I was thrilled when my friend Hunter Royall published his debut novel Unbalanced Scales, published by HCS Publishing and edited by HCS editor Nicole R. Ordway.
Unbalanced Scales is the first of a series of fantasy novels set in Royall’s RPG world, Be’uath. The book features adventures Eli, Gren, Simus, and Vargas. brought together to face the unknown as they try to find relics of the past. Nearly three thousand years ago Be’uath was abandoned by the Old Gods. The destruction that followed this abandonment lead to lesser gods filling in the gaps and taking stewardship of what remained. After three thousand years, the word began to heal and become something new.
As the adventurers face the odds and use their wit, strength, and wisdom to unlock the traps surrounding these relics; they learn more about themselves and each other. Royall has done an excellent job creating well-rounded and unique characters, each possessing their own strengths and their own weaknesses. As Lillian and Yamu join the adventure, Royall weaves a natural and realistic bond between both old and new members of the group, and masterfully uses this bond to guide the adventurers through some dangerous and mind-bending situations.
What I enjoyed most about Unbalanced Scales is how easily I became invested in the lives of the characters. There were moments when I was at the edge of my seat, willing a character to make it. Other moments are tender and sweet. Example: “He is a noble person,” Gren replied [regarding Eli]. “He has a past he cannot let go of, despite all he has done since to pay for the crimes he imagines he committed” (66). Royall brought me to tears when Simus the Bard encounters the dragon. A scene you don’t want to miss!
Royall also creates vivid pictures of his world with great attention to detail and excellent descriptions. The depictions of his world are not cumbersome and do not stop the action of the scenes. The world is created around these characters in a smooth and purposeful way. Example: “The courtyard was a bustle of energy and people. Merchants and antiquities dealers met and haggled with various gnomes dressed in the signature blue and teal of the Knotwood family. Every so often there would be a flash of light or a crackle of magical energy dissipating as one mage or another teleported in or out. The four stood in the middle of a swirling crowd, staring in a mixture of awe, fear, and incredulity, wondering what their next step would be when a young woman in robes emblazoned with the Knotwood crest approached them” (25).
If you like fantasy, you will enjoy Royall’s series. Keep an eye on his news feeds, too, as he is creating the RPG books for Be’uath. You don’t want to miss being a part of this author’s world! You can like his author page here: Hunter C. Royall.
Congratulations, Royall, on your debut novel! I know I am not the only one waiting for the next in the series!