Slate ‘Stonehands’ Severance was desperate to get away from his little mining village in the mountains; so much so that when the chance to enter the tournament and try out for the Crimson Guard came up, he contravened all the customs of his village and entered the fights. However, when an accusation of magical interference was levelled against him in his final fight, Slate was forced to undergo investigation and a battery of tests – and to discover that part of his skeletal structure had been permanently transmuted. His win also earnt him the enmity of the most influential family in the city – although he had no idea of the extent that their destinies would be intertwined.
Severance Lost: A Fractal Forsaken Book is a fantasy adventure tale, focussing on Slate and his experiences with the Crimson Guard. Author J. Lloren Quill’s world-building is well-structured, with the system of vying guilds within the Crimson Guard providing some interesting sidebars to the main story, Sicarius in particular. I found that the characters and their interactions could have used more development; while the basic story was sound, some more depth in the characters would have benefited the read, and while they got to where they needed to go, I was occasionally left with the ‘Huh. Well, that was unexpectedly easy’ feeling after a key discussion. The back story fuelling current events is detailed and plausible; some breadcrumbs earlier in the plot would have alerted me that this was something worth paying attention to, whereas as it stands, it feels a little as if it was introduced as a plot wrap. Overall, the pacing was good, the magic and mayhem interacted well throughout the book, and there were some interesting plot twists.