Review: The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich

October 11, 2013 5 stars, Book Review 18 ★★★★★

The Scroll of Years

It’s Brent Weeks meets China Mieville in this wildly imaginative fantasy debut featuring high action, elegant writing, and sword and sorcery with a Chinese flare.

Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone are a romantic couple and partners in crime. Persimmon is a poet from a well-to-do family, who found herself looking for adventure, while Imago is a thief in his ninth decade who is double-cursed, and his body has not aged in nearly seventy years. Together, their services and wanderlust have taken them into places better left unseen, and against odds best not spoken about. Now, they find themselves looking to get away, to the edge of the world, with Persimmon pregnant with their child, and the most feared duo of assassins hot on their trail. However, all is never what it seems, and a sordid adventure-complete with magic scrolls, gangs of thieves, and dragons both eastern and western-is at hand.

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​​​​The Scroll of Years will capture readers with it’s beautiful literary writing style and witty characters. Have you ever wanted to read a fantasy set in an Eastern / Asian culture inspired setting? I know I always love it when I come across a fantasy book that has unexpected splashes of Asian cultures rather than the typical western cultures that I see so frequently. Thankfully with this book you get a wonderful mix of both because Gaunt and Bone are on the run from the West into the East.

They must have pissed off someone in high places because there are some pretty wicked assassins after this couple and they’ve got to stay several steps ahead especially considering Persimmon Gaunt is pregnant! I don’t even remember the last time where I read a book where one of the lead characters is pregnant! It made for some interesting situations.

It took me 43 pages to get sucked into The Scroll of Years – mostly because the writing style is something I had to adjust to. But once the teenage characters Next-One-A-Boy and Flybait come on the seen I was hooked. Next-One-A-Boy is most definitely a girl and she doesn’t want anyone to forget it. Resourceful and determined, she left home and doesn’t ever plan on going back. So how does a young girl survive on her own? Why by joining up with the local bandits of course!

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Nor did she believe in flying-carpet fairies, goldfish people, love and justice, and other stories for babies. She did believe in magic, however, just as she believed in corruption and unfairness and all other things that could have you eating mud or becoming it. – pg 43
Now, Flybait was really the one that stole my heart. He was scrappy, just a touch bit of a coward but definitely all heart.  I never knew what was going to come out of this kids mouth!
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“Sorry, Flybait,” said a big man with an axe.

“Hey, don’t worry, Feng,” said Flybait. “Mind if I scream and raise a fuss?”

“I don’t mind,” said the big man, “as long as you hold still.” – pg 116

Really it was Next-One-A-Boy and Flybait that had me loving this book more than anything. I think perhaps its because I felt we got to know them throughout the story whereas with Guant and Bone I think we were expected to be acquainted with them already.  This might in part be due to Gaunt and Bone originally being the leads in several short stories by this author before debuting in here in their first novel.

Regardless, when you threw this group together this book was an amazing combination of heartache, discovery, life lessons and hope.  Oh yes and did I mention funny?

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Soon two screaming thieves were charging the bandits with an axe bigger than either of them. The weapon had not been designed as a pole arm, but it was in such a manner that Bone and Flybait rushed the knot of foes. Distracted by the wulin woman leaping from stalactite to stalactite, the outlaws were unprepared for an attack of such poetic stupidity. – pg 117
Definitely give The Scroll of Years a try – its a short read weighing in at less than 300 pages but still hefty enough in quality content to satisfy even the most voracious fantasy reader.

The Scroll of Years

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• A copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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18 Responses to “Review: The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich”

  1. Cali W.

    Great review! i love the cover and the quotes you chose are awesome! <3

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Thanks Kimberly! Yes – I know I was so amazed at how much I loved it especially considering it was so short! There is even a wonderful short story for Gaunt and Bone in the back!

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      It just goes to show you that a really great author can still pack a huge punch in less than 300 pages. Sometimes I really think that the thicker books need some heavier editing done on them. *looks at The Passage by Justin Cronin*

      • Pamela D

        I know what you mean. I just completed the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb, and the last book was a doozy. It was about 800 pages or so. The book just dragged. I really wanted to finish it though, because I wanted to learn how the story ended. I ended up listening to the audiobook, because I could do other things at the same time. Hobb did a great job showing how long the hero’s journey was; however, I did not want to experience it as a reader!
        Pamela D recently posted…Wonderfully Wicked Read-A-Thon II Kick OffMy Profile

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      It really is great! I admit the writing style took me a few pages to get comfortable with but then I fell in love. I look forward to reading his short stories now too. I can’t wait to see what you think Nathan!

  2. Jaime Lester

    This sounds soooo good! I love the fact that Persimmon is pregnant, but still kick-butt! One of the many things that make me want to read it are the names of the characters. That alone lets me know I am in for an imaginative, fun-filled, full of action adventure ride of a story. Thank you for another Fab Tab review. Not big thanks for reviewing yet another book that i must add to my ever growing TBR. I need to make a Tabitha the Pabkins TBR list. It would be quite a long list! 🙂 Thank you much and #hugtackleslam

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Haha! Thanks! Yes a list named after me – I would simply die of delight! Oh you will get plenty of good chuckles because of Next-one-a-boy and Flybait. They are too funny. I loved how this was serious at times but also comical. I really did love it. I don’t think I’ve seen you read any fantasy quite like this, but I think you will like it. Did you sign up for the readathon? Oh yes and I’m giving away a copy of this next month!!

      • Jaime Lester

        Well, I will wait and enter the giveaway. I was about to head to Amazon and see about this one. And I really am trying to expand my horizons a bit. I think that might be the thing to get me out of my reading rut. I need to try something.

  3. Maricris Patrimonio Dimla

    Oooh! im so gonna read this book! the characters’ names sounds cool and weird (that is Next-one-a-boy, im wondering what her real name is..) i love fantasy and adventure books and with this one it really suits my taste. Nice Review you got there by the way! Thank you for sharing! ^_^

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Thanks! It’s an excellent book. Next-One-a-boy is her name! That’s what her parents named her. Tho later she does decide she is going to change her name.

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Exactly – heck I can’t think of any book where one of the main characters were pregnant. It seriously limits the things they can do. But here it just worked. You’ll see – even though they are touted as the main characters I really think there was a group of main characters.