4.5 Stars for a great fantasy read.
I had the great pleasure of being a beta reader for Red Tide, the third book of The Chronicles of the Exile, and I can honestly say it is Marc Turner best book yet. Normally I wouldn't share a review so far in advance of the publication, but I wanted to capture (and share) a few of my thoughts while they are still fresh in my mind.
Look for a more comprehensive review closer to the publication date.
Taking place almost immediately on the heels of Dragon Hunters, this is a story that reaches back to connect with some of the characters and stores of When the Heavens Fall. It's the book in the series where everything begins to come together, and where we begin to see hints of the bigger picture into which all the pieces will eventually fit.
My first impression of Red Tide was that it's a more human tale, less about gods and monsters than first two books, which fits with the conflict at the heart of the story. Pacing wise, this was a pretty even book. The first chapters are a bit slow, but there are a lot of characters to bring together, and several story lines (both new and existing) to connect. Once the story hits the half-way mark, it just barrels along, carrying the reader with it. In terms of narrative, it's a smoother book as well, with cleaner transitions between scenes and points-of-view that just better, giving the story a truly seamless feel.
I first read the first few chapters when they were put on Netgalley and I thought it was the complete book. After my initial disappointment I was very happy when I was later contacted and they asked me if I wanted to read the entire book. Of course I wanted this, as I had enjoyed the first chapters (even though I didn't understand too much about it).
Although I'm a bit inexperienced when it comes to large fantasy sagas (it's usually more like Game of Thrones), this was different from what I've read before, but in a good way. A simple act, a burglary in a temple will have major consequences, not unlike for example in Greek mythology.
Prepare for a large number and characters and shifting POVs. And if you expected to be told what's going on, you're wrong. Don't be afraid of large pieces of exposition because they are not there. Everything you learn is coloured by the character's thoughts and beliefs and you're left to puzzle things together and try to figure out what exactly is going on in that wood. (I'll be honest, it took me some time).
After the first few chapters I didn't understand what the book was about really, but I did like the fact that the Gods in this book, who ever they may be or represent actively mingle in the lives of the mortals while all the same hiding cowardly behind them. Exactly who or what the Spider is, I still don't know after reading the complete book. I'm however intrigued.
I liked the magic. It was complicated as in it takes a lot of time to figure it out, and more importantly, it's not just some ex machina solution to the hero's every problem. There are Elemental mages, necromancers, people sucking the live right out of people, a bunch of people not entirely good or bad but with one thing in common: they all have their own reasons to come look for the book. O, and their is an entire civilization of warrior zombies.
I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did. It was not a fast read, but I enjoyed every page. I'm really looking forward to the next book in this series!
When The Heavens Fall is the first book in the Chronicle of the Exile series. The second book, Dragon Hunters is expected to be published next year.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Moonlight Reader started the TBR Thursday, and I think it's a good way to a) show what new books I've got and b) confront myself with my inability to lower my TBR. In fact, since I started recording it, it has risen significantly. I get the feeling I'm doing something wrong here...
It feels like I've had a very good week, even though in the end I got more books than I first anticipated. However, I'm very happy with them and one (When the heavens fall) was a very nice surprise since I was asked to read it after reading the preview on Netgalley!