When a rash of mysterious and brutal attacks throughout the Hechani Sea shatters tenuous relations, the city-states erupt into a destructive war. Embroiled in the conflict, young Atian officer Kelvar Alexandros is determined to protect his men and his country in the looming trials, despite his growing concern that the enemy may not be as evil as he assumed.
Meanwhile, Mistress Telaine Le Fay, sorceress of Gothrond, is dispatched to investigate the hostilities. Her mission is to discover the roots of the conflict and negotiate a peace settlement. The situation proves unclear, however, and she finds herself inextricably tangled in a web of lies, desperately searching for an elusive truth.
Telaine’s past mentor, the excitable intellectual, Jax, has a problem of his own. His studies have led him to a discovery that could have dire consequences, and he is determined to discover if the threat he fears is indeed real.
In the desert sands of the Great Waste, an adventurous young man named Tor longs for something more than his mundane, everyday scramble for subsistence. Little does he know, Jarwulf, the infamous Blood Berserker from the north, and his mercenary band will soon arrive in his village – and sweep him off to a life he dared not even imagine.
Amidst the tide of darkness rising in Vrold, the only hope may be an unlikely alliance, but evil is rarely obvious. It is a subtle force hiding in plain sight, and the truth is hard to find when even heroes can fall prey to its malevolent will…
I won this book in a competition, and since it was an e-book, I’ve only just got around to reading it. Since it was free, I didn’t have high hopes for it. But it was a lot better than I expected!
Like Game of Thrones, it was a bit difficult to get into at first. Kemp has created a whole new world, and that can be hard to follow. All the characters in the book have grown up in this world, so unlike Harry Potter, don’t need anything explained to them. That’s what lets it down a little I think. I need every detail explained to me so I can know what’s going on. But once I got further into the book, I got a clearer picture of it, and could follow the plot a lot easier.
The characters were done well. I loved Telaine and Killigan, her best friend. They were sassy, and the best people in the Vrold, and they knew it . So many people told them no, and tried to make them give up on whatever their goal happened to be at the time, and they were having none of it. Tor was cute too. He made the world set-up easier for me, because he questioned everything. Poor Jarwulf got a little sick of him I think. But I didn’t, I loved him.
Here’s my problem with the characters – there were too many. When I’m trying to get an entire world straight in my head, I don’t have time to focus on who’s who. I got them all mixed up, and forgot what Jax was doing, and thought that Tor was with Telaine, and got myself all muddled. I wanted two or three books – one for Telaine, one for Tor, and one for Jax. I understand that their stories all connected up at the end, but that didn’t make me happy about it.
The last bit of the book bothered me too. While I was enjoying it, I had no intention of reading the sequel. And the last chapter was all about setting up the sequel. I know, that does have to happen, but I feel like she could have done it less. All that setting the scene could easily happen in book two.
Overall, I liked it, I just didn’t love it. I wouldn’t say no to a free copy of book two, but I wouldn’t be willing to spend any money on it.