Rating: I LIKED IT
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication Date: September 25th, 2015
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Book Blurb: Tyranny. Desperation. Rebellion.
While Tristan may be the heir to the House of Listar, at heart he’s more a lad than a lord.
Mad with power, the ruthless and scheming Baron of Belnair will stop at nothing to gain the crown. In the dead of night, the Baron massacres Tristan’s family and burns their home to the ground. Desperate and alone, Tristan must fight for his life and his people.
With everything at stake, Tristan must unite the unlikeliest of allies to block the Baron's ascent. For the first time in his life, he must become the leader he was born to be.
The Baron’s armies grow as an ancient magic stirs in the mountains. If Tristan fails, the throne, his freedom, and the love of his life will be lost forever.
A Coronation of Kings is the first book in this exciting new fantasy series. If you like fast-paced adventures, spellbinding sorcery, and wondrous new worlds, you will love Samuel Stokes' A Coronation of Kings.
Okay, so let me start by saying I’ve never found myself deeply in love with young adult books, and this was no different. I’ve liked some, but they’ve never snagged me wholly. The reason is almost always the main characters. I find the majority of YA books have a rather perfect hero/heroine, and a cockiness or timidness that goes to extremes. Of course they’re great and loved by all. I get it. It’s a good draw and something a lot of people expect. And there’s nothing wrong with it if that’s what the author decides to write, it’s just not my cup of tea. However, there can be redeeming qualities that help me overlook these startling awesome youths, and this book had enough in the way of magic to help me keep turning the pages.
If anyone reads the author’s note in this, they’ll see that Stokes has chosen to leave out descriptions. For a reader who hates lengthy descriptions, I was really excited. While I was reading, I can’t say I noticed much, but as I sit to write this review, I realize it did indeed have a negative impact that I wasn’t expecting. Without laying out the land for me, I’m walking alongside my characters in a meadow and suddenly we’re hiding behind scrubs and there’s no meadow. We were walking in woods the entire time. Sure I can adjust, but looking back I realize it left me hazy to the story, floating. Which in turn made me realize I was reading the entire time. I never escaped anywhere because I had no place to escape to. Just a tad bit more description—and I mean just a little here and there—would have solved it. If you’re a description junky, steer clear.
Now for those characters. Well, they were young men around 18 years and they each have a girl they like—she’s awesome and not squeamish—and the boys are awesome at what they want to be awesome at. I found no depth in them. I think it might go back to that description issue. And some of their reactions were quite … I don’t even know how to say it without giving away anything, but it felt off to me. I’d have liked a bit more depth to their feelings. Maybe I’m more emotional than they are. I don’t know.
The world seems interesting, from what I could make of it: very standard fantasy in the way of kings and lords, marrying for favor and allies, etc. However, when Stokes started touching upon magic, I perked up. It was interesting to me, but I love me some magic. While I don’t think it was earth shattering, I found it entertaining enough for me to ignore some of the young adult elements. There was some real fun to be had, and I’ll just say dragons … yeah, dragons. Fun stuff, so it kept me reading on and pulled this book up a rating. Honestly, if not for some of the issues I said above, this could easily have been amazing.
As for the writing, it’s hard to say. The action scenes were fun, and I had a nice picture of what was going on for those. Very grounded then. But we had an irksome head hopping happening that would sometimes pull me out of those scenes. I’ve said it before: changing characters from paragraph to paragraph will always pull me right out of a story, and this was no exceptions. There’s also quotation issues which can sometimes be distracting: not stopping and starting at the right points so you don’t know someone is speaking again because the quotes didn’t start. This happened enough for me to notice, and I’d have to take that split second to figure out what happened.
I will give the author credit on keeping this book light. If you have a youngster, I’d see no problem with them reading this. The cover definitely looks darker than the books is, FYI. And I do love this cover, I’m just not sure it fit the book.
DISCLAIMER: I have no children of my own and have been told I don’t notice how dark something can be for children.
So overall, this review might sound negative, but the world was fun enough to offset what I didn’t like. If you really enjoy young adult, I’d give this a go. If you like light fantasy, I’d definitely give it a go. And on the date of this review the book is free, so if you’re even remotely curious, give it a download. Nothing to lose.