Let’s see. I liked this story… by bits. It was tough to decide whether to give it a two stars or a three stars. I opted for the latter, because I did really much like the two-thirds of the novel.
The pace of the story was good at the beginning. The beginning instantly grabs your attention and you don’t want to stop. The ‘middle’ of it was all right, but, some time by the end, I grew impatient to get to the point and to understand the plot as a whole [this is why I haven’t given this a 4 star].
You meet plenty of interesting characters, each with their own unique background story which, I find, should have been revealed more.
It amazes me that Aaron was able to do what he did and was able to survive through it all despite not having anything special but his intellect. This, and of course, some sense of courage and right. I like to think he’s a static character, whose resolve did not change, but there was a slight change in his character, and I must say I welcomed this much while reading. We grow tired of characters who do not change at least in some aspect.
Ursool, the witch, I had grown attached to her for the few moments that she appeared, and I would have enjoyed reading more about her.
Serena appeared too late in the story. I didn’t have any time to grow to the character, which is the opposite of Ursool, to whom I felt something despite her lack of appearance. Serena was harder for me to grasp, to relate to, despite everything she’s ‘lived’ and everything that she ‘told’ about herself. I’m sure I would have ‘clicked’ with her character if I had spent more time with her [you know what I mean].
Ensel Rhe deserved more than just him revealing his past to Aaron at the end. I enjoyed reading about this character the most. I love how he does not need to speak, but the narrator conveys his thoughts nevertheless. His backstory is very intricate and I sincerely hope there will be more about him later on.
Shanna. Where do I start with Shanna? I liked this extremely strong character since the beginning. I liked her till the ‘middle’ of the novel, where everything started to go downfall for her. I can understand her motivations and I can mostly also understand the cause of her downfall, however, I found it a tad bit too abrupt. It is always mentioned that she dislikes being ‘put down’ and being a ‘nobody’, so what eventually happens to her is inevitable. By the end, I was happy for her. [but I’m also sad, because I could really relate to her at the beginning (I can’t say more, read the novel 🙂 )].
Just as there was a certain lack of time to tell the
forgotten/omitted backstory of some interesting characters, there were a bit too much descriptions near the end. Despite them being in vocabulary that I can easily grasp, I find that they sometimes make me lose interest of the story. The descriptions made us see the landscape and the world through the characters’ eyes, sure, but what of the ‘common’ things like ‘eslar’ or all of the in-world names and words… [mostly eslars though. “Eslar” and “Katesh” REALLY sound badass, don’t they?!]?
There were also, maybe to my memory, things that were left unfinished:
– What happened to the people Shanna had sworn she would get out?
– What happened to the healer whose name I forget because she has failed to re-appear?
– What were the purposes behind Elsanar’s choice of apprentice?
– How could that bad guy, whom Ensel Rhe only mentions a few times during his backstory, contract the slitheri?
– How did they end up working for Erlek again? Speaking of the guy, why did he meet his end that way? I find it difficult to understand how Erlek could have DIED like that. The man has ELUDED death and just the command and the powerful jaws of the hounds can dismantle him, just like that? I thought he’d have overseen this and planned ahead! I’m disappointed in you as a villain, Erlek! I had grown to fear you and hate you!
Also, Aaron finds the solution and reveals to us all the missing pieces of the puzzle in the nick of time, without a glance back to what has happened…? I don’t know. The narration kind of made me anticipate that he would take some time to ponder on the question [at the same time as we are and then reveal to us the key to the puzzle] rather than blurt out everything that he found out…
Though I must admit that the mystery of it kept me reading and the ‘mystery’, I find, was kept brilliantly until the end (when he reveals all).
[end of spoilers]
Overall, I found this an interesting read. It adds elements of alchemy, druid magic, science and magic in general together with physical skills of swordsmanship to make the plot extremely interesting and appealing to anyone who is interested in these subjects. Add to this mix: suspense and mystery and it makes a nice novel to read in your free time.
Also, I look forward to reading the sequel, if there is one, for surely, Aaron and his companions’ adventures can not end there! (also, I’m interested to see if there will be some more depth to the relationship *cough*
slowly growing between Aaron and Serena) *cough* 😀 XD