Copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Consideration before reading:This book is an indie work.
So basically, Plague Jack (I’m 90% sure that’s his real name) has done the entire job by himself (I’m guessing). Books are not about having a good idea and writing it down in an appealing way anymore, book industry nowadays is a lot about marketing: writing the story people would buy and pretty covers. I’m not getting into a big rant about this; I just want to point out that, as an indie book and the first work of the author, SoaS is a little bit undercooked in some aspects (as spelling issues) that I choose to overlook in the light of it being a really bold move. What can I say… I’m an admirer of all indie things.
“Events have been set in motion that cannot be undone, and when he returns the sky will go dark and the stars will be unmade.”
Sins of a Sovereignty, first installment of The Amernia Fallen series, indeed sets up the beginning of what seems to be a complex and an exciting story
to come. This novel is mainly focused on characters development and world building
, and maybe too little on a particular sequence of events. Chapters are presented on a POV way, narrated on a 3rd person with the particular perception of some characters and several flashbacks here and there of the previous events that lead to the present day.
I spent almost half of the book trying to set up the background history of this world on my mind, which is not that easy considering it’s delivered through the book in little glimpses (that did very well on keeping me interested). So, let me give you a head start…
The land of Amernia has being scarred by two wars: the Rose Rebellion, that expelled the Vaetorian conquerors, and the Green War, that stopped the usurping attempts of Prince Darius. The latter did not only leave the north of the country inhabitable cause of a poisonous gas, but also encouraged the resentment and hostility between humans and elfkin. Since the end of the Green War, elves, dwarfs,
and big, not-so-brilliant gildnoids
have to spend their lives being look down as sub-humans. This is only setting up for disaster right?
As for characters, they’re developed in a quite multifaceted manner. It really reminds me of GRRM in the sense of not being an only protagonist, and every one of the character not being inherited evil or good, but driven by different events that shape their personalities. Among them, we have:
♦ Clark Pendragon, the honorable veteran of both wars. He participated willingly by the side of his best friend King Gabriel Roselock in the Rose Rebellion. After Gabriel’s death, he followed dutifully his Queen to another war that would leave him only guilt, regret, and a small uncertainty about where his loyalty should truly lay.
♦ Minerva Roselock, the Blood Queen. A ruthless ruler that accepts any means to her goals, although, oddly her goals seem to be nothing but unselfish. A beautiful, intelligent and brave woman, whose strong measurements have being drifting her alone and isolated from any other person.
♦ Calcifer, the Bottler. A young elf that has suffered the consequences of the Green War, chosen personally by The Life Bringer God to impart justice between the gifted ones that give a wrong use to their powers, the hellions
. But he’s no saint himself; he carries the name of a feared legend, but deep inside remains a very conflicted young boy.
♦ Shrike, the Queen’s Spymaster. A witty, clever dwarf that knows too much for his own good. A true realistic and funny as they come; remains loyal to the Queen as long as it solves his personal interests.
This are the POV characters that we really get to know
. There are few other significant to the plot; as Duchess Veronica Evrill, the inventor. This woman embodies a standout and distinctive feature of this book: technology.
We’re set on typical magical medieval world, but we see hints of inventions characteristic of a modern society that give this fantasy a steampunky
feel to it (Yeah, let's make "steampunk fantasy" happen!). Dialogs also fluctuate between really formal and informal, which I myself feel gives this book some sort of lightness in a good way.
The plot is pretty lineal, events flow as expected for the most part. There are very few shocking moments, which didn’t even bother me as caught up as I was with the world building and characters interactions. Some particular geographic spots, as Harpy’s Point, are ideated and described amazingly, and some secondary characters, as Joseline, give a really pleasant surprise.
The dark scenes are very well written. At times I got a bit disgusted about what I was reading and peculiarly quite excited all at once.
A real lacking point: A map at the beginning. Just saying... many of my favorite books start with maps.
At the very end, I just feel privileged of have being able to read this book. I know for sure that with a little luck and little help for the author, this saga could become an outstanding work in the fantasy genre.
If you've never "read that book before it was cool", this is your chance!