Provided by the State Library Victoria as part of the Inky Awards. If you’re a teen in Australia, vote now, and if voting has been closed by the time you read this, be sure to be ready for next year(or whenever you are reading this)
This is the first book that I read for the Inky Awards, and overall I liked it well enough. My favourite part is almost certainly the world that has been created here, and most importantly the magic system. It’s complex enough to be interesting, but not confusing, and yet not overall simple. The world building and descriptions were also really well done and if YA fantasy something you want to try, it isn’t a bad book to begin with.
In general, it is well written, though I can’t help and think many parts could have been better, especially where dialogue is concerned. While the action scenes were epic(for YA that is, adult fantasy dwarves the stuff seen here and makes it seem like a child wrote it), especially with all the different branches of magic used, which makes it awesome, much of the dialogue was pretty cliche, especially where romance was involved. One couple was somewhat shippable, which were Amari and Tzain as they were both interesting characters. Inan and Zelie on the other hand, not so much. I found Zelie to be quite annoying at times and sometimes it feels as if she just won’t move on. Inan was actually so annoying and the amount of times I wanted to slap him for not being able to make up his mind is too many, so he got what he deserved.
The length of the book suites well to the genre and the story, world-building and development that got across, with the most meaningful parts at the start and end, with the middle dragging down the book overall. At the start we see and experience the horrors our characters have to survive through, the middle is mainly family, travel time as they trek through the world and romantic issues. The end leads us onto a satisfying climax and also a cliffhanger which certainly does lead to some very interesting things and a potentially very good second book, so this first books didn’t really dig it for me. However, I don’t like books that leave on cliffhangers because one, unless I read the sequel straightaway, it’ll probably mess up of what’s going on and secondly, cliffhangers at the end of a book just feels like lazy writing, as if you couldn’t end it properly.
I can see why many people do like this book, though I, maybe having read to much fantasy for my age didn’t find it as satisfying as I hoped it would be and as such, I probably won’t be reading it again as it is pretty average, though it is worth a shot for those who haven’t read much fantasy before. The overall gist of the book feels too predictable and far too cliched, with the characters not knowing what there are doing, and while I do like the concept, I do think it could have been far better executed. 4.5/10