Rating: I LIKED IT
Series: Catalyst Moon #1
Publication Date: July 22nd, 2016
Author Website • Goodreads
Book Blurb: Magic is new to the country of Aredia. Mages are enslaved for their abilities, locked behind high walls and guarded by sentinels - elite warriors with an unnatural immunity to magic.
Kali, a crippled mage who longs to escape her painful past, travels to meet a powerful healer in Whitewater City. But on the way her sentinel escort is decimated by monstrous raiders, leaving her with a single guardian, Stonewall: a sentinel with nothing but his chosen name and his faith in the gods. Together, Kali and Stonewall must learn to work together to survive a harrowing journey while demonic creatures from the north invade their lands.
Meanwhile, the mages and sentinels of Whitewater City are drawing battle lines and preparing for war - against one another.
What will await them should they ever reach their destination?
For those who liked the Dragon Age storyline, you might find this interesting. It had a lot of the same elements to it: mages are feared and locked away in towers, rogue mages are hunted by sentinels, sentinels keep watch over mages and take an elixir to make them immune to magic. It’s been ages since I played the video game so I can’t say if there are more similarities, but the book felt very familiar to me.
The book follows a few different characters, all of whom seem fleshed out to a bare minimum. They were interesting enough, but I felt a bit distant from all of them. I can’t say why, exactly. Perhaps the story never fully grabbed me, or the history of the characters was revealed too late for me to fully care. If I’d known some of their past hardships a bit earlier on, I might have cared more. However, I like my characters a bit more brooding, and these seemed to me to be on the lighter side.
The same could be said for the entire story. The grittier and darker the better for me. This had potential, but it stayed on this side of clean. Matter of fact, besides character development, all we got were some bandits that weren’t normal anymore. A couple encounters with them and then not much else. It kinda felt a bit of a letdown. I get this is the first book and we’re setting up for the big bad, and I don’t need a huge climatic ending, but I felt there needed to be something more for how long the book was. There just wasn’t enough conflict. The most conflict we had through the first 3/4 of the book was two of our characters trying to reach a destination, and since not much else happened except a few attacks by said creatures, I was left feeling a bit disappointed. Much more happened in the last quarter but I found myself wishing I’d had more tension for the rest of the book.
Now, for those of you who remember the Dragon Age story, it does keep true to that conflict of how mages are treated. They are dangerous, but is locking them away the right thing to do? And you have mages that don’t care and those that want their freedom. You have sentinels that respect mages and treat them kindly, and those that don’t. So you do get a decent spectrum of opinions. But without me caring for any of the characters, what should have been truly important issues didn’t carry the weight it needed. I found it wasn’t explored as well as it should have, which left the world feeling a bit lackluster.
For all my “meh” feelings, I still found it entertaining. There’s a little love story going on, which evolved at a nice pace, I must say. I was dreading finding these two characters madly in love after just a day, and while their affections grew quickly, it felt right. The conflict between mages and sentinels was touched upon just enough to keep me interested. It’s a fast read, despite some of the slower parts. The writing flowed nicely for me, clear and to the point.
So overall, if you’re looking for a shorter, fast read, I’d give this a try. If you’re a Dragon Age fan, you might find this interesting if going in expecting something a little light. I’d like to point out that the average rating on Goodreads is pretty decent, which leads me to think I’m just being my usual picky self.