a secret he never wanted. A secret that threatens to break centuries long alliances and drag Formaria into a war it cannot afford.

Below the surface, Brazier Veranquis, the First Officer of ice miner the Chalice of Amaranth, responds to a distress signal from an unidentified gyre ship. What he and his crew find leaves them fleeing for their lives. When their paths cross Lyander, they realise what they found threatens to bring down all of Formaria.

War is coming and with an enemy outmatching even the mighty Fromryr. Uncertain of who to trust and embroiled in political intrigue, Lyander and Brazier must do everything they can to prevent Formaria’s fall. The odds are against them. But in the abyss, one ship can change the fate of millions.

Quote of the Book
background jpg

Being first champion just made you the shiniest tool of them all – the status and fame letting you ignore what you really were, the only thing you’ve ever been: another warrior among millions, sent to fight and die in the Bellum Infinara.

Song of the Book

Review

I found Eluthienn: A Tale Of The Fromryr by Sam Middleton on Netgalley. It’s a precious little self-published gem tucked in its science fiction and fantasy category. A strong mix of both genres, it promises an epic adventure through underground tunnels, an epistolary narrative, and parallel tales fighting the same never-ending war coming together to defeat a big bad.

However, all these promises ended up falling short for me.

Eluthienn is an ambitious epic science fantasy with a rich and exciting world and a curious cast of characters. However, it often struggles to find its footing due to confusing terminology and a lack of context.

The worldbuilding in Eluthienn is unique and intricate, specific to the author’s imagination. It’s a complex tapestry of new concepts and ideas but this originality translates too often as overwhelming. By the end of the book, I found myself captivated by these unique elements, but I felt too lost among them most of the time.

Despite its fantastic worldbuilding and intriguing lore, the overuse of replace words and unexplained concepts made it difficult to immerse myself in the story fully.

While described as an epistolary narrative, most of it sounds to the reader like third-person omniscient. Though it is hinted during the few actually epistolary moments that the entire book is the retelling of someone, it seemed to me to lack that almost nostalgic, intimate voice epistolary usually employs throughout.

Middleton’s attempt to emulate the greatness of other epics like Dune, The Expanse, and The Witcher is evident, shining through a few elements and even some quotes as easter eggs. This makes the book exciting as it freshens up used concepts, but it also results in some unfortunate missteps, including the ridiculing of one LGBTQ character (who’s only mentioned) and the vilification of fatness in the portrayal of another.

With some pruning and clearer exposition, Eluthienn: A Tale Of The Fromryr could have been a standout addition to the genre.

Underground spaceships, vampire legions, necromantic slugs, horrid demon parallel worlds reminiscent of Hellboy, and technology from a long-lost civilization make for an interesting landscape I wish I could have presented itself a little bit less hazily.

Despite its flaws, Eluthienn: A Tale Of The Fromryr showcases the brilliance of Sam Middleton‘s mind and his potential as a writer. I am eagerly looking forward to his future works, as I believe he has the ability to create truly outstanding stories. 

I encourage you to give Eluthienn a chance and see for yourself the unique world he has crafted.

Our Judgement
Into a Cell with Them - 2.5 Crowns

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