"Come. Let us go and sit somewhere comfortable, and I will tell you the story."
Orienne Seritan is a loyal Adelfian who wants nothing more than peace for her country and a life free from the darkness and violence of war. But when the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy entangles her life and the fates of those she loves with the destiny of an embittered traitor, she finds herself being dragged even deeper into the darkness.
Enemies are pouring over her nation’s borders. People she loves are dying. The cryptic prophecy offers no clues as to who will be left standing at its end...nor does it disclose the magnitude of the role that Orienne is destined to play.I finished reading this book several days ago, but it was the sort of book I had to mull over before I felt that I could give it a proper review.
First of all, I have the pleasure of personally knowing the author and having her for a friend, so that fact made this book so much more personable to me. I could practically hear her voice when I was reading some of the dialogue, the phrasing and tone were exactly like her manner of speaking in real life.
What I Didn't Like
I have to be honest, it took me a while to get into this book. The prophecy was, as it says in the above description, cryptic. I read, and reread, and reread it in the front of the book before starting the story, but that did not help. Once I got into the story I did appreciate that the author put one phrase of the prophecy before each chapter, so at least I knew what part of the prophecy was supposed to be happening. However, I did wonder a time or two if I was dumber than I thought, since I could not connect the dots between the characters and how they were a part of the prophecy. But about two-thirds of the way through the book the pieces began to fall into place, and some very helpful conversations took place between characters that finally enabled me to understand what it all meant.
My only other critique I think would be that I would have appreciated a name pronunciation guide. Unfortunately, due to the way I advanced in reading when I was little, pronunciation seems to be an Achilles heel of mine. It has been my experience that fantasy authors take full liberty in creating some of the weirdest names possible that have odd spellings, which makes it a nightmarish world for someone like me. While the author of Wren-Falcon kept her names much simpler, I still would have liked to know for sure that I was reading them correctly.
What I Did Like
The overall tone of this story is most definitely dark, so don't expect a light read. It begins dark and leaves you feeling pretty hopeless for the majority of the book, but in the end, it wraps up in a much lighter way, and you finish feeling full and satisfied, as though you have paid your dues when it comes to suffering and now you get the sweet reward of a good ending.
It took me a while to understand the geography of this world. I flipped back to the map in the front many times before I began to get my compass straight. It made me feel as if this was a much more real world, one that was more complicated and had to be studied in order to be understood.
I loved the description of the capital Adelfian city Farindel. A city built into a mountain covered in buildings with beautiful architecture, colors, and districts where street musicians play and artists show their colorful wares. And a very sacred garden that is filled with light. It was like Minas Tirith meets Dale and Cair Paravel all in one. I wish Farindel was real place so that I could explore it.
I loved the depiction of God as Shield. It was such a comforting illustration.
I loved the way the author created government ranking for the kingdom of Adelfia. The Ransom is made up of six "Sons of the Shield", with the First-Born being the leader. It gave a distinctive quality to the culture created in this book that made it feel fresh.
What I Want More Of
This book is the first of six I believe, since there are six prophecies. This particular story took place in Adelfia, where the main character is from. I enjoyed learning about their nation, and their way of doing things. But a few other nations were introduced, and I would like to know more about the culture and backgrounds of Meador, Athragani, Arcamere, and especially, Moritar. I hope that some of the characters in the other books get to come from these other nations, so that I might get a full view of this world.
Speaking truthfully, I had a hard time connecting with the main character Orienne. I don't know that this was fault in the writing or the character herself, I just didn't feel a connection at all. I actually bonded more with her brother Allegar, who I loved, some of the other Ransom, and the other main character, Sorek. I would love to connect deeply with the star character in the other books.
It was such a pleasure for me to get read a book written by a friend and fellow writing comrade who I greatly admire and enjoy. Mary has worked so hard to reach this place and she should be proud of what she has accomplished. This book is a work of art that needs to be shared.
You can purchase her book and journey to Adelfia here! And please, check out her blog over Enter the Writer's Lair.