Spit and Song

Spit and Song (Ustlian Tales #2)Spit and Song by Travis M. Riddle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Spit and Song book two of the Ustlian Tales is a wonderful slice of life fantasy that is a nice change of pace from my normal reads. I usually don’t like the slice of life category but there is something about the way Travis writes that keeps me going. His characters leap off the page and make you really care about them.

The book centers around Kali and Puk. Kali is a Faif a person with multi-color skin and bright red hair, Puk on the other hand is a small being with blue damp skin and eyes like a snail. Kali is a travelling merchant crossing the desert to small towns selling her goods, be it potions or instruments. Puk is a travelling singer in a troupe, until he gets to high to perform and is kicked out and left in Seroo,s Eye. The town got its name for being built inside an Aeons skull right under the eye socket. They meet at her parent’s inn, and during a trip to a drug den, Puk overhears about a job to recover a book for a lot of money so he talks to Kali. They agree to do it and split the money, so they can both achieve their goal of getting across the ocean to Atlua.

This book started slower, but with reason. The author used the time to really develop characters that were very realistic. Kali is full of dreams for being a merchant that can bring goods from across the sea, from Atlua, to a wider market. Puk only has dreams of his next high, being an addict to firespit, and getting home to Atlua. This common goal of getting to Atlua is what brings the two together for the job.

I really enjoyed the interactions between the two main characters. Puk at first takes advantage of her being naïve, but slowly changes away from that as he spends more time with her. Kali being so naïve trusts a drug addict and learns quickly from her mistakes. I enjoyed how the characters changed because of what happened and more so of each other.

There is a magic in the way Travis tells a story, I noticed it when I read Balam, Spring. He can build characters and social interactions that will keep you hanging on, like you are a fly on the wall watching everything that happens. I was so invested in the characters I hated for the book to end.
This was a great read and I am looking forward to anything else Travis puts out for us to read.


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