Unquiet Land is the fourth book in Sharon Shin’s Elemental Blessings books. The books are each self-contained stories, so you could probably start anywhere in the series. However, if you do that you are going to be spoiled for events in previous books as they books do come in chronological order and characters from previous books appear in each successive novel. So, I really enjoy this series. It’s not great, it’s not complicated, but it is like a warm sweater you can snuggle down in when the world is just crap. They are perfect little nuggets of escapism, and I love that about them.
In this book, Leah Frothen is returning home after five years spying in a foreign country. The ruler of her home quickly pulls her into a new assignment, essentially using the skills she learned as a shop keeper/spy to learn about people here on a diplomatic mission. She also takes this time to get closer to the daughter she gave up when she left, but would now like back in her life.
There is nothing ground breaking about this story. Most of the plot elements can be spotted from miles away. But it’s fine, because the world building is lovely and real, and the characters are familiar and pleasant to be around. One thing I do find a little amusing, I went from thinking this world was a bronze age fantasy world in the very first book to realizing they’re more in the early industrial age in this book. It’s kind of an odd jump, but you know, I’m willing to go with it. Because, like I said, it’s comfortable.
It’s a great, uncomplicated, comforting kind of book. If Shinn writes another book in this series, I’ll definitely pick it up and I’m slowly making my way through the rest of Shinn’s catalogue. If you’re a fantasy reader, yea you’ll probably enjoy these, especially if you’re looking for an escape from the grimdarkawfulbadsomanyevilthings that has been plaguing the adult (epic) fantasy realm for the past couple of years.