Author: Amanda Greenslade
Book one of The Astor Chronicles
A nineteen year old Kriite man, called Talon, is about to discover his place in the world. Even after meeting a ferocious icetiger claiming to be his new bond partner (Rada-kin), Talon doesn’t know how rapidly his life is about to change. Not only has he become a Rada, an enemy people is about to take over his homeland.
Along with his guide, the formidable red haired warrior with her firetiger, he is on a quest not only to discover the true greatness of his power, but also to find a way to defend his people.
I received a free copy from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Light. Glorious, blue prisms of light sparkled of every leaf and branch.
Personally I like the first sentence of this book because it sets the scene and the atmosphere at that particular moment. It gave a good opportunity for some world building, but instead of doing so Talon meets his Rada-kin in the first couple of pages. That could have worked out fine if the rest of the book was written with the same forward movement. Unfortunately that was not the case and so the reader enters the story very quickly only the be held back after that.
A positive aspect was how the information of the history of this world was explained. The book is written in first person but instead of making it some kind of monologue in order to inform the reader on the history, Talon informed his Rada-kin. I think this is an original way to handle things.
In the first chapter the icetiger is awakened and knows nothing of the world of humans because she has lived as an animal without spirit she met Talon, so she has no knowledge about humans yet and has to learn it all from Talon. (Don’t worry if this is a little vague to you, it’s all explained in the book). But even though the information, history and religion mostly, was given in an original way I felt like I missed some information in order to fully understand Talon and his kind. The idea of not taking some random 15 year old as a main character but choosing someone who is nearing his twenties is a big plus. There are too many young adult novels where I think the main character is acting too much like a twenty year old instead of acting the way a fifteen year old should. Making Talon nineteen and giving him a somewhat naïve view on some events (like women) creates new opportunities which will not seem as unreal because he acts someone his age could (and probably should in this world).
Another nice touch is the tiny map at the front. I’m usually not that much of a fan, but this one is not just there for the journey but also to illustrate that Jaria, and the other mentioned place, isn’t just a village but also a country.
One huge plus in my opinion is the relationship between Rada and Rada-kin. This is really well explained in the book, so I won’t go over the details in this review. I really like the idea of the ‘waves’ which support , among other things, the conversation between Rada and kin but also between two kins. The more information I got about the waves, the more dazzling it all became. These waves seem to control everything and so a Rada is also able to transform into every kind of animal he or she wants, as long as there is enough concentration that is.
I am just confused right now because this whole idea has so much potential and for some reason I keep thinking that there is something is lacking in this. It could have been so much more than it already is. For example instead of mentioning that the characters are moving through a forest, describe the look of the forest because there is a slim change that that particular forest looks the same as every other forest. I mean he comes from near the mountains and they are moving south so there ought to be some differences I reckon.
Then there are the clichés and the ‘give-aways’ as I’d like to call them. I think that there’s nothing wrong with using the right clichés, or making some things predictable, but here it got on my nerves. When someone in the story is already telling the main character that he/she has a great destiny in front of him/her I tend to slowly die inside.
Though the detail was a nice touch it sometimes felt like it didn’t really add up, either because of the lack of more detail to really create the image or because there was too much detail for the scene. For example, spoiler here!:
There is a scene where Talon is fighting one of his enemies and this enemy has one huge ugly and very sharp sword. Do I really need to believe that Talon is able to deflect that sword a couple of times with a fishing spear until it finally breaks? In this case it could have been wise to say that is was a very thick spear or that he deflected it with the upper half of the spear which could have been made from a lot of metal, or something like that.
Overall I really liked the idea but it could have been so much more. Even though there were a lot of aspects that I liked, there were also aspects that I didn’t like. I am not sure about this series yet, towards the ending I did get more hooked to the story so I do want to read the sequel. For now I give this series 2.5 stars because it didn’t quite do it for me.