Okay, so I wanted to like this book. I enjoyed the first chapter. I read it without reading finishing the preview chapter because if I remember correctly I liked the blurb and just decided to say yes to this book cause fantasy is my thing. I also remember in the first take of the video I read the first paragraph of this and was like what in the entire fuck is going on (swears are coming back into my reviews cause real life me does this so… meh) Bear in mind that it’s the exact same blurb except it’s titled synopsis in the request. All in all the first paragraph is just odd, and the rest tells what is going to happen in the book but I got a good 28 percent into this book and nothing in the blurb seems to be on its way to happening. As far as the blurb breakdown goes it almost feels like it tells too much and even in that, none of what it tells has happened in the first quarter so it doesn’t deliver on that promise.
That out-of-the-way, transitions are non-existent. Scenes just happen. There is zero in-between. Also, introductions are odd. At the end of the second chapter the queen of the elves walks in on a soldier who is apparently with two other soldiers. She only talks to one. None of the other two are named, and then at the end one talks, his name is spliced into what he said and then he continues speaking and I was like there’s someone else here? I don’t remember anyone else. I had to go back and reread it to find the fact that indeed two elves came in with the one elf speaking. They were not introduced and only one spoke and instead of it saying something like ‘one of the elves that came in with’ the soldier who has been talking. You know like an introduction of him, it just name drops like readers already know which soldier is the one being named. The conversation is about a wounded soldier and that’s all we know. No conversation about which warriors would be the best ones to take. No questioning of the wounded to figure out exactly what they were dealing with or a conversation about that conversation if it had happened off page with the soldier revealing this to the queen. She simply says deal with it and that’s what happens.
Some of the conversations are stilted too. Like when the troll says mockingly ‘have other trolls entered the woods’, he knows they have, and the elves also know this. So why is the elf responding like, ‘I know not how. You must leave’. It seemed odd. Like why not ‘don’t be coy with us troll, you and the others must leave’ I dunno. After this weirdness it’s all flee the cave dark magic is afoot. Trolls that could not even step into the woods before are in it and causing harm. The elves are aware evil magic is about knowing this they just roll up in a dark cave and demand the trolls begone and they thought it would be easy? This is what I mean about the queen just saying take some men and go with no real discussion happening about what they may or may not be up against so they could go in prepared for foreign or dark magic. It’s hard to believe that elves that have lived extremely long lives would be this unprepared. Caught off guard, yes, but there was a certain arrogance in going in with the knowledge they had not taking into account they might be faced with new and different magic.
And lastly, if the other elves are too young to stay help and fight, why oh why oh why are they even being brought along. They are fleeing because this is not their fight. I’m honestly all sorts of confused by this. The elves would knowingly bring along youth that were not prepared for the type of dark magic they would come up against? This is even more odd when later on they do not have to flee and stay and fight something that, from what I can tell, is more dangerous so why are they fleeing here?
This is when the lack of transitions comes into play again. Scene just ends. An elf says this will take some time and it’s over. What will take some time? What are they about to do? Is the fight over or not? I know it’s not cause the evil resumed its attack so?… We don’t find out. Suddenly we are outside talking about how the warriors who fled who are now staring glowing cave in awe. It isn’t explained why it is awe-inspiring as we don’t know what the elves inside are doing, other than glowing. Which is somehow magically defeating the enemy. Or not. We aren’t given any proof. And then the scene ends. So we are just going to leave the warriors in the cave fighting evil and not tell the readers? We are just done here?
Next scene Efkin our supposed to be hero is walking somewhere far away from the war scene and new things are happening. No transition. How did we get here? How did the fight end? What happened in the last chapter to get the soldiers from outside of the cave to this scene. Apparently none of that stuff is relevant. So onward we go. There’s some talk about men being evil and so on and so forth which could be good character building which is fine but a lot of this could’ve happened if a decent transition from the cave scene to this one had occurred. And then, this chapter literally ends telling us what the title told us. So it’s like I read a whole chapter to see why it is titled this but most of the chapter was not about that at all. It got one little ending paragraph.
Next chapter… three boys in ceremonial gowns walking towards a throne. Hold up. We were just in a forest discussing the virtue of men. How did we get into the throne room? Why wasn’t there a mention of this ceremony happening between Efkin and his friend’s talk in the woods? What is the purpose of this ceremony? Why is it important? The lack of transitional topics, or information about what’s actually happening makes it hard to connect to these scenes. This one in particular. I read this entire sequence waiting for the ball to drop and explain the ceremony, if it did I can’t remember. But it’s titled the gift of the druids which, just like the last chapter the reason is revealed the end. The only thing this procession does is describe some characters around him. There is even a bit where it says the waning power of the elves could be seen when a certain blue flame wielder performs the rites for the ceremony that I still have no clue of what it is for. But he doesn’t do these things so no comparison to how beautiful they were long ago as to now is made so I’m wondering why it’s even mentioned.
There’s a page break that leads to the next scene, when the party is dwindling down so yeah. Never explained to the readers. It says Efkin finds himself in the woods walking through the trees. At the end of a big and long scene where his name was only mentioned in the beginning which made this one of the few scenes where you knew who was experiencing the action, he finds himself laying down staring up at the stars. Was this a dream sequence? I dunno that it was ever explained. It wasn’t even explained if it was a premonition or a dream. I am assuming dream because it happened outside of the party. But as he thought it was strange. So did I. A bit intriguing but more confusing than anything else, so naturally I read on to see what would come of it. He gets up sees the party going on see’s a fox. Page break then ‘He woke up to the light of dawn in his room’.
Like more what the fuck. Where is the transition from waking up from a vision to getting to his room?
Did he go back to the party? Did he go straight to his room? Did anyone notice he was gone long enough for such an intense dream sequence, or not a dream sequence. Why are we being vague about whether it is a dream or not. Especially when it clearly says Efkin keeps going do the water for days after in the morning waking from visions. So clearly it’s recurring and it’s a dream so why isn’t it written this way the first time? But I digress. The point being still there is no transition. We end somewhere and in the next section are just magically somewhere else without the in-between. And just so we are clear, at this point we are only 13% into the story. So the lack of transitional scenes is already a major hindrance in understanding the plot.
Also the author doesn’t use names enough. Efkin’s name isn’t mentioned once that I can find in-between the first dream sequence and waking up in his room and after the next page break it’s still all He. It starts of with in the next one, for days afterwards he, so who is he. Both times as a page break signifies a shift and any character could be revealed, it should’ve started with Efkin woke in his chambers, and then For days after Efkin wandered… There’s something lacking in the clarity of the writing here along with new scenes up to this point 0without transitions.
Lastly in the transition game. The one that stopped it all for me ‘an elf’ sees something strange or feels a presence and finds a torch floating in a river leading away from a cavern, oak. Also simultaneously another elf is being chased by an evil force. Neither elf has a name so far. In the middle of the chase elf number two is suddenly saved by an elf with a name that we know. Wyn. So was Wyn the elf that saw the torch? When did he get into the cave? Did he rush from the torch to the caverns sensing danger and get there just in time? How did any of this happen? And most importantly why does the elf being saved not have a name? Things just happening doesn’t end here. Wyn then puts him on the horse and goes to the castle. The next chapter begins with Wyn entering the cave with soldiers.
So we don’t know who was saved; we do not know what happened once he got back to the palace and took him to the infirmary to tend to his wounds see if he was okay, to asses how the magic that had attacked him might have harmed him permanently or would he heal. No discussion of what Wyn had seen with the soldiers he takes he takes with him that reveals a plan for the best way to go forth. We just put a man on a horse and the immediate next action is they are at the cave. All the things involved with saving someone’s life and then going to get the soldiers specifically needed for the task based on what Wyn knew and hopefully from the saved elf once he saw to it he was in safe hands, none of this, apparently, is important or relevant to the plot. Accept it is. Like so much character-building could’ve been done here. Also for a blurb that was all about Efkin up until now not much beyond his confusing dream sequences has been about him. Even the dreams aren’t really about him specifically but maybe about things he needs to do. So as it stands I know nothing about him as an Elf or who his parents are or anything. Same as I don’t know why he and two other elves were important enough for a ceremony that wasn’t talked about.
And in this attack, the young elves are not asked to flee. They stay and fight but this foe is even stronger than the last so it feels a bit inconsistent. The big upshot here though is this fight sequence is on page. It was fun for the most part but some things in it were off but I’m just sticking to transitions and characters for this review.
Then the queen is anti-war. But it’s clear something needs to be done. The author finds a way to cleverly deflect this with a druid so bonus points there but ultimately war is coming. We know this, but for some strange reason we are not preparing for it. Why not take action? who knows. I didn’t read enough for that payoff. But that is the gist of the council meeting. Still I trudged on. I mean I am pushing through the lack of details and awkward transitions for the greater good of finishing this. Then the real fun happens. Another page break and then some He paragraphs.
Now the last time this happened the He referenced Wyn, I have no real proof of this but let’s just assume I am right. The time before this multiple pages of He was all Efkin, and here we are again, with no other characters introduced and I have to guess at who is dreaming this time, and it’s not in Italics so I assumed it wasn’t a dream and was actually happening just like Efkin’s. In any case, it’s the saved elf. He wakes up, and his name is Fayer. The real issue here is an elf comes and says Fayer is waking up before the dream sequence during the meeting. This doesn’t mean much. The elf’s name was not mentioned when he was saved. There was nothing of him once he was put on the horse, so I have no idea if he’s dead or alive. And then after an entire chapter of defeating the evil that attacked him, the following chapter up until the dream is all about the impending doom at the council meeting. This ends with come quickly Fayer awakes. My first thought was who is Fayer. Cause I legitimately don’t know as the author hasn’t told the readers.
A lot of this ‘assumption’ based writing happens in the story. And on top of that, the He sequence is similarly vague as all the previous ones so even if I knew it was him I still had no concrete evidence it was him dreaming. And most importantly he is only back for the dream because there’s someone in it with an empty sheath and Efkin has this sword. And this one really got me, one of them says You are Fayer, when he wakes. An elf literally summoned them to his bedside by saying Fayer awakes, why are we now saying You are Fayer, like the characters have magically forgotten who he is?
The problem with this particular good piece of connection is everything I’ve already said. Without all the groundwork, and character development, and good transitions, and clarity of who is where at what time experiencing what, when something as good as a dream sequence revealing something about a sword, after the information that the queen already gave about the sword and also after seeing the sword in action defeating the very evil that put Fayer in the infirmary, it just falls flat because I’m spending almost every page trying to figure out what’s going on because so much information isn’t there. If I knew who Fayer was, if they had discussed his condition previously before going off to the caves, and if they had checked on him after returning from the caves I would’ve been emotionally invested in his outcome and then more intrigued by this suspenseful plot drop. As it is, he was literally a device to get them to the cave and bring mystery about the sword and served no other purpose so the mystique around something that should’ve been amazeballs is hard to connect with.
I really wanted to like this. Like with every fibre of my being. But none of the characters get enough outside of the action page time to develop them, outside of the one scene where Efkin is talking to his friend about how all humans can’t be bad. That was a nice scene it was just awkwardly placed. Then there are zero transitions, like zero. We are just one place in one scene and then magically somewhere else in the next. It gives the impression of stuff just happening and stuff not happening simultaneously. And then the author’s refusal to state the characters experiencing certain scenes with paragraphs and even pages of He before a name drop, leaves a confusing situation every time.
The stuff that should’ve happened, basically the glue to make all the scenes on page stick isn’t there and not being clear about who is in the scene we are reading and introducing people at the right time to keep things clear for the reader just made this an extreme struggle for my brain to wrap around. The writing itself was mostly fine, but technically it didn’t hit any of the notes expected and the character development never really took off. I couldn’t finish this book knowing that it would likely continue down this path of intentionally not introducing characters in scenes and not connecting scenes together. If you can get by without that type of stuff maybe this book will be a hit for you. But for me, it just breathed incomplete and confusing and I couldn’t do it. Also, I may or may not have said 2stars in the video. I honestly cant remember since I did two takes but these things did annoy me too much to give it more than one star.
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