A Fantasy Series Book Review
A truce has halted the fighting between Reisil's native land and its neighbor. But traitors on both sides plot to shatter the fragile peace. Kidnappers steal the daughter of the foreign ambassador from her bedchamber, leaving behind a trail of blood. To free her friend before she can be used to reignite the war, Reisil must join a band of rescuers she fears to trust. As Reisil journeys into enemy lands, she will be betrayed...I have several soft spots when it comes to fantasy. One of course, is dragons. Another is animal companions. Likely, this stems from my love of animals and I would love nothing better then to truly bond with one. This series feeds that love. It also contains another of my favorite themes, a reluctant heroine.
What I did not like. The characterization could have been a bit better. It was not bad really, just could have been a bit deeper. Seeing as how this is Diana Pharaoh Francis' debut novel though, I am not too worried. I have no doubt that her writing, including character portrayals, will tighten up. The bonded animals could also have benefited from a little more personality. Again, they were not bad; I just would have liked to see them developed more. I also felt that the main character, Reisil, has way too much unlimited power, fortunately, she has no idea what to do with it most of the time. This seems to be her only real constraint, that and her reluctance to have any power at all. My final nitpick is the deities, again I would have liked to see a more personal look at those. They do make appearances, something I love in a fantasy god, but I found myself left wishing for more.
What I really liked. Overall, I enjoyed the portrayal of Reisil as the reluctant heroine. Her motivation for denying the power offered her was real and even touching. She makes mistakes, sometimes really big ones and she is hardheaded to say the least. A character does not need to be fully developed if I can identify with them, and I definitely identified with Reisil. The world itself was easy to envision, large without being overly so. The magic system was interesting and entering a story at the point where people are trying to stop a war, instead of starting one, was refreshing.
This story is not terribly original, something that matters very little to me personally. I do not believe that any gifted storyteller tells the same tale the same way as any other. Each brings their own unique take, voice, and personality into the story. The story itself is very enjoyable. There is adventure, romance, friendship, and betrayal. Some parts are touching while others are tragic. The pacing is even for the most part. This novel does suffer alittle from first book in a trilogy syndrome, there is alot of setup and back-story to cover, but I did not feel that it bogged the story down very much. Overall, a nicely paced light read with well-balanced elements of tragedy and triumph.
The content has adult themes. There is rape, murder, torture, and betrayal. There is justice in the form of harsh retribution, and people who do horrible things to accomplish their goals. There are also stellar examples of self-sacrifice and perseverance against impossible odds. In fact, I would say that the main theme of this series centers on both sacrifice and the lengths that people will go to obtain what they want, regardless of the cost in either case. The book ties up neatly, no serious cliffhanger here! But there are still plenty of questions left to be addressed in the next book. Well worth a read!
Other books in the series
Shelfari Rating 4/5
Librarything Rating 3.78/5
Amazon Rating 4+ out of 5 stars
(34 Customer Reviews)
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