Length of Days: Book Excellence – January 27, 2023

Length of Days by Rohret Buchner is Book 1 in the Shalemar Series, an epic adventure series that blends past and present-day times to create an unforgettable story that will stay with you forever.

The opening to the book pulled me in immediately and the compelling and utterly irresistible storytelling quickly drew me firmly into Shara’s world. Buchner builds a vivid, immersive world centered around an easy-to-root-for protagonist, who is assertive and tenacious. The prose is striking, with a blend of rich, evocative descriptions that feel reminiscent of epic fantasy classics, but that is also clean and contemporary, resulting in both a cozy and refreshing read. The chosen-one trope is a staple in fantasy and is sure to delight fantasy fans. The adventure is peppered with wit, laced with love and filled with action.

Length of Days is a rich and stirring tale with an ending that will leave you both satisfied and eager to read the next instalment.

Length of Days: Kirkus Reviews – November 10, 2022

A college student falls into a crevasse in Antarctica and discovers a civilization that believes that she’s the answer to a prophecy in this fantasy-series starter.

One day, 20-year-old Shara Kennington awakens in an ice cavern below the Antarctic Circle. She’s on a research team, led by her father, studying climate change. She remembers falling into a crevasse and that her dad did, too, but she doesn’t see his body anywhere. She summons the energy to explore her surroundings, but all goes black again after she arrives in a beautiful pastoral area. She next awakens in a castle as a captive of the kingdom of Shalemar, which is in the middle of a revolution. She’s rescued by Prince Joffrey, who’s fighting against his father, Shalemar’s king. Shalemar formed in the 1500s when a ship full of British pirates, led by a son of King Henry VII, discovered this amazing terrain under the ice. Joffrey, who becomes king after his father’s suicide, must wed immediately and quickly produce an heir. Despite culture clashes, Joffrey and Shara are drawn to each other and marry. Traveling the kingdom, Shara learns about a prophecy that a red-haired woman will become Shalemar’s warrior queen; many are sure it’s her. Joffrey, who’s less certain, lets her attend his meetings with his circle of male advisors. She also participates in a battle in which Joffrey’s forces push an enemy group into retreat and helps the team to build high-tech aircraft. But pressure builds for Shara to get pregnant, as Malina, the enemy leader’s daughter, schemes to get Joffrey—and power—for herself.

This novel is an entertaining mashup of the King Arthur and Atlantis myths with some steampunk-type flavor thrown in; there’s no modern military aircraft until Shara comes along, but a special water tank is used to heal Shara. As often is the case in series-launch books, the detailing of the various players can get a bit excessive. Some of the Circle members, for example, figure little in this novel, but they may play larger parts in future books. Some readers may also be taken aback by some of this novel’s violence, as when Shara is tortured by Malina’s goons, although this also serves to underscore issues of misogyny that the book raises. The romance between Shara and Joffrey has lovely moments, as when he repeats his vows of love. The geography and climate of Shalemar is also artfully rendered, complete with a Turquoise Sea (“When it was still, the Turquoise Sea reflected the sun on the mountains, seeming to double their voluminous peaks”) and a calendar of festivals marking this world’s progress from days of nonstop sunshine to days of complete darkness. It comes as a bit of a shock at the end of the novel that one major player is termed “incidental” and an unanticipated new setting emerges. Ultimately, though, this saga’s elements of surprise and lingering questions will whet one’s appetite for the next installment.

An enjoyable vision of a fascinating world with an intriguing landing.

Poetry of Days: Reviewed By Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite – October 4, 2018

Poetry of Days is the second installment in the Shalemar series by Rohret Buchner, an epic fantasy that follows Shara Kennington, separated from her land and her people by powerful forces of evil. Now it’s time to face her fears and choose between her safety and her people. She sets out on a gritty odyssey with members of The Circle, and the mysterious sword, Milton. The quest is for the hidden depths of the world beneath the Antarctic. Does she have what it takes to fulfill a prophecy they have awaited for 500 years?

Rohret Buchner is not afraid of conjuring up exciting worlds, but what makes the writing beautiful is the author’s ability to allow echoes of this world to reverberate in the hearts of the characters. The backstory is well balanced with the intense action that accompanies the rhythm of the tale. The beginning already grips the reader: “Seneca King gazed into the lens of the camera. It was a remote stare, filled with sadness and longing. It spoke of other times and other places, of lost loves and lost horizons ringed with fire. It spoke of a hidden world where the sun rose and set only once each year. Shalemar.”

The lyricism of the prose is delightful to the ear, language that is filled with symbolism, and a world where danger lurks around the next corner. But there is hope: “Life would find a way, rising through magma, feldspar, and molten glass. Life would find a way.” The reader is intrigued and wants to know what will happen to the protagonist. Poetry of Days is brilliantly accomplished, with great imagination accompanied by skillful execution. I couldn’t put it down, gripped by the cinematic nature of the writing, the exquisite beauty of the prose, and the sophistication in plot and character; it carried me through the night.

Length of Days: Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers’ Favorite – July 18, 2017

Length of Days is book one in the Shalemar Trilogy, a fantasy by Rohret Buchner. While participating on a research trip, Shara Kennington plunges through the ice into Shalemar, another realm hidden beneath Antarctica. The Shalemarans believe she is the goddess predicted in a 500-year-old prophecy who has returned. Shara weds King Joff and attempts to incorporate her New World beliefs and technology into Shalemar’s semi-primitive way of life.

Not everyone adapts to these changes and most citizens believe a woman’s place is in the home. Lady Malina, who assumed she would have been queen, doesn’t take rejection lightly and creates a vengeful campaign that not only divides the nation, but also tests the royal marriage.

This beautifully written novel by Rohret Buchner is about brave, strong minded Shara, who adjusts to her dilemma, knowing she’ll never see her own world again. It’s a very captivating, adventurous story that emits lovely, vivid descriptions of the surroundings where the sun rises and sets once per year, unforgettable characters, and the comparisons of technology between old and new worlds. The latter is interesting as this involves a lot of pros and cons discussions among characters.

Romance plays an active role among the cast of characters and there is humour and engaging dialogue. Length of Days is the first novel in the Shalemar Trilogy, consisting of about 525 pages but is well worth reading. The outcome of Shara’s fate isn’t mentioned in the unpredictable conclusion, but continues in Poetry of Days, Book 2, which I look forward to reading.