I know, right. I've just got such a way with words. (Sometimes I wonder how in the world I ever became a writer.)
But anyway. On this board (Christian Book Reviews) there's a place where a bunch of authors (mostly indie (for those who don't know, that means self-published) I think) are offering their books for free in exchange for an honest review.
Naturally I was totally in.
I mean, DID YOU JUST SAY FREE BOOKS?
Free books turn me into an evilly cackling maniac.
My first book was The Rise of Aredor by Claire M. Banschbach. And no, I have no clue how to pronounce her surname. To be honest, I've been putting off even thinking about trying.
And so I was super excited to get the ebook (because FREE BOOKS PEOPLE) and I read it in the next three days. It even got four pretty stars. Wherefore I decided to post the review on my blog because...why not?
Lost in a foreign land and separated from his family, Corin does his best to survive as a slave in the household of a Calorin lord. With newfound friends he fights for survival in ambushes and wars. For one act of bravery, he is awarded his freedom and returns to a home that has been invaded and ravaged by the Calorin armies.
When Corin sets foot on Aredor's shores, he has one goal in mind: find his family. He is driven into the forest, where he is reunited with childhood friends. From the shelter of the woods, they begin a spirited rebellion against Corin's former cruel master, who now holds sway over Aredor.
Follow Corin's path in his quest to free his imprisoned brother, find a father who has vanished, and ultimately free his country in The Rise of Aredor. (Dun dun dun dunnnnn)
(note: that bit wasn't in the original blurb. I added it. For no particular reason as far as I know at this stage. I've just always wanted too.)
'Kay. Where to start? A review...get your thoughts into a pile of radioactive junk, Jane, the readers wanna hear a review (maybe...do you? Or are you just gonna skip over the post?). I rather enjoyed this. The overall plot and story was really pretty cool.
Corrin/Hamid (uh-huh, he has two names. Kinda cool actually) was an interesting main character. At first he wasn't quite realistic and I didn't connect with him as much as I wanted to but then around 1/4 of the way through I started connecting with him. And he was great after that. And his Robin Hood stage - just epic. At the moment, most everything Robin Hood gets me interested. (I am kinda writing my own retelling so...)
The plot was cool, and quite original and page-turning. The entire beginning felt a bit like a side-track and it dragged out a bit. Possibly one of the factors in that was because I'd been expecting the entire plot to be mostly just re-taking Aredor when that only really started in the second half, but it was still all cool.
The writing style itself felt a bit forced every now and then, but alright overall. The part that threw me a bit was some of the battle scenes in the first half where they sounded a bit like a detailed history book. But mostly, it was fine.
The characters were reasonably well written. The backstory and friendships everyone had, and how that effected their lives was amazingly detailed for several of them (Aiden and Corrin, I'm looking at you). In the second half I got a little confused with all the new names popping up everywhere and I couldn't keep track of who was who, but that might just be my brain. (Or I may have accidentally skipped a few pages somewhere. Who knows. I still haven't gotten used to ebooks, and I probably won't ever. Paperbacks forever!) I think even by the end, there were a few faceless names around. But for the main characters, I enjoyed experiencing the story through their eyes. (Although that could have possibly been because I was like "Phew, I actually know who you are...I'm pretty sure. You're the same one as from chapter two, right? You haven't switched or anything?")
The Point Of View changes were a bit distracting at times when it just slipped from Emeth's brain into Hamid and then back again. Whenever it happened I was drawn out of the story and it took a page or two to really get back in again. Too much brain switching makes me dizzy.
At the beginning I was slightly put out by the fact that when the character got a beating it was all impersonal and I wanted to actually see everything happen even though it would've been painful. (haha, you all know I'm just saying that for how it looks. I wouldn't have minded at all.) Then a bit further through I was much happier. Lion mauling always adds a nice touch of tension and excitement. To be honest, it was probably my favourite scene. Oops. That may or may not be a good thing. I'm rather one for blood and gutsy stuff in books, I admit. Give me aall the suffering and feels.
So on that note, the ending was also really cool. [SPOILER] Almost dying of poison? COOL. With no possible antidote that has been invented. Super cool. Oh wait...is this character about to actually die this time? [END SPOILER] And the fact that the underlying Christian theme came out just a tad more at the end was perfect. It was one of those well done Christian themes where it just lay under the surface. There, but not at all preachy. It was really good. The ending was great.
So basically I recommend The Rise of Aredor to Christian Fantasy-with-no-magic-well-not-really lovers. It could've been better, but I managed to look past the faults and get into the story. If you start and the beginning seems to lag, don't worry, the second half is the best bit.
An easy, creative and unique read.
And I'll have you know that my actual Goodreads review didn't include quite this much rambling. It was really weird and exciting to write: I received a free copy of this book from the author for my honest review. Because I've seen that written on other cool bookdragon's reviews and choked on jealousy but now it's ME writing it.
I still haven't worked out whether that excitement helped toward the 4-star rating or not.
So tell me, how do you feel about free books?
Oh, and before I leave, do you like reading Book Review posts?
Should I do 'em more often? (feel free to give me a sarcastic eyebrow-raise and walk away shaking your head at another blogger slipping into the book-reviewing posts, only warn me before I fall too far)
|| Jane Maree ||