TRIPLE GOLD MEDALIST IN THE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER BOOK AWARDS!
WINNER OF THE 2019 READERVIEWS AWARD FOR FANTASY!
“Life is transformation. You change or you die.”
Ashamed of his past and overwhelmed by his future, Ronoah Genoveffa Elizzi-denna Pilanovani feels too small for his own name. After a graceless exit from his homeland in the Acharrioni desert, his anxiety has sabotaged every attempt at redemption. Asides from a fiery devotion to his godling, the one piece of home he brought with him, he has nothing.
That is, until he meets Reilin. Beguiling, bewildering Reilin, who whisks Ronoah up into a cross-continental pilgrimage to the most sacred place on the planet. The people they encounter on the way—children of the sea, a priestess and her band of storytellers, the lonely ghosts of monsters—are grim and whimsical in equal measure. Each has their part to play in rewriting Ronoah’s personal narrative.
One part fantasy travelogue, one part emotional underworld journey, The Heretic’s Guide to Homecoming is a sumptuous, slow-burning story about stories and the way they shape our lives.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Keshia Mcclantoc for Reader Views (1/19) “The Heretic’s Guide to Homecoming” is the first in what proves to be a promising series for Sienna Tristen. This story follows the boy, whose name seems larger than life, Ronoah Genoveffa Elizzi-denna Pilanovani, as he leaves him home and looks for a path of redemption. From there, he meets the adventurous Reilin and together they take a journey full of magic, challenges, and strange and wonderful creatures amuck. As Ronoah recounts the epic journey that they take together, the reader has no choice to but to be drawn in. And drawn in I was! As I read this narrative, I found myself amazed by the ways Tristen clearly crafted an interesting and compelling world. While many fantasies find themselves falling in step beside each other, with retellings of the same creatures and magic, Ronoah’s story felt like a breath of fresh air. With each chapter, I dove more deeply into the world that Tristen created and found myself delighted by both the light and dark magics that the characters encountered. I applaud Tristen for the deep and intrinsic world-building that was put into the novel. Although some readers would find the multilayered level of detail overwhelming, I found it compelling and complicated in all the right ways. Tristen succeeded in creating a narrative that was beautifully written, not just in mythos but also in its treatments of its characters. Ronoah’s story is not only a story of magic but also a story of finding yourself in a world rife with complex emotions. Ronoah has anxieties, doubts, and fears which he carries throughout the entire novel. And Tristen writes on these emotions in a way that is rich with understanding and empathy. The emotions of these pages read not as some farce designed to make the character seem like they’re struggling but as real and human as the reader. When Ronoah panicked, I panicked. We he was joyful, I was joyful. And as he grew and learned to understand himself, I felt like I was learning with him. This type of emotional connection is rare for me; it takes a truly brilliant author and narrative to cultivate that and Tristen’s narrative does so. Overall, Tristen’s “The Heretic’s Guide to Homecoming” is one of my favorite fantasies I have read in a long time. Although the narrative is complex and perhaps confusing at times, it is one that is willing to wrap you into its world if you allow it. It is a novel for anyone who wants to take that dive and give themselves over to a whimsical, adventurous world. Tristen proved herself to be a capable author not only in building a compelling world but also a compelling set of characters. I’m looking forward to the worlds and characters she continues to produce.
“The Heretic’s Guide to Homecoming: Theory” is a marvelous journey that left me the reader feeling, much like the story’s main character, privileged to have been allowed along as part of it. The story begins with our main character Ronoah alone far from home; unsure of both where he is going next, and everything that has brought him this far. Conversation with an enchantingly mysterious stranger escalates to an invitation on a journey across the continent to the holy Pilgrim State. The narrative that unfolds from there is a beautiful saga of haunting pasts, uncertain destinies, and the most daunting of journeys: self discovery. Most important throughout is the telling of stories, and the ways that they shape ourselves and the world around us. Fans of such series as King’s “Dark Tower” and Rothfuss’ “Kingkiller Chronicles” would certainly find themselves in familiar territory. Sienna Tristen writes with such unparalleled emotional intelligence and insight, every character comes alive waiting to be reached out and connected to. I would highly recommend this book to any reader prepared to discover and fall in love with a new world. I received a free advance copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.