Author: Lars Teeny
Publisher: Xcism Press
Futharkia is a city built upon the layout of an ancient rune shape, and a foundation of slavery. The Broxanians have been enslaved by the Olgoikhorkian Masters to exploit the Broxanian talent for rune-scribing. In exchange, the rune-scribes are compensated with the sweet, golden liquid, Ichor, that the giant worm-like Olgoikhorkians secrete from their glands. The Ichor also happens to be highly addictive and psychoactive. The system has worked for millennia.
However, the Great Fern Jungle that surrounds Futharkia is dying, being bleached white by some unseen force. Coupled with the fact that the simian-like Fern Lice have been hunted to near extinction to provide for Futharkia’s ever-increasing demand for food, Futharkia’s ecosystem is near collapse. It is amid this setting that Cyesko Limariar, an aging rune-scribe makes one last attempt at greatness to lift himself out of poverty, even if by fraudulent means.
It had been quite a while that I had read a book of this genre, so it was a refreshing change.
Even though the Shackled Scribblers is based in a completely different world, it does not take much time to get in the groove. The narration is such that you immediately understand what is going on and start rooting for the characters.
The pace of the book is quite fast, as one thing happens after the other, as readers, we are always on our toes. As the story starts we are introduced to two characters: Tialina, a female bird who is a natural when it comes to making runes and Cyesko, an old bird who has spent years perfecting the art of rune making in exchange for half a bottle of the golden liquid, Ichor.
Even though the characters are worms, birds, and other creatures, they have very human emotions. So, on one hand, we have these birds who are frustrated that they have to create runes for petty pay, we see these creatures who are under pressure to collect high-quality runes in order to live a happy life.
Overall, while some of the conflicts that have been mentioned in the book are a bit generic, the overall freshness of the plot, the setting, and the characters make this book an interesting read.