An Assassin, a wizard, a half-breed, a brute warrior and a master-swordsman walk into a bar....
Are you waiting for a joke? Because you won't get one. This bar is in Chaste, a town infected by a malevolent force that preys on the townsfolk for years. Chaste was once a paradise - a town protected by the God Cor-lyn-ber and His religious leaders. But when these leaders -Cheryl's parents- died, Cor-lyn-ber abandoned both the city and its people, and Cheryl abandoned her faith and duties in return. But when the travelling warriors decide to face the evil that lurks on Chaste, Cheryl might be the only one who can help them.
"You ask me what a god is? Where did you hear this word? Ah yes, he is old and rotten and likes to speak of things foul and terrible. A god was a being beyond all others, primed and good, or dark and vile. There were many gods, from many different worlds. They looked down from the heavens, not so long ago, and understood what they had created. They know now what we are capable of. When they discovered the true nature of man, they fled for their lives. Gather around, for even in this I can give you a lesson. Sit now, while I talk of gods. See what you can learn from this tale. See what they were, and what has forsaken us all."
Let's start with a fact. Jesse is a talented storyteller. He's great with words, using straightforward yet compelling prose, expertly used and well-placed imagery, and an even pace with a rising tempo, resulting in a captivating and thrilling narrative. Both character-development and world-building are on point, with just the right amount of lore to keep them intriguing and mysterious.
Teller's only but significant problem lies on the plot structure, and most specifically on the purpose behind the actions of various characters, be it protagonists or villains alike (I would say antagonists instead of villains, but they are pretty much black and white in that case). Lots of torture scenes, murders, and other horrible situations without reason or justification.
All in all, Chaste was a nice and interesting read, and Jesse Teller is a talented author with the future on his hands, but he will need to spend more time on the whys and the hows in his future works. If Mestlven or Liefdom are more carefully planned than Chaste, then I won’t be surprised to see Teller on the final round of SPFBO 3.