After a couple of re-reads and forays into different genres, I’m back to reading fantasy. This time, I picked up quite a popular series, and was pleasantly surprised by it.
If you follow me for a while, especially when it comes to reading, I seem to have a major issue with popular books: high expectations. Not this time. The opening book of R. K. Lander’s series had gripped me quite well, as demonstrated by the short reading time.
The book starts focusing on Fel’annár and his friends, as they journey to enlist as novice warriors. At that point, the book starts as a bit slow-paced but the setting had gripped me quite fast anyway. Fel’annár is a half-breed: half-Silvan, half-Alpine elf. Growing up in a remote Silvan village, that’s what he feels to be inside, even though his appearance is mostly Alpine. He knows little about the troubled times and the growing diplomatical conflict between the Silvans and the Alpines, but as soon as he enlists, it starts catching up with him. More so when he isn’t fond being called an Alpine – the Alpine novices take it as an insult that a half-breed would chose to see himself more as what some of them consider the “lower” race. Fel’annár knows almost nothing about his origins, but his short temper – especially when being called an Alpine -gives him quite some struggle during the early training.
By this point, the book had me. Despite being of slower pace than I’d expect for a book on the shorter side, it made me sympathize with Fel’annár a lot. When he gets to see real battle and his hard training and mastery shows, it leads further trouble, more so when it seems there’s way more to him than one would expect. When something awakens within him, it’s enough to make him the center of attention.
As the book progresses, the other PoV characters give more hints about the political situation and how Fel’annár is tied to it – I won’t spoil it, but Fel’annár’s origins are revealed during this books, it’s dealing with them that will be a major source of trouble in the future – the last three chapters are quite a long bridge into the future issues to unfold in book two.
A collection of random notes at the end: I love the cover – simple but does its job more than well. The other is slightly longer – the book is written in third person that doesn’t exactly follow one character per scene, but continuously moves from one head to another. This isn’t bad on its own but, after reading books mostly in stricter third-person PoV and receiving more than enough comments on matter of PoV clarity for my own project, it took me a bit to get used to that style.
And, finally, the series is supposed to be 6 books long, and the sixth book was originally sheduled for fall 2021, but is slightly delayed. That mean I may read only the first three books and return later, if that’s still the case when I finish the third book.