Elegant: The language usage in this book is somewhat formal while still flowing in a natural way. It creates an enchanting mental image of a world that is, by contrast, rather cutthroat.
Worlds apart: Astura is both beautifully described and well developed; you’re comfortable with the setting long before more complex elements are brought into the story. One thing I greatly appreciated was the way you’re introduced to startlingly different areas through the different POV characters. Terra, on the other hand, remains a bit fuzzy in my mind. True, you don’t spend much time there, but much of your knowledge of the place is gained through the characters’ thoughts, creating a mental image in retrospect.
Going with the flow: Magic is performed through a co-operative effort between a User and an Interrupter. It’s a great concept. I also like the fact that Light and Dark aren’t synonymous with Good and Evil, although this does appear to contradict itself in that the Dark Users are mostly bad guys.
You don’t feel the length: This is a fairly long book, but it never feels like a mission to read. Events flow in a very natural way and the changes in POV are well executed.
Creatures and people: Characters in this book have distinct positive and negative qualities, resulting in well-rounded personalities. They make for good company and it’s easy to get attached to them. There aren’t an overwhelming number of strange creatures, but those that feature are fascinating. The ancient evil beings ooze malevolence and are creepy enough to give you goosebumps.
I did not see that coming: The plot progresses steadily throughout the book and slaps you through the face with some surprising twists near the end.
What I didn’t like:
Stilted conversations to inform us: Some of the dialogue near the beginning is a little off, mainly because it’s used to explain the magic system. It does this job well, but it seems a bit odd to me that they speak this way about a topic which is familiar to them.
Maybe this is cleared up later in the series: I like cross genre books, but I like them even more when there’s a clear mix of genre elements, or a string of solid clues that things aren’t to be taken at face value.
I do wish I could’ve gotten a clearer mental image of Terra, but Astura is clearly the star of the show here. Crystalyn’s crush on Darkwind annoyed me, partly because crushing characters who turn a blind eye annoy me in general. On the whole, this imaginative and unique fantasy has everything a fan of this genre could want in a book.
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