This fantasy novel is a story cycle with a mystery. The action takes place in a world that resembles our own in many ways. Nazarian titles each of her chapters "Dreams" and like dreams, the narrative changes point of view. The narrative involving the central characters changes from first person to third person providing insights into various characters from the various points of view. I was reminded of another recent book, David Brin's "Kiln People" in which Brin's characters can make copies of themselves, so that the reader is provided with different perspectives of the same scene, and, at the same time perspectives of the same time from different places, by the same character.
Nazarian's rich imagery created for me a world of vast beauty, and the disappearance of the beauty of the world; and characters? longing for what was lost. There is a society based on justice, mercy, and compassion, that has become corrupted. I was reminded a bit of Stephan R. Donaldson Thomas Covenant series in which The Land is described as something that once so beautiful, but has been despoiled by Lord Foul, in his first novel of the series Lord Foul's Bane.
There are people possessed with magical abilities, but magic in Nazarian's world is subtle, and unlike in Rowling's world of Harry Potter, tends to be internalized. Nazarian's has a gift for page-turning dialog, and realizes her characters in a way that lets us know these are real people, torn by internal struggle and extraordinary external forces. These are people who react to circumstances in ways we know and ways that are surprising, like we know in life. For example, we get to know Nadir first as a young child who survived the desert. From a peripheral character, we see him again as a young man, touched by magic, and then, grown up intensely loyal, honest, and strong. Can he save the woman he thinks hates him? Should he? So why does he protect her? And yet, this book is not about Nadir.
Nazarian created a world I hope to read more stories from. It is a place of mythology and wonder, struggle and passion. It is a world of lands beyond the oceans, searing deserts, mist-filled mountains to the east, and a 1000-moon night. There are more stories waiting to be told.
By the last chapter, I felt that pang of regret knowing I was at the end. I didn't want it to end already. I look forward to reading more of Nazarian's work.