I’ll never understand why people find 3 stars to be insulting, especially on Goodreads. 3 stars, by definition on GR, means ‘liked it’. So I use 3 stars often on GR, but Amazon reflects 4 stars because the definition is different from GR. 4 stars on Amazon is ‘liked it’ while 3 stars is ‘it’s okay’ which is what a 2 star is on GR. This annoys me, but I can’t control everything in life. That said, I like many books. I really like a few. And even fewer I find amazing. So for me, 3 stars isn’t bad. I hope people consider that when reading this review.
Enough of my ramblings about star ratings. Here are my thoughts on the book:
What I didn’t like:
There were some situations described in the book that left me confused. I couldn’t picture anything Lein was conveying during such scenes. Maybe someone with a more vivid imagination than I could easily develop a picture, but the wording and descriptions left me scratching my head. When I came to those parts, I just skimmed over it. The story was simple enough to follow that I don’t think I missed anything. I’m not one to read a paragraph over and over until I can discern its meaning, by the way. If I don’t get it the first time, I move on without looking back. Some readers may be the type to read slower and dissect, so these sections might not pose a problem at all.
Then there was the lack of dialog. Personally, I find dialog to be a great opportunity for character development and a chance for me to connect with someone. When following one of the protagonists, Oliver, there is a point when two brothers join him and I think they say five words to each other. There was no development regarding their relationship, how they interacted, or how they spoke. It left me annoyed when reading Oliver’s POV and I was eagerly ready to move on to Ethan’s POV (the other protagonist).
In the beginning there were two info dumps that gave history of the protagonists that I found completely unnecessary and pulled me right out of the story both times.
What I did like:
Ethan. I liked his character, though I wasn’t sitting on the edge of the couch, hanging on his every word and action. Compared to the others, he just seemed more developed. I liked his drive to do what was right, and his dialog with his friends helped me get to know his character and those in his company.
The creatures described are awesome! I pictured them easily and really enjoyed some battles with them. Those were the best parts of the book, and between them and Ethan, it saved this from dropping to 2 stars (‘it’s okay’).
I also found the magic system interesting. Like I said before, some stuff I didn’t follow, but what I did I enjoyed.
So, overall, I was left with a quick read that didn’t really connect 100% with me. I never found a character I was overly in love with, there were some odd scenes, and I found it a little flat. I will say that it moved quickly. Excluding some occasionally lengthy descriptions, there was plenty happening and nearly every chapter had conflict or action. I’m not a middle grade reader, but if I were to peg it in a category, I’d say it was geared more towards very late middle grade or very early YA.
To conclude my ramblings, I think there will be quite a few people who thoroughly enjoy this book (case in point with the many 5 stars ratings it has received). When the second book comes out, I’ll more than likely buy it in hopes to read more of Ethan’s journey.