5-Star Book Review Club Presents: Fable’s End: A Shentonia Story by Seth Halleway


Fable’s End: A Shentonia Story by Seth Halleway


This novel was so good, even me, a person who’s never read science fiction fantasy or anything considered a space odyssey, loved it. Fable’s End: A Shentonia Story by Seth Halleway intrigues you with its world building right from chapter one and never stops. It’s just enough to keep your imagination engaged. Then the author adds in action-packed scenes to make it a page-turner. When you reach the story’s peak, there are brilliant twists that inspire you to get through the chapters as fast as possible. 

The most impressive part was how Halleway’s world building creates an immersive narrative that’s been compared to Dune. Some have even said the writing’s Tolkien-esque. So, to not spoil the read, my in-depth review will use examples of the author’s world building from the Kindle sample, since they prove the rest will be even more immersive. The impressive Earth-like world building starts with Yaelon’s first impressions of the Waki Archipelago, the next one happens when the bad guy’s introduced, and, at last, the one when poetry’s used to depict the good guy’s fortress.


Right away in chapter one, Halleway shows his fantasy world with three-dimensional precision. And when I mean right away, I mean page one’s first paragraph. You can feel the tension of the male character, Yaelon, who’s flying the royal craft, because he has “a white-knuckled grip on the controls, pulling back to maintain altitude.” Then, after the lightning only shows him what’s out there for a split second, you realize he sees something. This something is trippy since he can “see nothing, save for boiling ocean and the dark tempest… swirling all around” (1). Next, the author adds to the tension by having Yaelon make an educational guess that “there must be hundreds of automated turrets hidden among the foliage…ready to shoot him down” (3). But to create a full picture of the world Yaelon is entering, Halleway uses the moment Yaelon is descending the craft to show there’s “thick rainforest… [that soon reveals] huts and wooden construction” (4). Resulting in a full picture of what Tekash looks like.


The world Halleway built for his sci-fi novel gets better as you realize by chapter three that it’s not just one place, it’s many places this book brings to life with its prose. Take, for example, the eeriness that’s added to the moment when you read about the Julu-Kiatan’s shantytown, the “acrid, black smog… drifting through the streets…as flames licked away at the rickety, makeshift homes of the…residents, a stench of singed flesh and hair came wafting across the way” (16). When I read this again, to figure out if I could use it as an example, it blew me away. It’s like you almost smell the nastiness and feel the horrifying situation these poor people are dealing with. And then, when you read the rest, you get to meet one of the main characters and you’ll know why he’s the evil one. 


The last one I can share without spoiling the story was in chapter five. It happens when Jadara goes to Diyavid’s place and he’s looking at “the towering rows of meticulously terraced rice paddies surrounding Hantoa Fortress with envious eyes. They ran down the sweeping mountains like great stairways hanging from the clouds. In the pools of water on each tier, Diyavid’s Teiji were bustling away, tilling and planting crops for next season’s harvest” (31). With fantastic poetry woven into the details, it reminded me of what you could see at Machu Picchu or what you’ve read about regarding the Inca’s agricultural terraces.


The way Seth Halleway built Shentonia really created a three-dimensional world with ruins, palaces, culture, and a unique dialect. And if you get confused, visit his website because he has a full explanation of the Shentoni languages and culture. I geeked out on it, and it really added a whole new layer of understanding for the world he meticulously built. The rest of the book also entertains with all of its action; there’s hand-to-hand combat to full-on aerial battles with astounding technology. This makes the read a great choice for escaping into a story. Plus, it has just enough show and tell to keep the plot’s pace moving briskly.

It’s also cool how every chapter’s ending leaves you hungry for more. The emotional range was another fantastic part of the read. Some chapters make you sad for the side characters. Others amaze you with their cinematic action. There are even scenes that’ll make you laugh. The technology adds depth and intrigue. By the end, you’ll have a full sense of Shentonia’s rich history. Fable’s End: A Shentonia Story by Seth Halleway was entertaining from the beginning to the end; each twist and turn added to the three-dimensional experience of seeing Shentonia and learning what they go through to choose their next leader.

Thank you for reading our in-depth book review about Fable’s End: A Shentonia Story by Seth Halleway. We are not affiliated with the publisher, but here’s the link to pick up a copy.

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E. R. Sanchez is the author of Fried Potato Press’ first young adult thriller, Petaco Dreams, which will be released Fall 2024 after the rewrite, new title, and new cover. He also has poems and stories published online and in print. If you’d like to read his work that was published online, please click here to go to his Stories and Poetry Section.

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