Book Review: The Verindon Alliance
Author: Lynne Stringer
Cover Design: Carmen Dougherty
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Rhiza Press
Reviewer: Elizabeth Klein
This book makes an appealing gift for those who enjoy a sci fi escape. Intrigue, sabotage, loss, death and war are all rolled into the mix of this powerful story about two warring races: the Vendel and Verindal. I was thankful to receive a copy of The Verindon Alliancefrom the author, who gilds her tale in a masterful mystery with the initial discovery of slaughtered soldiers in the Andramadiss Mountains, which drew me into her world, seeking answers just as much as the characters did.
This bold and realistic story of the terrible events that befall both races is somewhat like a sci fi Romeo and Julietwith its budding romance element developing between the ostracised Vendelian princess Vashta and the heir to Verindal, Brandonin. The concept of an alliance is frightening and alien to both characters and yet it greatly appeals to their desire to see their people survive. To shrug off peace without giving it proper thought would only invite future ruin, something they both realise they don’t want early on.
The devastation and disaster wrought by swift and deadly creatures unwittingly bring these two feuding factions together for mutual survival. But in the beginning, both blame the other race of sending the creatures and both races want answers. Whilst reading through the histories, Vashta discovers that their people had once worked together long ago which, she realises, could occur again if both races put aside their differences and formed an alliance.
I found, for the most part, The Verindon Alliancea gripping and enjoyable read. It was fast-paced with a wonderful blend of character, plot and world building, exposing cultural, societal relationships which the elite of both factions had to adhere to. It eked out the ugly in royal sibling rivalry, grainy as sour wine, coarse as sandpaper. I appreciated the interaction of the two families with their ideologies that spanned long ages. Interestingly, the book was also a lesson in diplomacy, the intrigues of subterfuge and violence, deceit and truth establishing to secure solutions. Stringer writes well, uses sci fi tropes to create her world, tearing the meat from the bones to give readers just the bare, gritty story.