Series: Rithhek Cage Trilogy #1
Genres: Epic, Fantasy
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In the remote mining village of Aystin, Karsen Morgate secretly longs to explore the world outside the town walls; but instead dutifully spends his nights protecting the precious Cloudstone tiles—mined by his father, and engraved with mystical symbols and lore by the reclusive Adept Noxyn. When his half-brother, Petr, commits a gruesome crime, Karsen is forced to flee his home, carrying with him a tile depicting a unique artifact—the Ennae—entrusted to his care by the Adept himself. Alone, ailing, and on the run, Karsen must find help, find his way, and decipher the true meaning of the Ennae. For he soon realizes that he is being pursued by the dark brotherhood of the Shroud, and that he has somehow become an unwilling pawn in an ancient conflict.The Shroud is stirring.The world of Tholann is in danger.And Karsen Morgate is in the middle of it.
I’ll start by saying that this book has a wide range of ratings on Goodreads (most falling into the 4 star rating), which goes to show that for this one, it’s just going to be a matter of taste.
I can say that the world was nicely imagined. It had a good set of lore and creatures and races to keep one interested. We spent a bit of time with two races that I thought were extremely well thought out. It gave us a chance to learn about the lore of the world and gave us the overall issues our main character might face in future books.
However, for this reader, worlds come second to characters. Unfortunately for me, Karsen wasn’t a character I latched on to, nor did I become enticed by his story. He did go through something tragic, but I never really settled in with him enough to care. His brother, Petr, didn’t snag hold of me either. None of the characters did. So that will always pull me out of a book, and the way the world was rolled out made me even distance myself further.
If you’ve read any of my reviews, and I hope you have (shout out to Steven Colbert – I stole his line), you’ll know that my eyes glaze over when I encounter large sections of info dumping. I’ll shut down pretty quick. Now, sometimes authors can sneak info dumps into conversations and I won’t know because 1) I either care about the character enough that I’m interested whenever they speak or 2) it’s done in a way that builds up the character by revealing quirks or adding to his/her voice. That said, Patrick used the dialog trick. However, I didn’t learn much about Karsen, his voice didn’t evolve or come alive for me, and it seemed the dialog internal thought tags really dragged it down for me. That combined with all the information turned me off from the story several times. Again, this is just personal preference. I’m really bad when it comes to a lot of information in one section.
Now, aside from those parts, I did enjoy the story overall. I can see there’s probably tons of traveling in Karsen’s future and the likelihood of him exploring fun places. This book set the foundation for the reasons Karsen has set out from his home and the purpose he needs to fulfill. All of it has a mysterious beginning that had me wondering what in the heck was going on.
So, as a whole, without a character to latch hold of and a world that felt too hand fed to me, this book falls into my indifferent category. It wasn’t horrible by any means, and I think there will be—and are—several people who enjoy this book.