Speechless in Achten Tan


Worth reading 😎

Not an exceptional but still a wonderful fantasy novel with a dash of YA romance that makes perfect escapist sense for the genre lovers.

Mila, the name of this book's unexpected female hero, is the imperative of the verb that means "speak" in Greek. I don't know if Debbie Iancu was aware of this fact and consequently how deliberate her choice was. In any case the end result is the same: Mila makes perfect sense as a name for a young woman on a journey of self-discovery, as she strives to reclaim her voice and access her magic.


Her name is not the only seemingly minor, ostensibly skin-deep detail. There are others, with a fascinating, open to interpretation and possibilities, deeper meaning. Not least of them the fact that most of the young adults driving this story are gnomes. Extraordinary gnomes, unlike the cute for some, creepy for many, usually mischievous little creatures with the long pointy hat. No. Iancu's gnomes jump out of the paper as the most beautiful, literally glowing, benevolent beings in the land. A distinction that ties in perfectly with her goal to 'promote body-positive characters'.


Inclusivity may very well be another one of the author's goals, as each of her main characters (plus most of the rest) is an antihero. Remarkably so, in more than one way, that I won't analyse here as I don't want to spoil anyone's fun of discovery.


There are other wonders to be found in this world of glowing gnome witches, toxic masculine Bone Masters, tamed giant ants and turtles, homely or cursed (depending on who you ask) caverns, a dust metropolis built in the massive ribcage of an extinct leviathan, priceless phosphorescent algae, a powerful magical staff, pure-blooded snobbish elves, the ever lurking unborn, engendering friendships and great love stories. All of which full of promise to go the distance, to keep evolving in the two following books that will complete the trilogy of The Sands of Achten Tan.


Sure, nothing seriously unexpected happens, no matter the wonderful surprises here and there. True, the stakes on our heroes' lives are never high enough to make the suspense gripping. And, apart from the few exciting, unanswered questions that remain, the happy end of this first book is all but guaranteed early on.


Yet, if you are a fantasy fan, this novel will effortlessly take you by the hand and welcome you to its heart-warming world, allowing you to escape our reality that makes less and less sense by the day.

Reviewed by

I watch, I read, I write. Not necessarily in that order. I am a motion pictures fanatic, an avid book reader, an unabashed amateur photographer, an ever curious globe-trotter, an occasionally addicted video-gamer, a (pop) culture aficionado and socially conscious political animal.

Chapter 1– Across the Everfall

About the author

Debbie Iancu-Haddad, is the author of "Speechless in Achten Tan," a fantasy adventure with a big dollop of romance. She loves to join anthologies, write VSS on Twitter, and buy way too much stuff online. Her goal is to promote body-positive characters (#ownvoices) and taste all the chocolate. view profile

Published on February 22, 2022

Published by Skullgate Media

90000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Fantasy

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