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Top Tier (4 to 5 stars)

Against The Wind [Broken Leyweaver Cycle #1], by Darren Askins

4 out of 5 stars. A dystopian blend between high and dark fantasy that needs a while to get its hooks into the reader.

4 stars

A broken world that is no longer dying – because it’s already dead -, and the Memories are taking a look into the past to see how the world ended. I can’t decide if this is fantasy or fantasy packed into a bleak look into the future. Care to find out?

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The Memories are an ethereal race, living in a world that is barely inhabitable by anyone with a really physical body. They try to reverse the destruction of the world, but the problem is – they need to find out what event actually started the apocalypse. And with that, we are thrown back into a distant memory of the past, where we witness a fateful meeting between a slave, Duvont, and a wizard, Jaden. And the story changes its style into epic fantasy.

I guess Jaden arrived in Devoun’s life at precisely the moment he wanted to.

There is a great difference between Jaden and your typical wizard (say, for instance, Gandalf). Your typical wizard might be a little foreign to the everyday ways of the world, but Jaden is probably the most clumsy person I’ve ever met. The former slave (or half slave – it’s strange to decide what he exactly is) is practically forced to help that totally lost wizard. Or scholar, he doesn’t like the term wizard, apparently.

What follows is kind of a Fantasy road trip, but with a bleak perspective because we already know that the world is doomed to fail, and even the ethereal race of the memories are at the brink of their existence. That story about Jaden and Duvont is told as a kind of flashback one of the memories is playing back, on the search for the final reason of the world’s destruction – where it tries to find a glimpse of hope for the future.

I have the feeling that the memories are a bunch of technology advanced people, but their life comes from bonds with the bones of dead races. And even in the flashbacks, there are reminiscent stories about other dead races that came before Jaden and Duvont. So all in all – a rich world, full of mysteries. I would classify that as dark fantasy, even though parts of it feel like high fantasy. You have to take your knowledge about the world’s fair into context to turn it dark.

The world only appears black and white. The things that matter happen in-between.

In true dark fantasy fashion, there are a lot of shades of gray – in people’s motivations, in the state of the world, and in the goals of the powers that be. It you like your heroes bold and dashing and paragons of virtue, than this story is not for you.


I’ve quite enjoyed this trip to the end of the world, and as you might have imagined, the end is just the start of the journey. There’s more to come in following novels, and the Broken Leyweaver Cycle seems to be a series worth watching out for.

4 out of 5 stars. This story needs a while to get into, but after the initial confusion, it’s more than worth the read.

Disclaimer: I’ve received a free Advanced Reader’s Copy and am leaving this review voluntarily.

3 replies on “Against The Wind [Broken Leyweaver Cycle #1], by Darren Askins”

That it did, Darren, and I have to admit I’ll be on the lookout for the next in series – I want to know where we go from here!

Any chance you could give us a hint there? 😁

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Of course! Book 2 of the Broken Leyweaver Cycle, “Bathed in Flames,” is currently approaching the final phases of editing. Although, the original plan was to release it this year, I’m finding it more realistic to aim for an early 2024 release window.

There will be more to come for the Otherverse in the meantime though. If you or your readers want to stay up-to-date, my newsletter is always the best way to find my upcoming releases (along with a free novella, to boot): signup.darrenaskins.com

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