Reviews - Down Among The Yla

Here are some reviews of Down Among The Yla. Once again, I've linked to the actual reviews where they were originally published. These reviews came from before I transitioned and so refer to my old name.

Down Among The Yla

Having previously read Stephen Mellor's first novel, The Long Sleep, I was very much looking forward to the release of his newest work. Thematically, the two books couldn't be more different: while The Long Sleep was a gritty sci-fi / noir crime mash-up that blended the best of both genres, Down Among the Yla is a straight-up fantasy novel.

Although I'm not the biggest fantasy fan around, this novel eschews most of the tried and tested sword 'n' sorcery conventions in favour of building an original and intriguing world. No dwarves, elves, dragons or robed mages here; instead we have two races in opposition: the humans and the underground-dwelling Yla. An assassination attempt in the prologue sets the scene for the simmering distrust between the races, which doesn't take long to boil over into outright conflict.

As in Mellor's previous novel, the writing displays a versatile touch. The action scenes (and there are plenty of them) are vivid and exciting, while still allowing the characters time for moments of introspection and interaction. There are some nice mystery elements in there, too: what is the true nature of the wondrous Soul Lights and, perhaps more significantly, what is the secret behind the golem-like clay giants that the Yla send to rain destruction on the besieged outposts of man?

Overall, this is a short but satisfying fantasy novel with believable, nuanced characters and a richly layered plot. Highly recommended, especially for readers looking for something a bit different to the usual fantasy fare.

Fun, engaging epic fantasy

Down Among the Yla is a new fantasy novel by an author whose science-fiction work I have previously enjoyed, so I was excited to get a chance to read his venture into the fantasy genre.

Though I'm not a raving fan of the "epic-quest" fantasy much these days, Down Among the Yla ranks highly in the indie fantasy books that I've read. The exploration of Yla society was genuinely engaging, and the mysteries intriguing. Though I was skeptical at times that the author could bring a sprawling story like this to a satisfactory conclusion, he does so, and with aplomb.

Editing issues were rare; the occasional typo popped up, but overall the (pre-release) edition I read was clean. I can only assume that this carried over into the final edition.

Down Among the Yla is a fun, engaging epic fantasy with a unique mythology, strange monsters and interesting characters. What more can you ask for?

A Great Read

What starts out with an assassination attempt soon becomes a story of friendship, betrayal, and mystery. Mr. Mellor has created a new and interesting race with the Yla who live underground away from the humans they shun. Vivian enters the city as an ambassador and soon becomes griends with the ruler's daughter. Soon everything goes awry. Interestin tale with twists and turns that kept me riveted. Looking forward to more of his work.