Let me start off this review by saying that I really loved this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started it but it kept me on my toes throughout the book.
The book begins with the story of Colin Harten emigrating, along with his family from strife-filled Andover to the new lands over the ocean to the east. There immigrants like the Harten family face discrimination in the new provinces from the respectable “old blood” of Portstown. Bullied and beaten, Colin fights back which leads to his family’s eventual decision to head east over the land in search of new land to claim for the Proprietor of Portstown. This first section then follows Colin and all the families who head east with him.
After disaster strikes, Colin drinks from the Well of Sorrows and transforms into something …else. He also learns that the deadly Shadows that live in the eastern forest are hungry to possess the Well of Sorrows and have developed “wraiths” to assist them in their plans.
His eventual return to Portstown leads him to join a group of Alvritshai, one of three races he encountered during the trip east over the plains. The second half of the book then turns to the larger issues of revenge and political intrigue among the three major races: human, Alvritshai and the stout and war-like Dwarren.
In the background, Tate drops hints of war back in Andover over the “Rose” – a potential weapon.
Well of Sorrows is well written and captivating. It blends realism and fantasy beautifully. Every time I thought I knew what would happen next, the book surprised me yet no surprise was jarring – the twists and turns were seamless and inevitable. My one (minor) complaint was the *some* of the dialogue was a little wooden and not natural. It was a little too much Tate trying to tell us something through dialogue. However, this is a small glitch in an otherwise fully developed fantasy book. I look forward to the second book in the series.