Books,  Celebrate Lit

Banished Lands by Benjamin Mester

About the Book


Book Title: The Banished Lands, book one in The Banished Lands Series

Author: Benjamin Mester

Genre: Fantasy

Release date: May, 2015

Tour Dates: August 7 – 20

A kingdom in danger. A prophecy that will change everything. But will they understand it in time? The old world is gone, and barely even histories remain. But something from that time is returning. The closing lines of a farewell poem, written centuries ago by the last great king of the age to his slain wife, might be more than just a poem:

The world and all its light shall fade,

I’ll stay with her beneath the shade

And wait until the world’s remade…

Join us in this epic fantasy adventure as three friends plunge into the great mystery of their age, twelve centuries in the making. A mysterious fog blankets the forest just outside the sleepy town of Suriya. A dark plot unfolds as Durian and his friends discover ties between a strange wanderer and the warlike barbarian kingdom far to the north. Are the mysterious things happening in the forest a prelude to invasion? What happens next will propel Durian and his curious friends into the middle of the oldest riddle in the history of their kingdom, a dozen centuries old.

My Thoughts

Epic Fantasy … The first thing I think of when I think of epic fantasy is Tolkien. I have to admire anyone who is willing to step into those foot prints. Benjamin Mester has begun a great quest in the first of his Banished Lands series.

When I first tried to read The Hobbit, it was very difficult to get into. I quit before all the dwarves even got into Bilbo’s little hobbit house. (But I was MUCH younger, like 7th or 8th grade at the time.) My older brother taught me something that has stuck with me through the “thick and thin” of reading a book: The first chapters sometimes can be very boring. Just get through them and usually the book gets good. I have applied that rule many times. Another little lesson I’m learning about the start of a long story is from my husband. Oftentimes, when he starts a new videogame (like Zelda), if the game permits, he goes through and gathers all the tools and equipment that he needs (what he calls the boring part), and then he does the actual quests.  Banished Lands starts out a bit mundane, slow, lazy. I’m not insulting the author, because in his guest post for Celebrate Lit, he states that himself: “I love the idea of characters living normal, mundane lives….” Yet, he interjects enough mystery into the beginning, to get you thinking and wondering. Like my husband gathering his tools and equipment to play the quest, Benjamin Mester (and many other Epic Fantasy writers) gather the “cast”, the tools, the premise and the mystery in the beginning of the story, and then we move on to the quest, with the remainder of the mystery unfolding.

There were some cool and even disturbing elements in the natural environment, such as rock that pulls living things into itself and holds them captive, for good. And some people being gifted with the ability to speak to inanimate objects, like weapons, and have them do their bidding.

There were times it was slow, apart from the beginning. The traveling parts were a bit long and “draggy”. And the battle scenes were a bit too long for me (that’s just a “me” thing – no reflection on the writing). To be honest, even Tolkien had slow parts (counsel meetings and long history “lessons”).

This is a really nice start for an epic series.

DISCLAIMER:  I received this book as a gift.  The opinions I express are provided without obligation for a positive review. I receive no compensation for the review, other than a really good read.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Benjamin Mester is a novelist and poet. He fell in love with the written word and beauty of language at a young age, marvelling at the way a story can transport a person, enveloping their whole mind and heart as they dive into new places and grand adventures. A lover of nature, Mester has spent the whole of his adult life immersed in the study of poetry, often wandering the woodlands of northern Minnesota or the beaches of California.

If asked about his writing, he would say his overarching goal is to inspire people to live with greater passion, often quoting one of his favorite Proverbs, 14:8: The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways. How often do we stop to give thought to our ways, asking ourselves why we live the way we do? What does it mean to live to the full? How can I love more deeply? Mester hopes his writing will build a longing in his readers, that his stories inspire them to want more for their lives than the mediocrity of good enough we so often settle for.

Guest Post from Ben

I’ve always loved that enthralling feeling of adventure and mystery that comes when you dive into a brand new world. My greatest motivation for The Banished Lands was to create a world of rich lore and history, but not overburden the reader with backstory. In The Banished Lands series, we enter a fractured world with a forgotten history. But hints of it remain through a set of poems that speak of the old world and cryptic events which brought an end to that age.

I love the idea of characters living normal, mundane lives, suddenly thrust into an ancient struggle they didn’t even know was raging. I love the fantasy genre because it isn’t ashamed of the classic archetypes – the epic struggle of good and evil, heroics, and everything that often gets the label cliché. Using these archetypes in ways that haven’t been done before was my real motivation for writing The Banished Lands series. The way this series combines poetry, lore and mystery is something unique in the fantasy genre.

When writing this first book, I often sat back and wondered to myself, What would it be like to live in a world with a shrouded past? We often take modern life for granted – the whole wealth of human knowledge at our fingertips. But what would it be like to live in a world where the only history was cryptic poetry telling of a time when the world was a wildly different place? And what if, somehow, those ancient poems that no one really understands seem to be the only thing that really explains the dark things creeping forward from the fringes of the world? Welcome to The Banished Lands!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, August 2

Two Points of Interest, August 3

Blogging With CarolAugust 4

Mary Hake, August 4

Inklings and Notions, August 5

A Rup Life, August 6

proud to be an autism mom, August 7

Bibliophile Reviews, August 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 8

Janices book reviews, August 9

Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 10

Carpe Diem, August 11

A Baker’s Perspective, August 12

Books, Books, and More Books., August 13

Multifarious, August 14

Bigreadersite, August 14

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, August 15

The Mimosa Blossom, August 15


To celebrate his tour, Benjamin is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries! Click HERE to enter.

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