Series: The Adarna Chronicles #1
Genres: Epic, Fantasy
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The Adarnan Empire has endured for a thousand years, a beacon of civilisation shining out to the world. Its glory is undimmed, but of late there are rumours... A horde of savage warriors has overrun the south, destroying legions with ease, leaving the very heartlands of the empire under threat. In the capital there are whispers in the bars and taverns... Republic... they urge, and the name that is whispered is always the same... Martius. General Felix Martius has been charged with ending the threat from the horde, but the emperor's orders came late and there has been little time to gather an army. The legions are outnumbered ten to one. The fate of the empire stands on a knife edge. Empire under siege is the first book in the Adarna chronicles. Set in a world of epic grandeur and political intrigue, it follows the fate of the empire through the eyes of those who could ultimately save it, or doom it to destruction.
What a pleasant little surprise. The book was extremely short, and in my experience those usually cram too much in or not enough. This had a decent amount of a teaser, the start of some good character development, story questions, a good foundation of the world, and a promise of some interesting things to come in the next book.
We follow mainly two characters, General Martius and a soldier Conlan. I found both PoV’s interesting and I didn’t skim a single sentence, which should speak volumes. I’m a notorious skimmer. I found Conlan to be a well developed character. We start in the middle of the war where things are going south rather quickly. Conlan’s bravery and character is tested right away and we get a good feel for him. Over the book, we see how the war affected him and how he evolves. It was done quite well. Martius also shows us his spirit during the battle. Though I don’t think he moved along like Conlan did, his story was still engaging and I found myself more curious about him as I read.
I rather liked the quick start to this book. We’re thrown right into a battle and the action starts. However, it made the last half of the book seem a tad bit slow, though I was still engrossed in the story. There’s definitely a bit of politics starting to show itself during the later part of the book. I’m not usually one for such things, but it didn’t bog me down at all. I will admit, I’m a little worried that it might in the second book. We just touched the surface, so I’m sure more will come about in the next installment. If Lewis can hold my interest throughout it, I’ll be absolutely delighted.
The writing, for me, flowed nicely. I didn’t notice any typos (though I hardly do), and I very much enjoyed the nice trance I lost myself in. I even found myself reading it when I had some fun things I could have otherwise been doing. That says a ton right there. It’s that small bit of interest that raises a book from an “I’m Indifferent” rating up to a really liked it rating. It just… moved. It kept me engaged, made me want to pick it up again.
So overall, a great read. I don’t think there was anything earth shattering in the plot or world, but I don’t need to be knocked off my couch to enjoy a book. And I’ve already bought the second book because I liked this one so much that I want to see what happens to Conlan and Martius. Oh, one more thing: There’s a lovely cliff hanger at the end. I don’t mind them, but I know a lot of people who do. But the good news is the second book is out already—obviously since I’ve bought it.