Welcome back to my blog! It is March, and I am stubborn and disagreeable as ever. Just kidding. I am pleased to welcome a new segment to my blog: Book Reviews. I already review video games, so how hard can it be?
*Squints at the squiggly lines moving all over the page. What are words? D: Proceeds to flip the table*
As part of my New Years Resolution, I wanted to read more novels. For a fantasy writer/author, I do not read anywhere near as much as I would like. I have a huge collection of Kindle books (and a growing army of paperback and hardback books), but for some reason, I just did not read as many books as I would like. That is changing this year. Already in the past fortnight, I have finished Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, and I have made a start on the Way of Kings edition of his Stormlight Archive. I have so many books to read on my ever expanding list. How will I ever read them all D:
So, I thought about it. Why not expand on this and write some actual book reviews? It would be a new segment for my blog, and it would help promote them. Furthermore, it will provide a little more marketing for the author for their hard work (It is very hard to write and publish anything! The least we can do as readers is to support them).
The first of my reviews is a novel written by a good friend of mine, Linn Tesli Lønaas. I actually made the map for her novel, an enjoyable experience and it started my path. (Shameless promoting a little here, but hey, it’s very interesting!) I will try and leave things as spoiler-free as possible, as well as be fair as possible. No book is perfect, and while in reviews I do look for all the positives before the negatives, there are my own personal views which may make it different from other people’s. It is MY personal opinion.
I will try and leave things as spoiler-free as possible, as well as be fair as possible. No book is perfect, and while in reviews I do look for all the positives before the negatives, there are my own personal views which may make it different from other people’s. It is MY personal view though, so do not take it as fact. I hope this will be an entertaining review as well as an insightful one. Linn is a great person, a wonderful writer and it really reflected in her book I think. But anyway, onto the review.
First of all, it is epic fantasy. And I mean epic. The world is not only vast, but it is pretty complex. There are a LOT of characters and time-skips going on, so it can be tricky figuring out what’s happening in the story. I did take a while to get truly engrossed into the novel, which is the first of a series. This is okay, because I do not always need action to get me engrossed in a novel. Besides, I am the LAST person in the universe to lecture anybody on having too many characters:
Horse: Oi, author who created me! You have nearly a dozen characters in the Thousand Scars first chapter, and most of them are boring as shit!
Me: Do not interrupt me again, or you’re going back into the box.
Horse: (growls and slunks off to do some more target practice).
You see, I do not mind complex character line-ups. I write huge volumes of characters, and some of my favorite novels and authors have them in swathes. (Points at Martin and his hundreds of named characters in A Song of Ice and Fire. Then I sit in the corner and sob when I realize Winds of Winter isn’t going to come out until 2261. Game of Thrones is no substitute for this…:()
The beginning of the novel is a little slow. However, the author has clearly researched and created her world very well, as each land in the world feels fresh, creative and different from the other. In many cases, I feel her world-building has trumped mine. Some areas lack a little polish, but overall, very impressive! Readers who like big worlds to lose themselves in will enjoy this, I reckon.
There are a vast amount of different creatures (some cutesy and some downright deadly!) some of which may turn off readers. Unicorns, griffons and talking sarcastic squirrels, this has it all. I usually scoff and facepalm at seeing things like this, but they were…pretty badass. The griffon legions in some of the larger battles of Reborn were most impressive, and dished out a lot of damage!
Now, I would be lying if the series added anything truly original. While the worldbuilding hasn’t really introduced anything original to the fantasy genre, using a lot of tried and tested fantasy cliches, I wouldn’t take that away from the author or the book, as they are utilized fairly well. This is okay, especially as fantasy seems to be one of 5/6 plotpoints and worlds. Remember: A story has been told before. But never has it been told by you. So give it a shot! I do feel very jaded sometimes in reading the same old same old things, but for a world which plenty of new creatures as well as some of the common tropes, I think it was very well done. And look out for the talking squirrel. Despite the cuteness of the idea, he is a crafty, sarcastic little prick, and he generally just doesn’t care, just popping up and making me laugh every time the little thing appears, in a slightly psychotic way. I adored the little guy.
Same goes for the plot really = it’s nothing original, but it’s done very well. An evil king takes over from his sister (who you actually feel sorry for as the story goes on), and a chosen group of kids have to go around, gathering allies to defeat them. While nothing special in terms of creativity, I think it’s well written and a lot certainly happens! There are a huge number of characters in Reborn, some written better than others (I will go into this shortly!) as is the vast number of races. Therefore it can be difficult to figure out what’s going on in the scope of things. But much easier to understand then many fantasy novels out there (and trumping several high-profile authors out there to boot!)
Birken was my favourite character because he was likable and probably the most developed. However, this is when my own, bitter and twisted psyche kicks in, which is my own fault, not the books. I will be perfectly honest…I didn’t like the kids, at all. Their dynamic and friendship was well written and it was very realistic, so that isn’t my problem. Ayva is the most powerful and chosen character in the book, the “Chosen One.” but I have a natural bias against any teenage prodigies, mainly because I find them whiny and full of angst, and usually everything bends over for them on a silver platter. This is one of the reasons why I naturally roll my eyes at many YA, though I am trying to be more tolerant of it. People enjoy writing and reading power fantasy of “Love conquers all” and “Chosen One child becomes a god” trope. Which is cool 🙂
Reborn doesn’t trash this trope and make it unreadable – far from it. Not once did I ever stopped reading the novel out of sheer frustration. It kept me entertained. Many people will love the path the kids take, and I did enjoy it overall, but I found their powers at times a bit “overpowered”. There are moments in which I had to blink and go “Why are these hardened fighters just bending over for this girl?” I would have liked a little more conflict for their path against the evil king. But, this is a series, so I am going to guess that the difficulties will only increase. In which case, that will be okay for me. I would have liked more conflict overall, but it was pretty solid for the introduction into the series.
I would have liked more conflict overall, but it’s still very well written, and gives you a scale of how vast the world is. It ends on an open-ended note showing there is still a lot to come into the second book, with many questions I want answered.
Overall, I highly recommend Reborn. Good quality writing, a very large and immersive world and there’s a lot of fighting. If the story had any flaws, it’d just be that sometimes it infodumped a bit too much for my taste (Battle scenes and histories in particular) and that my personal opinion against the “kids” grated on me, but this is just a hard-to-please fantasy writer babbling, and in epic fantasy, some level of history dump is kind of to be expected! Do not let this take anything anyway from Linn or Reborn.
It’s an excellent read and I frankly cannot wait to see what happens next!