Yes, AT LAST! A new book review. I am so far behind on my book reading goal for this year it isn’t even funny. Given a few good books I’m sure I’ll be able to catch up. It’s just been a matter of finding something that I actually enjoy. Luckily, this book fit the bill.
Fifteen-year-old Neryn has been travelling with her father since the Enforcers destroyed their home, Corbie’s Wood. They live town-to-town, meal-to-meal, hoping to avoid the attention of King Keldec and his Enforcers. When her father gambles everything he has left–including Neryn herself–she is taken away by a young man named Flint, who seems only to want to help. Without her father, Neryn knows that she must reach Shadowfell–the last refuge in the country for people like her, people with canny gifts, people who can see the Good Folk. She continues on alone, and soon learns that she might be Alban’s last hope, the last great weapon–and that Flint isn’t exactly what he seems.
Well, that was kind of an awful summary. I’m getting rusty. (And there’s a kitten who just wants to PLAY PLAY PLAY right next to me, so that’s part of the problem too!)
Anyway, I struggled a bit at the beginning of this book, largely I think because I wanted something fast-paced and fun that didn’t require a lot of thought. This is a stronger, more serious fantasy, which I enjoy quite a lot. It didn’t take too long to get into it, especially when Flint was introduced. He was a character bound in mystery and that’s the kind of character I like best. You know the type–brooding, regretting their past decisions, pretty much an okay guy but unable to convince the lead female of that. Okay, okay, he reminded me of Vidanric from Crown Duel. Maybe with a bit of Numair thrown in. He might be inching on to my “Top 5 Male Character Crushes” list. I haven’t decided yet.
Anyway, the plot was pretty solid, but what I wasn’t expecting until the last 150 pages or so was that it’s definitely going to have a sequel/series following it. I got my copy at Bookfest, and it’s an Advance Reader/Galley, so there isn’t a lot of information on it other than it was going to be published in 2012. (Aha! A “three book series.”) Anyway, so I was reading like, “Oh yes, this is getting interesting–wait, just HOW is this plot going to wrap up in the next hundred pages?” Obviously, the mini-plot “Must Reach Shadowfell” was achieved, but the overarching “Down With The King, Put Flint On The Throne” (okay, I made up the last half of that–cheering for him, though!) plot was in no way close to being finished. Which is great–that means there are two more books I get to read when they’re released!
I will say that as a main character, Neryn herself didn’t do a lot for me. She got stronger as the story went on, certainly–not that she was anything like a weak, weepy thing to begin with–but approached situations with a lot of caution. Again, not that that’s a bad thing–in this world, she had to be cautious in order to survive. In her situation, I certainly wouldn’t have done anything different. I suppose what started to get to me was that her actions became predictable. When faced with situation A, she would react with action A. When faced with situation B, she would react with action B. Etc. Not a bad thing, necessarily–it shows consistency in character. I suppose I just got a bit bored with her. Our personalities didn’t quite mesh.
On the other hand, I loved so many of the other side characters. Flint, as you already know. Sage. The Brollochan. Even characters we didn’t see much until the end–Regan, Tali. Lucky me, the second book, Raven Flight, is coming out this month, so I don’t have long to wait until I can read about them again.
As for the setting, few complaints there. The magic of the Good Folk and the fear of the people under the rule of Keldec was very real. I suppose my only complaint was that I wasn’t entirely sure how everything operated politically–that is, there’s King Keldec and we learn at the end that he has advisers. He has the Enforcers who he sends out to maintain order/instill fear in the hearts of all. I was curious if he had other nobles doing his bidding by residing over towns or “counties” or something. I suppose it wasn’t entirely relevant to the plotline. Actually, a map would have helped–as an ARC, my book only had “map to be finalised” which is the frustrating part about ARCs!
At any rate, loved this book. My few complaints are nitpicky. I’m actually going to go see if Raven Flight is out now. Til next time!