My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement. Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers. Continue on at your own risk!
My husband and I share a Kindle account, and although he reads fantasy (like me), we often times don’t read the same books. He must have purchased this in the past, as I got an email from Amazon that there were some modifications to the book (spelling, grammer, etc.) and that it was available to be re-downloaded. Always willing to give a chance to a free (to me) book, I downloaded it and here’s what I thought…
First, we start out in a modern world (with satellites and automatic weapons, etc.) where they rescue a mysterious man, that was pulled out of the water. We then move to a more ancient world for the rest of the book. (Story line #1 that remains unfinished). Here we are introduced to a secret island in the ocean (with walls of mirrors that hide it from outsiders), which the governor (Adair) of a local territory explores, and is never seen again (Story line #2 that remains unfinished). His wife (Maeryn) and child (Kael) and his childs tutor (Saba) are left with a new governor (Lemus), who gets to take the Adair’s property (including his wife). The rest of the book follows Maeryn, and her support of anything anti-Lemus, Saba (who is exiled) and Kael, who everyone thinks is dead, but has secretly been sold to monks that train and raise him and 9 other boys to serve the ‘All Powerful’. We learn that Saba has a mysterious past (he doesn’t remember who he is, story line #3 that remains unfinished) and Kael has mysterious abilities (story line #4 that remains unfinished)
The description of this book mentions angels, and we see some statues, symbols of winged ‘people’, but have not directly met any angels (story line #5 that remains unfinished)
This plot reads like the beginning of a large fantasy epic, and I’m glad the next two books are already published (and the pre-quel) because I feel like they are meant to be one continuous story.
Plot Score: 4/5
Location, Location, Location
Most of the book takes place in The Empire. There is a hint of our modern world in Chapter One, but we don’t revisit that location throughout the rest of the book. There seem to be different religous beliefs- some believe in many gods, others believe in the All-Powerful, there are hints of angels, but no evidence of them yet.
Location Score: 3/5
Characters and Relationships
Kael- I really felt the book picked up when it focused on his story. I love a book that illustrates a characters journey. He starts out the son of the governor and ends up a prisoner on a boat, in which he is forced to kill other children and eat a raw boar. He is then purchased by monks (who really set up the whole prisoner thing to weed out the weaklings) and trained and educated. He always feels apart from the other boys, and he seems special, but his uniqueness is introduced but not understood. I am fully on board for his journey.
Saba- he starts out as a tutor for Kael. We find he can remember nothing except waking up as an old man. After Lemus takes over as governor and exiles Saba, he ends up in Orud and is captured. We are introduced to someone that Saba has hurt in the past, which is still unexplained. He starts to get glimpses of memories, but the memories only add more questions.
Maeryn- She was my least favorite character. She did what she could, as the new wife of Lemus (who is very cruel). She gets decides to use her position to gain information from him and give it to ‘the rebellion’. It’s her way to rebel against Lemus, but she knows nothing about ‘the rebellion’- which is fighting against the entire empire, not just the city goverened by Lemus. She may come to regret helping out one group to spite a known enemy.
Characters Score: 3/5
Life Lessons (fka Bigger Meaning)
I didn’t really read any ‘bigger meanings’ into this book. I’m assuming there will be lessons learned as the story progresses. I will say I wanted Kael to follow his gut and I think once he does that we will start to see him flourish.
Bigger Meaning Score: 1/5
Opening Line: “The young analyst glanced quickly around the room, his eyes darting between the flickering computer screens and scores of other technical personnel.”
This was the author’s first book, and it was good, but a little unpolished. I felt like it took a third of the book for the author to find his rhythm. I’m hoping that he has his rhythm and the next three stories in this series continue to improve.
As with all epic fantasy, the story continues in the next book. However, most times the fist book can be stand alone- where most of the plot points are wrapped up, with some overarching story lines continuing. With this book, it feels as if nothing is wrapped up, and this is the setup for the next two books. I do wish that we would have gotten some answers in this book.
Style Score: 3/5
-I felt like this was a teaser trailer. There were so many unfinished plot lines, but I am fully interested in seeing how the timlines and storylines progress. Maybe these books should be published as one.
-What is up with Maeryn? Should you help out the enemy of your enemy? The evil she doesn’t know may be worse than Lemus.