By: David Hair
The library is a dangerous place for me…
I go there and I bring home books, even when I have plenty already waiting for me at home like Kinslayer, The Name of The Wind, A Game of Thrones, etc. I should have read Kinslayer months ago, but I keep getting distracted, and trips to the library certainly aren’t helping. But it’s just so tempting. I happened upon this book as a result of one of these ill-advised library trips, and another one that I’ll be reviewing soon.
This book is long and I’m beginning to find that I don’t do so well with long books. I’m not intimidated by them, it’s just that I have this tendency to start losing interest halfway through, even if it’s a good story. By the 4oo page mark I’m ready to move on to something else. I seem to have the attention span of a kindergartener. Unfortunately, many books in the fantasy genre are 700-800 pages, so I guess I’ll just have to deal with it.
Length aside, I was really impressed with the world building in this story. The author took real world race, religion, and geography, and twisted it just enough that it was a little familiar and yet difficult to precisely pinpoint its real world counterpart. Some were easier than others. There was a lot of complexity with the differing beliefs and political agendas which fueled plenty of conflict. It followed closely with darker aspects of our own history with crusades and holy wars, full of all manner of brutal things, which gave it a slightly more serious tone than I was expecting.
The characters make a lot of bad decisions, which was frustrating. Every time someone made a cringeworthy choice it drove me nuts, but the characters are far from perfect, and that leaves room for them to grow. By the end of the book, I felt more like I had read the painful back stories that create the characters for the real adventure, like the Star Wars prequels that show adorable Anakin becoming Darth Vader (I didn’t like those so much).
The magic is cool, with a slightly different twist on the usual. While it has all the trappings of every traditional aspect of magic, it really breaks it down to a science and comes with an interesting origin story. There are also a few pretty awesome mage fights and, in my opinion, there could have been more.
I would have liked a wee bit more hope and triumph in this story, but with three more books to go in this series, perhaps I’ll find it there. In the end, I didn’t love it, but I liked it enough that I will probably continue to read the series. If it had been shorter I might have liked it more, but with so much going on in the story, I’m not sure there would have been any decent way to shorten it. Maybe break it up into 8 books instead of 4? Maybe not… Until next time…