Book Reviews

Tapestry by Hallie Burton at Harmony Ink Press

Genre Gay / Fantasy / Young Adult / Romance / Action/Adventure
Reviewed by Jamie Deacon on 10-June-2013

Book Blurb

In Ollas, anything that stirs the emotions is forbidden by the governors—especially music. So when Tallie Tarmelin, a farm boy from a lower-tier guild, is offered a scholarship for his talent in design, he keeps his head down and follows the rules. He's terrified of breaking one of his society’s many laws and ruining his future. But feeling lost and alone in an unfamiliar city takes its toll, and Tallie accepts sympathy from a guildless social outcast even though he knows it could destroy his reputation.

Despite the rules against casual touching and fraternizing in public, Jonis Sinter offers Tallie comfort instead of denouncing him for an excessive emotional display, and they fast become friends. Secret friends, though, because Worran, the respectable son of a governor, has asked Tallie to be his partner.

When Worran’s mother learns of Tallie’s association with an outcast, she dispatches the militia. Worran sends Tallie a warning, and Tallie flees the city and civilization with Jonis. Surviving the wilds will take every ounce of perseverance they can muster, and the rediscovery of music might be their only solace— unless they recognize the love that's growing between them.

Book Review

Imagine a world where to express emotion is strictly forbidden. No laughter. No friends embracing in the street. Not even a mother comforting her crying baby. This is the reality for the citizens of Ollas in Hallie Burton’s highly original debut novel. Following years of unrest, the governors have outlawed any pastime capable of evoking strong feelings, particularly music. If the population is kept subdued, they argue, it will prevent further conflict. Yes, it means sacrificing people’s creativity, their natural capacity for love, but they believe this to be a price worth paying for peace and stability.

Things are going well for Tallie. The inhabitants of Ollas rarely move beyond the social tier into which they are born, so for a farm boy to be offered a scholarship to a higher-guild profession and have the chance to develop his talent for design is a dream beyond his wildest imaginings. Still more incredible, Worran—handsome, charming, and the respectable son of a governor—has asked Tallie to be his partner. Yet, despite his fear of breaking any of the country’s many laws, Tallie has a secret. He is conducting an illicit friendship with a guildless boy called Jonis, a friendship which, if discovered, would jeopardize his whole future.

When Worran’s mother hears of Tallie’s association with a commoner, she immediately sends the militia to dispose of Jonis. Afraid Tallie too might be in danger, Worran risks his reputation to help him and Jonis flee the city. With no one but each other, living hand-to-mouth off the land and freed from the constraints of the law, Tallie and Jonas gradually uncover what the governors have tried to deny them—the joy of making music, and the pleasure that comes from both physical and emotional intimacy with a lover. But it isn’t enough for Tallie simply to be happy. He wants to spread the news of their discoveries throughout the land, even if it means bringing the governors’ wrath down on their heads.

Powerful and full of warmth, this is a story about a nation coming alive again after decades of oppression. I found Tallie and Jonis’s developing relationship as they overcome the inhibitions forced upon them by society and learn what it is to be truly close to another person, immensely touching. Most of all, I loved the spiritual element to the novel, the concept that we’re all one with the universe and, when we die, our souls become part of everything around us.

If you’re seeking a young adult fantasy written in a gentle style and with plenty of romance and adventure thrown in, you may well enjoy this book.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by harmony Ink Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 276 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 15-March-2013
Price $6.99 ebook, $16.99 paperback, $16.99 bundle
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