The Unremembered (Author’s Definitive Edition) – Peter Orullian

About the Book

Peter Orullian’s epic fantasy debut, The Unremembered, has been critically acclaimed, earning starred reviews and glowing praise. And as much as readers enjoyed the first edition of The Unremembered, it’s about to get even better. In anticipation of the second volume in Orullian’s epic series, and for one of the few times in our publishing history, we at Tor are choosing to relaunch a title with an author’s definitive edition.

In addition to stunning updates to the original text, we’re also including an exclusive short story set in the world of Vault of Heaven, as well as a sneak preview of the sequel, Trial of Intentions, and a glossary to the universe.

The gods, who created this world have abandoned it. In their mercy, however, they sealed the rogue god—and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortal king—in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. The magical Veil that protected humankind for millennia has become weak, and creatures of nightmare have now come through. Those who stand against evil know that only drastic measures will prevent a devastating invasion.

Tahn Junell is a hunter who’s unaware of the dark forces that imperil his world, in much the same way his youth is lost to memory. But an imperious man who wears the sigil of the feared Order of Sheason and a beautiful woman of the legendary Far have shared with Than the danger. They’ve asked him, his sister, and his friends to embark with them on a journey that will change their lives… and the world… forever. And in the process, he’ remember….

478 pages (paperback)
Published in April 7, 2015
Published by Tor
Author’s webpage
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This book was sent for me to review by the publisher.

It is an interesting thing to review a book written by someone who is a friend of mine. It gives me new insights into what they wrote, and all of the underlying emotions and themes in it that I might not have seen before. The Unremembered is no different. Peter Orullian is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and I try to meet up with him whenever he hits Utah. He nicely tolerates me. However, these get-togethers have given me unique insights into who he is, which, in turn, has impacted how I understand and appreciate what he writes.

I read the first edition of The Unremembered, but I’m going to tell you in complete honesty that I don’t remember it. I read it during a really horrible period of my life and I don’t remember anything I read during that time. It’s not a reflection of the author or his book, but a reflection of my mental state. I’m saying that to say that we can all consider this my first time reading his book. I won’t make comparisons to the other edition.

There is something to be said for epic fantasy that reminds me of the books that first got me to love epic fantasy. There is so much about epic fantasy books that I love – the quest, the relationships, the sprawling world, and sense of discovery. In this day and age, so many authors put so much effort into making their epic fantasy new and different, and I truly appreciate that (because I love it). I also really appreciate the authors who remind me of what made me love the genre in the first place, and make their book different in, well, different ways.

The Unremembered is kind of like a trip down memory lane, but not in a bad way. There are some similar notes to other popular epic fantasy books, like the quest, the group of chosen people thrust into something they don’t understand, the sprawling world and sense of discovery. Yes, it might remind you of other books you’ve read and loved, but that isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes it’s good to get back to your genre roots.

However, that’s not all that’s here. Orullian has truly crafted something completely different, and the fact that he’s built it on epic fantasy roots that so many of us have loved for so long will make this book all the more poignant. In fact, I’m quite surprised by just how my Orullian has packed into The Unremembered. There’s all the things I love about the genre, and so much more.

There are a surprising number of narrative threads woven throughout the book. Inevitably some readers will like some characters more than others. While on the surface motivations and moral objectives might seem fairly obvious, as the novel gets going things get a lot more complex and the obvious gets twisted into the unexpected. For example, Tahn isn’t the simple country boy that you are introduced to. Wendra isn’t the heartbroken woman she appears.

That’s part of what The Unremembered excels at. It’s unexpected, from the plot to the world building to the character development. There is a surprising amount of growth and development that takes place in this novel. The fairly typical, rather innocent seeming characters we are introduced to are not the same characters we say goodbye to when the book ends. Complex relationships are forged, and uncomfortable situations force people to move and bend in ways that you won’t expect, and often they leave scars that will probably be felt throughout the rest of the series. In many ways The Unremembered is a coming of age tale as much as anything else, and Orullian handles that really well, with subtlety, depth, and a soft touch.

The plot is full of action, but not all of the action is on the surface. So much of this novel takes place within as character fight their own inner and interpersonal battles. There is a struggle that takes place with all of the characters as they try to let go of who they were and become who they are meant to be. That struggle is just as captivating as their physical journeys and the battles they face. If you are looking at physical and internal plights, The Unremembered rarely has a dull moment.

There’s something intensely personal about these struggles, perhaps because of how human Orullian’s characters are, their plights and the drama of the novel sucks readers in. The anxiety, worry, fear, and love, and the other emotions are powerful, and raw, which makes everything seem so real and important for readers. Are there predictable points? Of course, but not everything needs to be unpredictable to be remarkable. There is beauty and enjoyment to be found in novels that feel this human and real.

As far as world building, I’m a sucker for the details and Orullian has those details in spades. There are cultural clashes, complex beliefs, histories, and mysteries. The world shines, and the intricacies and details are rich and add a rich layer to the plot and characters that really makes the book shine. The characters cover quite a bit of ground, and there’s promise that even more cultures and world will be covered in future novels, which has me really excited. The sense of wonder and discovery, and Orullian’s obvious enthusiasm for what he wrote never dies.

There is a lot of Orullian in this novel, and picking out all the parts that remind me of the author was a lot of fun. Orullian is a musician, and so much of this novel focuses on music. Life lessons are imparted to characters in the form of songs and music lessons, some of the plot is complex and layered, which reminded me a bit of a song where you have the treble and then the bass. Furthermore, this musical feel to the book is reflected in the tempo with which he tells the story. There are crescendos, decrescendos, a distinct introduction, and the middle where you’re just lost in the power of the song, and then the solid, formidable ending.

The Unremembered is the start of a series. This is an introduction and a foundation for what comes next. While it did remind me of some of the books that have come before, that’s not a bad thing. There is a grace to The Unremembered that I didn’t expect, and a musical quality to the story being told that absolutely enamored me. The world is rich and complex, and the characters are real and vibrantly human in their thoughts, actions and emotions. And while The Unremembered reminded me of all the reasons I fell in love with epic fantasy, this novel is unique and powerful in only a way that Peter Orullian can pull off.

In a lot of ways, The Unremembered is Orullian’s love letter to epic fantasy. His enthusiasm and passion for the genre is obvious and infectious.

I cannot wait to see what happens next.


4/5 stars

3 Responses

  • Wow, I wish I had read the original version when it fist came out. I would’ve loved to notice the updates and seen just how much of difference between the two there are. They must make a fairly big impact of the series for Tor to release a whole new version of the book.

  • I read the original way back when, and have this copy on pre-order. I am really excited to read it (for the extras) and get up to speed for book two 🙂

  • I got a review copy of this one but haven’t read it yet, which kind of surprises me seeing how much booklust I felt the first time it came out and I saw everyone else singing its praises. Fortunately April’s going to be a decently relaxed month for me when it comes to blog obligations, so I should have the time to fit it into my schedule then.

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