I think this wants to be a Grimdark epic fantasy. You can imagine the author having a big wordcloud of terms like “grim”, “dark”, “hopeless”, “dystopian” and “doom” above their desk. And it’s true that they certainly manage to evoke that feeling in the first half of the book. Almost to an extreme.
By the time the plains were burnt and the Ahi’rea, the brave heroine, was preparing for her showdown with Lasivar, I was asking myself whether it was worth continuing. The situation seemed so hopeless, it could only be a forgone conclusion. Of course, it wasn’t quite that simple, but having to plough through such a relenting slough of despond meant I almost didn’t get far enough to find that out. It felt like Morla the Ancient, from The Neverending Story was breathing down my neck in parts.
Thourson Palmer writes in great detail about the battle scenes. Every move and counter move is described, until it feels like the adversaries are enacting a complicated dance. You have to admire the amount of work that goes into such comprehensive depictions. But personally, I did find that this became a bit repetitive after a while. Perhaps that’s just me. I do love a good fight scene, but I tend to prefer those that offer a mixture of large scale tactical moves and one-on-one conflict.
Overall, the battle scenes are action-packed and there’s what some may call a refreshing lack of sentimentality. But for me, that wasn’t enough to counterbalance the shallowness of the characters nor the confused plot. Where the scope of this novel is broad, I was looking for a little more focus.
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Published by: Boyle & Dalton
Released: 14th January 2015
Buy it from: Kobo