"Be part of building a new kingdom, eh? Well, I admit that be an offer a man does no' get every day. What say ye, daughter?"
"We came looking for work. I say this fits the bill."
Broden and his daughter Riana have spent their lives as archers and hunters for their mountain village - and outcasts as well. When the infamous Court Wizard of Estole shows up, they discover they have the special affinity for magic he desperately needs. The two agree to his offer of becoming wizard-partners with him and his sister, but neither Broden nor Riana really know what to expect. Estole is a new country, only months old, and rife with problems as the new king tries to create a government, new laws, and fight off the old country he absconded from. They quickly learn that it will take every ounce of skill they have to keep their new countrymen alive and safe.
©2014 Alisha Yockey (P)2015 Alisha Yockey
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"Semi - plausible world building"
The world building is a little shaky - several anomalies and inconsistencies - but the overall plot is sound.
Andrew Cass as a narrator is ok, but Katie Griffin's accents and diction is very terrible on the ears - so much so that it's the main deterrent to my getting the next book in the series
When I first started this book, I thought I had stumbled onto a real gem. It might even get my first 5-star rating. Alas, it wasn't quite able to maintain the momentum. Still good, just not the masterpiece I thought I'd found.
"Arrows of Change" starts out as strong as any book I have read in the last couple of years. The author does a great job of mixing action, character, and (important for a fantasy setting) world-building all at once. On top of that, all of it was solid - solid characterization, sensible world-building, and action that doesn't feel forced.
Unfortunately, after that things started to bog down a little More main characters are introduced. Think a little (for those of you who follow it) of "Game of Thrones." In both the book and the show characters disappear for long stretches of time because there are so many main characters. That works for a 1200-page book, but it doesn't work as well for shorter fiction. You could actually argue that the kingdom of Ish is the main character of the story, but you follow people in this book and not kingdoms. I'd say you have 5 main characters here, and you lose sight of them regularly.
Also, lots of time is given to the difficulty (and tedium) of building a new kingdom. The action really diminishes. While the need for law enforcement (and law making) is sound and everything that happens makes sense, it got a little slow in parts. The "villain" is also never seen, only felt, and that tends to dampen the feeling of conflict.
The narration for the audiobook is decent. Both of the narrators are young and could use some practice before their work is top-tier but the potential is there. They do a good job of differentiating characters and work to inject the proper emotion for the moment. (They could use a better studio space - background noise would bleed in occasionally.) I give the author high marks, though, for the decision to use a male and female duo to narrate the book. Men doing bad female voices (and vice versa) is one of the most frequent complaints I hear about audiobooks (even by some of the best narrators) and this is a simple solution to that.
Overall I'd give this book 3.5 stars for story and 4 for narration. This is a solid start to a good fantasy series. I think further books will not focus as much on kingdom-building so the action will flow better. Don't pass up the first book, though, or you'll miss out on how it all got started.
"Arrows of Change"
Honor ' books are always an enjoyable listen and I would follow the series further
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