***Check out the authors website at http://lynnamerrill.com/ ***
I myself have no read an epic fantasy book in quite some time, in fact before this most of my epic fantasy reads have all been free literature sites, where people upload chapter by chapter as it is written. This book was a welcome reintroduction to this genre.
I think one of the hardest things to do in epic fantasy books is introduce the reader to the new world that an author has created. Sure it’s hard coming up with that world as an author, but introducing it to the reader is really the key, if the reader doesn’t understand the principles behind how your world works, it won’t matter how good your plot is.
Merrill dives right in with her book in introducing the reader, and quite effectively. The reader is really introduced to the world by one of her main characters, Lindon, and through her thoughts. This is accomplished largely because Lindon is at the age where her place in society is going to be determined. Because of this, as a reader, you are to get an explanation as to how this society works as well as be taken through how Lindon feels about what is going to happen to her.
A plus of the book is that it is a unique idea, which is refreshing especially for the fantasy genre as things can easily get repetitive. The books starts with the explanation that fire has become a direly needed commodity, and is only provided by the Bers (this society’s highest people and they have the magical skill). This is unique, at least for me, because when you think of things you need to live, you think water and food. But in this world, they have water, but fire is limited.
Another reason I find epic fantasy books to be so fascinating is that they tend to focus on societies, and how they work and often times the question of those societies. I found it really interesting that the people of this society just take everything at exactly what they are told. And in this society there thoughts are even policed, those that think things that aren’t in line with what society demands are subject to be punished.
Lindon and the Lord she becomes and apprentice for, Rianor, are both very interested in the science behind everything. While everyone else is willing to take magic as just a fact of life, these two are searching for the explanation behind how the magic works, and how science can explain everything.
One of the main issues I had with the book is often it moves too fast. Not necessarily on the action, but rather Merrill has something happen/impact a character, and then the character reacts so quickly it often times didn’t give me enough time to understand those reactions, or made me re-read a few paragraphs to make sure I wasn’t missing something. That being said having a book that moves quickly is a big help to keeping a readers interest.
Overall I would say this is a solid book. I would recommend it for anyone who likes epic fantasy books, or has and interest in books that search for the explanation of how things work or are. If you are looking for a more urban fantasy type book, this probably isn’t your book, but might be a good way to introduce yourself to epic fantasy, epic fantasy is not for everyone but I think for those who like books that are an escape from real life should give the genre a chance.