The Herald of Autumn is a stanza of the ‘Paean of Sundered Dreams’ by JM Guillen, it is the first of it’s kind from Guillen and promises much more in the rich and full world that it creates.
A breath of fresh air from your typical fantasy book, The Herald of Autumn is a hint at the power that words truly have, how they can craft the future and shape the past. The author certainly has a talent for sentence structure and craftsmanship that comes across in the very first scene.
JM Guillen writes of a world covering our own, hidden from the view of mortals, and only truly seen by the fantastic and powerful beings that make it up. One such being is the Herald of Autumn, Tommy Maple, our protagonist.
From the first page the book gives you a sense of the story that’s going to follow, we open the novel and we’re instantly thrown into conflict, a fight in the first chapter that sees out protagonist face to face with a man considerably more powerful than he, and Tommy in a situation that could end the story before it even begins.
A battle of words ensues, with each character using his glamour and ability for ‘Telling’ to try and win the conflict, this allows the reader to see the true power of these beings, not in strength or muscle, but the ability to change the universe simply through language and stories.
Tommy Maple and the Old Man seen in the first chapter aren’t the only creatures with this ability, many of the creatures of this unseen realm know the power of Telling, and we meet a good number of different personalities and characters throughout the book, including a brave spruce tree and creaky floorboards.
The author uses a number of literary and printing tricks to give a greater depth to the book, at times there are two stories going on at once, the main story, and the story that is being ‘Told’ within the story, presented in a different font throughout. Sometimes the two stories mix and become one, other times one overpowers the other, this is a great way to give the sense of the book happening in the present, and urging the reader forward.
The book gives rise to some great themes and unique ideas, I would be very interested in reading the next installments in the series, as we’re completely invested with Tommy by the time the book ends, I wish the author the best of luck in their future endeavors.
If anything, I would say that the book is rather short for the amount that the author introduces, but it does give a feeling of a much grander world beyond what we’ve seen, and a world with more history than could ever be written down. As a first book it accomplishes a lot, but it does demand a second, or third, if only to answer questions raised in the first.
The book is available for purchase on the Amazon Store: The Herald of Autumn
The author can be found on Twitter: @JM_Guillen