Thursday, February 1, 2018

Road of the Lost

Road of the Lost: Book One of the Judges CycleRoad of the Lost: Book One of the Judges Cycle by Aidan Russell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The magical forest Miradep has found itself swarming with those who do not belong. The Dark Elves and their Ogre allies are infesting the forest and endangering those they come across. Reslo, a Sylan Elf and Guardian of Old Column Road, finds himself thrust into the dangerous events with the unwanted help of two brand new Knights, Sir Jerah and Sir Gratas. The Knights were also sidetracked from their mission of finding their orders champion who went missing in Miradep along with a legendary sword. This unlikely trio are the only ones who can protect those they love from all out war.

Road of the Lost is an ambitious and action filled story. Unfortunately those aspects are both good and bad. I enjoy vast world's filled with lots of details and tidbits, but unfortunately the story was more focused on establishing the world for sequels instead of telling a strong and coherent story. The first 35 percent or so of the book was spent largely going from one aimless fight to another without paying any real attention to why things were happening. At roughly 35 percent a largely vague and trite plot is unveiled, find the crystals, save the forest, and perhaps the world.

The main characters Reslo, Jerah, and Gratas didn't really resonate with me. For most of the book Reslo was annoyed with Jerah and Gratas, Jerah and Gratas were annoyed with Reslo, and I was largely annoyed with all three of them. Their interactions were supposed to come across as funny or at least pleasant at times, but they didn't do anything positive for me.

The best part of the book were the plentiful fights and battles. The three main characters were certainly not afraid to find themselves in a shuttle and the book did a good job describing their battles.

Road of the Lost laid a lot of the groundwork for the Judges Cycle series and hopefully that work pays off more in the sequels.

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Crimson Vault

The Crimson Vault (Traveler's Gate, #2)The Crimson Vault by Will Wight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Damasca and Enosh find themselves preparing for war. Simon is torn about who to side with, Alin or his fellow Valinhall Travelers. As all this is happening an even worse threat emerges, the Valinhall Incarnation is free and intends to kill the king and anyone he deems unworthy.

The Crimson Vault was a solid sequel to the House of Blades. It suffers from being the middle book in the series as it's trying to set a lot up at once. The most disappointing part is the increased point of view time from Alin, Leah, and some other travelers. Alin is a spectator for the majority of the book which leads to the reader learning seemingly all of Enosh's plans. Leah is important, but I find her uninteresting. I wanted to see more point of view chapters from Simon, Indirial, and any of the other Valinhall Travelers. I came to see them and got too much of Alin, Leah, and some random characters.

The book took on a quite political storyline. Two opposing sides each with useful points, but unwilling to cooperate. The Damascans bound the uncontrollably powerful incarnations at the cost of 9 lives a year. The Enosh found that detestable and wish to free the Incarnations in order to stop the sacrifices. Yet they don't consider the possible devastation a single Incarnation could cause let alone all 10 of them. Neither side seems totally right or wrong. Either way people will suffer and die.

The strength of the series continues to be the Valinhall Travelers. Simon and Indirial are the two characters I found myself being most interested in and concerned about. Kai is strange to put it mildly, but interesting. The book doesn't show enough about Denner to get a good feel for him, but he seems like a solid character when he appears. Honesty I would have enjoyed the book more if it was told entirely from their point of views.

The Crimson Vault wasn't what I had hoped for, but it was good enough that I will be reading the next book shortly.

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