Author: Brian Lindow
Genres [according to Goodreads]:
Fiction > Fantasy
Published/Publisher: July 4th 2015/CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Format Read In: Paper back
Summary from Goodreads:
Think Avengers + Inception colliding in Assassin’s Creed with a Narnian glaze and you’ve just about got it…
What if you discovered a metaphysical realm inside you — much like the physical world — where everything you did transformed the real world around you in real time? In the supernatural world of Cupél, this realm — called The Soulscape — is a powerful reality that has given rise to Twinmark Abilities, Soulstone Engineering, and Blood Alchemy.
700 years ago, three men sold their souls for a throne, becoming neither dead nor alive. Heroes have risen, armies have assembled, and nations have combined to destroy them. All have failed. Those who brought light, life and truth into the world – Forges – have been hunted into hiding or extinction by those who bring darkness, death and deceit – Rifters – and now the Immortals are bored. Dividing the world, the Immortals use their subjects as pawns in chaotic games, but a single event has threatened their rule.
Four young renegades have chosen to stand against them.
A resurrected assassin with a new mind and old reflexes, who’s past may kill him before he eliminates his target.
A caged princess bent on escaping the lies in which her parents have swaddled her, but the truth she seeks is not the truth she wants.
A cunning spy who believes he knows how to end the Immortals, but his desire to replace them blinds him to what it may cost.
A peaceful blacksmith turned bounty hunter to unravel the life of the very Immortal he works for.
In this decaying world, their collision could have only been orchestrated by gods or demons and their success will require them to go deeper inside themselves than they have ever gone before.
My Review [SPOILERS AHEAD]:
What I Liked
The world building, while still utterly confusing to me, was pretty incredible, and one of the most intricate I’ve seen in awhile from a fantasy. The world they live in is so vast and complicated, and the rules are so well thought-out; it’s very evident what kind of effort and care Lindow put into his work. He was also kind enough to put more explanation at the back of the book, but try as a might, I just couldn’t wrap my head around all the rules (I guess that’s what I get for reading a book so slowly). This, though, did not stop me from appreciating the depth of the world and how much the author wanted to convey this world to his audience. The characters were greatly diverse personality-wise, and the descriptions of the settings were very intricate and detailed. I thought the whole time that Rase would be among the heroes so imagine my (pleasant) surprise when he takes on (at least from what I can tell) the main antagonist against the protagonists. I wonder if he’ll become an anti-hero (though I’m not sure how I’ll forgive him for killing Timo!) since he’s been chosen. I think Daeden is my favourite so far, and Wink is so cute!
What I Didn’t Like
I felt like the dialogue most of the time was awkward; I just couldn’t believe the words, however emotional they were, coming out of the characters mouths. Everything seemed to be overly dramatic all the time and it lost is vigor very early on. Also I felt like everyone cried a little too much? Or like, they cried during moments that didn’t make sense. I’m forever bothered by the fridging trope so having Rachel die for Garyk’s character advancement was not all-together pleasant to me. The book moved a little slow for my taste, too. In terms of diversity, other than Daeden and Cassie being PoC and Cis being mixed race, there wasn’t much other than The Typical, which is not a huge clip for me as this is only the first book in the series, and thus, it’s hard for me to poke at this issue until the whole series is released. The only discrimination featured was that against slaves.
What I Hope to See in the Future
I can’t wait for the four characters to really meet up and to see how their chemistry builds. There were a few women, though only Sarai got some real action; her mother, a powerful Immortal, was killed (even the Shadow Master was allowed to live in the end), Rachel was fridged, as was Tam and Celeste, and Cassie and Sis were used as bargaining chips. We got a whiff of some interesting femmes–Neva and Alyxx—so I’d like to explore them, and since this is only the first book, I hope Lindow fleshes out Cassie more, especially, as an emotionally strong character (no need for a sword and fighting skills to be tough) and less as a piece of Daeden’s development. More diversity, as usual, and more explanation of the world that they live in and this other world mentioned right at the end, this other realm of Illander.
My Rating: 3/5