For the first time in her life, Roxan has a home of her very own. Safety. Control of her own space. Yet trouble isn’t far behind her. A shadowy figure threatens her from the window. Her new boss seems bent on punishing her. When a peddler offers her answers for the relentless persecution, she reluctantly agrees to follow him to a forbidden area. The journey jolts free memories which have been trapped in Roxan’s mind, but she wants nothing to do with the promises or responsibilities the memories would bring. She only wants her normal life back.
Abiga’s never had normalcy. As an outcast child left to die in the wilderness, she grew up doing what she must in order to survive. Sometimes she did terrible things. Maybe that’s why the Leader hasn’t given her a gift. Maybe he doesn’t want her. It’s clear he does want Roxan, though, the strange girl with a gift more powerful than even she can imagine.
With the gentle guidance of Altrist, the group of believers seek the freedom of a life away from Hyperion’s crushing rule. When the dark ruler sets his sights on destroying Altrist and his friends, hope seems weak and far. Only with the help of the Leader and the powerful gifts he gives can they escape.
The fantasy world quickly sucks readers into a story peppered with off-beat, interesting characters. Once or twice characters made small decisions that seemed out of place, but on the whole, they were consistent. Sometimes stories which strive for this allegorical tone quickly turn cheesy or become awkward in the attempt to preserve parallels with the source story. Through the Balustrade steered clear of that pitfall and kept the familiar themes feeling fresh through its detailed setting and complex relationships between characters. Dahl proves herself a wonderful storyteller, definitely an author to watch.
Some characters follow a Leader, an unnamed being who gives gifts and aid to his followers and promises to lead them into freedom away from Hyperion’s tyranny.
Battle scenes show characters fighting to the death. No gory details given.