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The Rise of Nazil (Book I)
A breath-taking adult fantasy, The Rise of Nazil is the debut release from author Aaron-Michael Hall and it’s one you’d do well to remember. A tale in which Hall takes obvious delight, there’s a distinctly satisfying precision with which he has imagined his world of Faélondul. Not only taking great pains with descriptions that bring a mythical feel to his distant setting, but in creating a military regime and cultural traditions with insightfully nuanced characteristics that are both enthralling and plausible. Discerning fans of this popular genre will find the most loved devices of fantasy are to be found within Hall’s narrative, but it’s his ability to inject a gritty sense of realism that makes it so endearing. Faélondul is a world imbued with good and evil, that permeates through a richly layered social strata, but few facets of human nature have changed and he captures them all. Desire, ambition, greed, each masterfully manifested in a host of vividly rendered characters that make for a riveting read whilst neatly sidestepping the pitfalls of predictability.
Crafted like a mound of gems picked from the best in genre, The Rise of Nazil makes for a scintillating read. Boding well for future releases from Aaron-Michael Hall, it is recommended without reservation.”
The Rise of the Nazil is Fantasy in its finest form. The breadth and scope of the storyline is of epic proportions.
What struck me about this story were the parallels to the blights of our own society. In the Nazil you see the same elitist paradigm that plagues the most powerful of our own world. The Nazillians mirror the notorious Nazis with their cruelty, but also with their strength and their charisma. At the same time, they reflect the ideals and apathy of corporate America. Nazil is a formidable machine, and when operated by an evil hand it wreaks havoc across the land, taking as it pleases and leaving death and destruction in its wake. But fear not; there is hope!
This story is not all death and gloom. Oh no. Contained within these pages are incredible feats of courage, true tests of honor, and most importantly unions bonded by unshakable love. The Rise of Nazil is an epic fantasy that should be shelved next to the works of R.A. Salvatore and J. R. R. Tolkein. Aaron-Michael Hall is a creative world builder with breath-taking deities and a most unique mythos.
With sweeping love stories, intense battles, theological struggles, and modern sociological themes, this book was the best read of 2015.
Warning: Adult Only. Graphic content not suitable for young readers.”
-Frankie, Mudville Dames
No watchman has looked upon the crypts of the Guardians for two hundred years, and no Guardian has been activated in all that time – but the rise of an ancient threat has prompted the awakening of an ancient defense, and The Rise of Nazil opens with this awakening, this threat, and a powerful review of oaths once sworn and new obstacles to world peace.
Fantasy readers may be used to epic battles and confrontations, but it should be noted that even the most seasoned reader of such sagas will find an unusually complex, well-detailed plot to this story, which covers numerous characters, special interests, lost connections between generations, and challenges to long-established beliefs.
From slaves and political alliances, romance and war, and the presence of ethereal Guardians who promise hope and promote faith in a time of conflict to the ongoing contrast and struggles between love, personal interests, and the greater good of the wider world, Pentanimir and others face choices and consequences not always of their making as they watch the Nazil threaten everything they have known and built.
Where other authors might create black-and-white delineations between good and evil forces, Aaron-Michael Hall adds much food for thought on all sides, introducing sets of circumstances which are neither cut and dried nor clear. Fast-paced action and drama is tempered by the moral, psychological and spiritual dilemmas of many of the characters, while layers of angst, lust, and confrontation make for a story that may dismay some with its explicit sexuality and violence, at points, but which will delight readers who want all kinds of perspectives and approaches under one cover.
Many epic fantasies eschew such undercurrents in favor of acceptably clean focuses on action, politics, and light romance; but one of the strengths of this story is its different and overt inclusion of all kinds of forces at work in the kingdom.
Readers who like epic reads who aren’t put off by graphic descriptions of violence in the course of an action-filled story line will find The Rise of Nazil a gritty, absorbing tale that winds the lives of its characters into the reader’s mind until the story becomes gripping, passionate, and hard to put down.
~D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
‘The Rise of Nazil: Secret of the Seven’ is an engaging epic fantasy read in every sense of word. Author Aaron Michael has managed to create a world where love is skillfully mingled and balanced with politics, battle of birth right and adventure ticking along at a perfect pace bringing the imaginary time period to life with authentic details and charismatic, believable characters, fighting to reclaim their destiny.
Author Aaron Michael is a truly gifted writer who weaves a story that is at once complex, surprising, full of well paced action that moves at a break neck pace bringing in the first chosen of the elite guard of Nazil-‘Pentanimir’ who will face a life changing challenge after meeting a breath taking human beauty Brahanu.
‘The Rise of Nazil’ is definitely a masterful read that is sure to enchant its readers by its adventures that are thrilling and even frightening as the good and the evil battle for domination, demonstrating and slowly unfolding the power and courage of characters selflessly helping each other where their camaraderie is spellbinding and relieving from the poignant settings.
Original in concept and delightful in style, ‘The Rise of Nazil’ is bound to provide an exceptionally immersive reading experience as the transition into a highly imagined magical realm is both deeply moving and satisfying. Highly recommended.
It would be difficult to put Aaron-Michael Hall’s ‘The Rise of Nazil’ in a neat category, as it is an epic tale whose relevance transcends the adult fantasy genre. Purchased a copy of the book on a whim—I was looking for a book to read throughout the weekend, and this caught my eye, especially when I read “forbidden, yet eternal love” in the context of adult content and graphic scenes. I wondered: how does THAT happen? As it turned out, this is a clever book that will get past your defenses, and when you realize it, you’re already hooked. And I’m happy to report that, yes, The Rise of Nazil will indeed take your breath away.
Like most fantasy books, The Rise of Nazil is populated by fantastic creatures. In its mythical land called Faelondul, the humans are the ones who are oppressed by the white-skinned Nazilians (perhaps an allegory to real-world race issues). The Nazilians are like ancient Rome—they are ruthless, bound by stern laws, and they even employ the military tactic that reminds you of the Roman phalanx. Nazil dominate the land and maintain an uneasy tolerance of humans living in surrounding villages, which are allowed to thrive as long as they serve Nazil’s interests. All would have been well, if not one of Nazil’s most important military officers, the First Chosen Pentanimir, fell hopelessly in love with the human Brahanu. For Brahanu, Pentanimir would break one Nazilian law after another—all with dire, world-changing consequences. I cannot divulge more to avoid giving away spoilers, but let me suffice this to say that if there’s one fantasy book you must read today—in fact, RIGHT NOW—make it this one. All worth it.
Author Aaron-Michael Hall is the master of the slow burn—he does not dazzle you with quick resolutions or flashy scenes. Instead, he deftly builds up the plot and the sense of suspense one page at a time. And this is one intricate, richly detailed plot: the multitude of characters unleash upon your senses some sort of a powerful eureka once you reach that point in the book where the story climbs its inevitable climax, and you’re left sitting there with your mouth hanging open, unable to look away, knowing fully well you’re going to stand by these unforgettable characters no matter what follies they commit. Even the “evil” characters of the Nazil race—the duplicitous Beilzen, for example, or even Daracus—all play an important part that serves both a warning and lesson. And somehow—I don’t know how Hall actually achieves it, but maybe through literary “magic”—the tale ends well in a way that just feels oh so right.
And I’m glad this isn’t over yet—I clicked on the link and the author’s website tells its readers there’s more where this came from. The sequel, Seed of Scorn, is due out in a couple of months. Now that’s something to look forward to. Bookmarked, entered into my calendar of schedule, deeply anticipated. A new die-hard fan here.”
5.0 out of 5 stars A Complex and Well-told Epic Fantasy
By Mary R. Wolderingon March 5, 2017
Do you like sweeping drama, deep and complicated characters, complex worlds filled with fantastic flying desu beasts, magical powers, love, mystery, plot twists, palace intrigue, mighty battles, heartbreak, characters you instantly love or hate, and did I mention murder? There’s even a mysterious language to learn!
Hall’s writing makes it easy for the reader to get involved in the story of the Nazil and the humans who serve them. The sweeping story of rebellious love in conflict with a sense of honor and duty powers the story to a satisfying conclusion, but paves the way for the next novel in the series: Seed of Scorn
One slight word of caution: this story has very graphic descriptions of the cruelty of the Nazil but in my opinion it’s needed for more complete characterization. A great Epic Fantasy for Mature Adults.
What a truly fantastic book! I received this book through Goodreads Giveaways, and I must say it is my favorite out of any I’ve received and read thus far. It is reminiscent of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, though definitely not in a copycat way. Also, as an avid Dungeons and Dragons player I felt there were many elements of that as well. Admittedly there were a few scenes that were a bit difficult to read, however they were so necessary to the book that it really couldn’t have done without them.
The world building was just phenomenal. Each scene and character contributes to the reader’s knowledge and overall image of the world itself. Everything described beautifully, with enough detail that you are never grasping for imagery without completely eschewing the creative freedom of one’s imagination. Anything that isn’t described in particularly clear detail can be found on the cover and/or the back of the book, so all the bases are covered. Even the fictional language used periodically is translated at the end of each scene where it appears.
The characters are rich and multi-faceted and each one is different from the next, even the villains and the minor characters. Each one is described well, mentally and physically, and a good many will surprise you. The reader is given an intimate look into the thoughts and feelings of each character, why they make the choices they do, and what they do or don’t learn from them.
The story itself is a grand fantasy adventure that tackles some hard issues that are true of the world today, more or less depending on the people and/or the area of the world in question, in a unique way. Inside of that is a tale of adventure, joy, hardships, difficult choices, and the resiliency of the human (or Nazilian) spirit.
All of this comes together to form an awesome book that is truly an epic fantasy. I would recommend this for a mature audience (seriously, don’t give this to your kid or teenager) who enjoys fantasy of any kind, plays or played D&D, and/or enjoys intelligent fiction. I’d give it more stars if I could and I will most certainly be reading the next one.”
October 20, 2016
I’m a very selective reader. My time is limited and when I sit down to read, it must be engaging. If I’m not feeling a good vibe, I tend to skip and then stop reading after a while. The Rise of Nazil is a little slow with spurts of action as the players and multiple plots are put down. Each character is unique though their lives are connected to other characters in ways I couldn’t imagine.
It’s not a casual read, and has so many small details that you could miss something if you skip a line. Trust me, you won’t want to put it down.
By far, Danimore, Itai, Kuhani, and Thalassa are my favorite characters. I wished there was more about Kuhani and Thalassa. Perhaps the next books will tell more of their story—I hope!
The battle scenes are excellent as are the magnificent creatures and language. I visited her website and listened to how the language sounded. I’m blown away peeps! There hasn’t been a fantasy story like this one in a long time. I’m hooked and ordering the next book right now.
Pure escapism is the order of play here and it’s a strong debut which begins at a blistering pace and continues throughout as Aaron-Michael Hall builds a convincing and beguiling world which is both evocative and easy to imagine. Breathing originality into the genre this has to be one of my favourite Fantasy reads in a long while.”
I read a lot of fantasy books, but the author of The Rise of Nazil has created a world that had hooked me right away. The land of Faélondul is ruled by the Nazil, a race of men called ‘ghosts’ because of their white hair and pale skins. Pentanimir is First Chosen, the leader of their military forces and guards to the ruler. When he comes across Brahanu, a beautiful human lost and hurt in the woods, he is torn between duty and desire. For the Nazil are xenophobic, taking humans as slaves and generally treating them horrifically. The scenes here are graphic both in violence and sexually, but are necessary to explain the history and behavior of these people. The author does give warnings.
The story travels at a good pace among different parts of the country of Faélondul and there is a vast cast of characters. But they are all so interesting that I kept reading to find out what happens next. The world building is detailed, including some new language, and varied, fitting well in the context of the story.
The writing style is slightly archaic which fits very nicely with the fantasy style. You get used to it quickly and I quite enjoyed it.
This is going to be a series of books and I can not wait to read more. I highly recommend this book to lovers of fantasy (ages 18+). Aaron-Michael Hall is a great new author and I am very happy that I found him.”
-Nancy M. antrimcycle.com
It’s getting harder and harder to separate the wheat from the chaff in this genre but thankfully The Rise Of Nazil stands head and shoulders above much of the competition. From plot to characters it is a vibrant fantasy that really captures the imagination from start to end.”
“I ‘m not usually one to read fantasy. I like to watch movies, but it is not a genre I ordinarily read. Therefore, when I received a digital copy of this book, it took me a while to start reading. I’m glad I did! From the very beginning, I was intrigued. Then after the prologue, chapter 1 pulled me into a completely different world. It was fantasy, but so much more. The characters themselves were not typical of the usual fantasy creations. That alone made me sit taller and concentrate a little harder as not to miss one word.
The pace was a bit slower than I would have liked after the prologue, but it was well worth it! The characters and world are well developed. You feel for each of them and the struggles they endure. Some you can’t help but hate while others make you want to cry. There are numerous characters and many are important to the story. In addition, there are many little innuendos and hints of things to come. This author does not coddle the reader. You must keep up or miss some of the depth and actualities taking place in Faélondul past and present.
I would recommend this book 100%. There are so many twists toward the end and well-written battle scenes. The 18+ warning is earned due to some torture and graphic scenes. Even those were well-written and brought tears to my eyes. Some characters you want to hate, but he makes you care for them instead. I look forward to the next book in this series. He has left me wanting more!”
–Beatrice T. (Goodreads)
In a world of the Nazil, power and violence seem to be the only response, and the hatred of other races whose values are bound up in their community seems to permeate everything they do. But not everyone or everything is as it seems, and both sides of the conflict are struggling against fate. The world is well-realized and detailed, with a strong mythos and interesting social characterizations.
The Rise of the Nazil is a complex work, combining the cadence and richness of “old school” fantasy with the violence, intricate treacheries and modern sensibilities of The Game of Thrones. If Michael Moorcock were writing for today’s audience, he might well have written this kind of work. And if you read those novels with enjoyment, you will want to read this book, too.”
At a little under 600 pages The Rise of Nazil definitely deserves the title ‘Epic’ Not simply for its length but the sheer intricacy of the plot and the superb imaginative musing of its author. Central to its success for me is the way he has created not only fabulous fantasy worlds but a complex geo political structure which breathes a refreshing breathe of authenticity into a genre which too often than not has become trite and predictable.”
-Danny (Amazon UK)
Great book, but very explicit in parts. The plot is well thought out and delivered in a unique manner. His style of writing is different from anything I’ve encountered thus far. For a first novel, this is excellent.
There is a lot of dialogue, but once I reached the last seven chapters, I was happy I hadn’t skipped a syllable.
Kudos to him for not splitting one book into two or three parts to fill his pockets. The book is large and well worth the time. Instant fan.”
–Brandi J. (Goodreads)
Finally a fantasy series with multi-ethnic characters and not one mention of a vampire, orc, elf or wolf. The story telling is dynamic as is the actual depth of the characters and conflicts. The author draws you in and keeps you interested throughout.
There are quite a few surprising developments. I thought I had a plot figured out only to be completely flabbergasted in the latter chapters. I loved it!
Warning: There are several graphic scenes. I skimmed one of those due to the detail. Overall, I can see the benefit of those scenes.
I’d recommend this title to not only fantasy lovers, but also anyone 18 and over who loves a phenomenal story. I’ll keep my eye out for his next book.”
I have to ask myself an obvious question after reading “The Rise of Nazil” by Aaron Michael Hall: Why did I like it so much? I usually ask myself that question after really enjoying a book or movie. As an engineer and manager, I spend a lot of time in the real world, so when I’m especially taken with a work of fiction it often provides an insight to examine it to better understand how and why it grabbed me. So, as an engineer, I’m going to briefly break down this adventure fantasy by a relatively unknown author and try to understand what just happened. For me, anyway, the most useful method is to examine plot, characters, and dialogue, and try to see why they work (or not) and how they work together.
So, starting with the plot, it kind of fits into the boy-meets-girl thing, but it gets past that right away. After a short prologue involving a group of divine beings called the Guardians discussing past events in the land of Faelondul, we meet a beautiful human woman named Brahanu who is lost in a storm, injured, and horrified to find herself near Nazil. Nazil is the capital city of a cruel and arrogantly xenophobic race whose ruler, the Zaxson, is a particularly unpleasant fellow who extracts tribute from the human villages in the land while enslaving and abusing the humans. The Nazilian culture views the humans as savages and any humans captured near the city are tortured horribly. Brahanu has the very good fortune of being discovered by Pentanimir. He is First Chosen, the leader and champion of the elite palace guards of Nazil, whose motto is “Honor Above All.” Pentanimir is smitten by Brahanu’s beauty. Torn between duty and love, he makes the difficult choice to escort the injured girl to safety to a mysterious secret village rather than taking her prisoner. As he prepares for the journey, we meet his younger brother Danimore, who is also a member of the guard. The plot moves from Brahanu’s flight to scenes inside the citadel of the city, where we encounter some of the human slaves, including Hushar and Zeta and start to learn of the cruel ways of the Nazilian slave-masters.
The plot continues to advance between Brahanu and Pentanimir’s adventures – and some epic love-making along the way – and developments in the city and in Cazaal, Brahanu’s village. The author deftly introduces a number of new and intriguing characters through the unpredictable plot turns: the evil uncle Oxilon, the sadistic Zaxson with his son and daughter, and Brahanu’s family in Cazaal and her betrothed, Itai. As Pentanimir and Brahanu journey together, he begins to experience doubts regarding Nazil and what he has taken for granted about humans and Nazilians. The human and the Nazilian warrior fall deeply in love and although they reach the mysterious village of Bandari and meet even more fascinating and inter-related characters, they find they must make the difficult choice to separate in order to … well; I don’t want to spoil it for other readers. By the time I got this far in the story I was hooked. The plot pulled me rapidly through a very exciting battle with the Guardians and Nazilians, and a final climactic attack on the citadel itself. There were places in the story where I literally had to stop for a moment and catch my breath. So, in short, the plot has at least a little of just about everything that makes for a good story: love, courage, adventure, betrayal, battles, and struggles with honor and duty and virtue. It’s all tied together with unpredictable twists and turns that really kept me turning pages.
Okay, characters. Aaron Michael Hall has written a story that almost compares to some of Charles Dickens’ novels in terms of the number of characters and the extent to which they are inter-related. In this sense, the plot and characters work together very well: the plot’s twists and turns reveal not only the characters themselves but bring out surprising connections among them. In addition, just as in the best of Tolkien, some of the characters are not human at all. We meet warrior giants in exile, and have to rejoice with them when one of the humans from Bandari helps them overcome their ancient failures in serving the Guardians. In a flashback, we meet Pentanimir’s father Manifir and learn more about Nazil and its gods and culture as well as a greater understanding of what motivates the First Chosen. We experience the selfless, heroic love of Itai for Brahanu. In all, the characters are revealed as very human and believable, all with failings and weaknesses, most with virtue and interesting personalities. I found myself connecting with almost all of the good guys at different times in the story, and getting downright angry at some of the more evil ones.
It took me a little while to get used to the dialogue. Hall uses some unusual constructions and speaking styles to set Faelondul apart from our world. For example, there are not contractions in the dialogue. Once I accepted this as being consistent with the fantasy world the author was creating, I found it very natural and enjoyable. The way the characters speak often provides very good insights into their natures. Hall often employs a very unique usage which I found fascinating and delightful.
To summarize, the major elements of the story – plot, characters, and dialogue – all worked very well together to establish a very believable and compelling adventure. I found myself cheering for the heroes and righteously indignant with the villains. The author has a powerful style of writing and the story was consistent and well-edited throughout. It was a fast, fun read and I’m looking forward to more installments from Aaron Michael Hall.”
–Mike (Amazon Review)