Hatched from an egg but unable to shift into dragon form, Jathen is a Moot among the Tazu. His rightful throne is forbidden him because of his transformative handicap, and neither his culture nor his religion offer acceptance of his perceived flaws.
Driven by wounded anger, Jathen strikes out across the vast world beyond Tazu borders, desperate to find a place where he feels accepted and whole. Though he travels with the most trusted of companions, sabotage and conspiracy soon strike his quest. Jathen and his allies must struggle against man and magic alike, at the mercy of forces beyond their ken.
As Jathen presses on, his questions of belonging are surrounded by more of identity, loyalty, and betrayal. Where will the path of his destiny lead, and will he follow or fall?
*May Contain Spoilers*
J. Leigh creates a new world with her novel, Way Walkers: Tangled Paths. A world with Clan Vampires, Tazu dragons, and Charm Masters. A world where before birth, a life contract is signed that describes what path life will take.
Jathen, the main character, is the heir of the Tazu Nation. When he's born a moot, with no ability to change into his true Tazu form, he is shunned. With a new baby brother, Jathen is given the chance to travel the world and decide if he'll fight for his rightful place as King or pass it to the younger prince.
Jathen is a constantly evolving character. The entire novel covers the time span of about a year. In the beginning of the book, he is angry, unsure of himself, and overall miserable. The other members of the Kingdom treat him badly and because of that he is cynical and unable to cultivate his intelligence or ability. Readers will form a connection with him based on his under-dog situation. When Jathen decides to travel with a charm master, Hatori Chann, a world of possibilities open up to him. He forms friendships for the first time and is given the chance to be happy. Though traveling is strenuous and lonely, Jathen sees the world has more to offer than his home kingdom ever did.
Throughout the course of the trip, Jathen is confronted with both happy and dire situations which allow him to grow. Readers watch as he gains confidence and encounters love, betrayal, and death of loved ones for the first time. Jathen reacts as a ruler should, revealing his natural ability to survive. As the world stacks up against Jathen, the bond between him and the reader will steadily strengthen.
Leigh's plot of this novel is incredibly intricate and complicated. At times, it can become confusing for the reader with so much detail and description. Jathen's journey began as one of self-discovery, but slowly it shifts to one of secrets, war, and destiny. When Jathen uncovers a devious plot to find a Great Artifact, lost for hundreds of years, he contemplates what it would mean to the world if it would fall into the wrong hands: chaos, destruction, death. Thus he is thrust onto a path fate has planned for him, promising more adventure and adversity.
Rating: 3/5 Cups