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The Emperor’s Harvest (formerly Refugees) by R .A. Denny


4 Stars


Date of publication: April 9th, 2017

Genre: Fantasy

Number of pages: 288

POV: Alternating 1st and 3rd person

Series: Mud, Rocks, and Trees

Refugees – Book 1

Where you can find Refugees: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Book Synopsis (from Goodreads):

I love to listen to Baskrod’s stories. He describes warlike men with natural armor who hibernate in rocky caves and peaceful people who soar through the air in a forest of giant trees. His tales are full of foreboding dreams and ancient prophecies; royal palaces and strange creatures. My brother laughs at me. He says that the old fisherman makes it all up. But everything Baskrod has ever predicted has come true. So I have always believed his stories.


Baskrod appears to have gone mad. He claims that the emperor is sending a murderous horde of evil men to destroy our village. “They will drink your blood!” he yells, wide-eyed while standing in the marketplace waving his trident. He repeatedly begs me to escape with him. But it is harvest time, and I must stay to help my family in the fields. Anyway, the emperor has no reason to turn against us. We pay our tribute.

If only we had listened to Baskrod.

The emperor planned his own harvest. His reapers were ax-wielding horsemen. And they were not harvesting crops. They harvested my people.

Now I am the sole survivor from my village. Baskrod claims that the one God has chosen me. He says I must travel to the distant capital of Tzoladia to save the world. Maybe Baskrod is right. Maybe it is my destiny. But I’m nobody. How can I save the world?

Trigger Warning: None

  My review:

Refugees took me by surprise. I was not expecting to like it as much as I did. This is one of those cases where the blurb, while good, does the book no justice. That is because the book is so much better than what the blurb. So much better. When a book is better than the blurb than you know you have a keeper.

What also caught my interest is that the POV of each character was labeled at the beginning of each chapter. Also, there was no jumping back and forth between characters in the chapters, which I cannot stand. So, when I realized that you could tell how was talking by the name at the beginning of the chapter, I was thrilled. I have read a few multi pov books where I couldn’t tell who it was until well into the chapter. So, I was a huge fan when I saw the author did that.

Refugees starts with a young Webbie named Amanki. What is a Webbie you ask? Well, it is a human with webbed feet like a duck. Amanki is different from other Webbies. He has become friends with Baskrod, an old fisherman. Baskrod shows up at the village one day, very upset and trying to get the Webbies to leave. He says that there is going to be a massacre at the village. Amanki’s mother forbids him to associate with Baskrod. She brushed off his warnings as an insane person. That is until the massacre happens. Amanki escapes the massacre. In the confusion, Baskrod is injured. When Amanki shows up at a random villager’s house with Baskrod, more questions are left unanswered. Amanki gets them to safety but finds that there are more questions than answers.

Brina is the next character that is introduced in Refugees. She is a Glider. A Glider is a person who has an extra flap of skin that extends from the elbow to ankle. That extra skin allows them to glide from tree to tree. Think of a sugar glider or a flying squirrel and you get what a Gilder is. Baskrod has also been to the hidden Glider city. He has taught Brina the different languages of the world. But, unlike Amanki, Brina is aware of what she has to do when she sees the star. But things do not go her way. Instead of heading straight to Tzoldia, person, she has been banished to a sister colony. Partly the reason for the banishment is the death of her friend Kala and the capture of a cat rider named Metlan. Brina is the only one who can speak his language and seeing that he is being banished to the colony, she is to go with him. Which is not what she expected and she is hurt by it. She has questions that only Baskrod will be able to answer but he isn’t there and she is on her own.

Moshoi is the last of the major plotline introduced in Refugees. Moshoi is an Armored. The best way to describe an Armored is that they are like armadillos. They have plate-like scales on their backs, head and that grow on their face as beards. Moshoi was awoken from his hibernation by his brother Tuka when he spotted the star in the sky. Moshoi is sent to Tzoldia by Rhabdom, a wise man who lives near Moshoi’s tribe. He is to meet up with Amanki in Tzoldia and deliver a jug to him. Getting out of his village is a big deal. But Moshoi and Tuka set off on their journey Tzoldia. But their journey started off on a bad note, with Moshoi and Tuka’s father being not very happy about them going. It gets dangerous when they seek passage through a neighboring tribe’s tunnels.

Metlan was not a major character in Refugees. But because of what happened in Brina’s plotline, he is featured a lot. Metlan is a cat rider. While he is human, he looks more like a lion and he has an almost psychic connection with Pergassi, his lioness. He is the Prince of the Samalitan Tribes. He was out on a patrol to show his father what he could do when he was captured by the Gliders. I couldn’t figure out if his being captured was on purpose or accident. The way he lied to Brina and the brief glimpses I got into his character made me wonder what exactly his deal was. I do think that he will be a big part of the next books. But I do wonder if he will help or hinder Brina’s journey.

I loved that the author included a glossary at the end of Refugees. It helped me when I got confused about characters or their relationships to each other. And the maps were a huge help also. I could picture the areas in my head, the maps helped me picture the distances between lands and cities.

Refugees is a great fantasy book. It left no questions in my mind about who the main characters were and who the bad guys were. Also, it left no questions what the main characters were supposed to do when they meet up together. I do wish that more info was given about the end quest. But, saying that, I actually liked that the author held back about the end quest. It has made me want to pick up book 2 and read it. Just to get more information!!!

The end of the book was a bit of a cliffhanger. A bit of one that makes you want to grab the next book and start reading.

Refugees is one of the fantasy books that will keep you immersed in the story. You will want to grab book 2 and start reading when you are done, this book is that good. This is a book that I would recommend to everyone!!

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Late Teen

Why: No sex (actually very clean in that sense) and no language. But there is violence.

I would like to thank R.A. Denny for allowing me to read and review Refugees

All opinions stated in this review of Refugees are mine

I received no compensation for this review

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

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