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Summary

Pawns in an endless war, scribes are feared and worshipped, valued and exploited, prized and hunted. But there is only one whose powers can determine the fate of the world....

Born into the ruins of Rzolka's brutal civil unrest, Anna has never known peace. Here, in her remote village - a wasteland smoldering in the shadows of outlying foreign armies - being imbued with the magic of the scribes has made her future all the more uncertain.

Through intricate carvings of the flesh, scribes can grant temporary invulnerability against enemies to those seeking protection. In an embattled world where child scribes are sold and traded to corrupt leaders, Anna is invaluable. Her scars never fade. The immunity she grants lasts forever.

Taken to a desert metropolis, Anna is promised a life of reverence, wealth, and fame - in exchange for her gifts. She believes she is helping to restore her homeland, creating gods and kings for an immortal army - until she witnesses the hordes slaughtering without reproach, sacking cities, and threatening everything she holds dear. Now, with the help of an enigmatic assassin, Anna must reclaim the power of her scars - before she becomes the unwitting architect of an apocalyptic war.

©2018 James Wolanyk (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

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Profile Image for Alex
  • Alex
  • 12-12-20

I just couldn't get through it

I honestly was surprised. I have a pretty good tolerance for long drawn out prose, which is definitely an issue with this book. So don't buy it if you don't like that style of writing. I mean, I guess I'm saying don't buy it at all, but definitely don't buy it of you don't like lengthy descriptive asides. I didn't find the narrator to be a problem as some of the other reviewers did, and I thought the writing was decent. But, and a big one, after listening to 19 chapters I realized I did not know what was happening and I just didn't care. 19 chapters is a long hook. I get invested in really awful books that are much more poorly written in a quarter of the time. In fact, I've read entire trilogies that I abhorred just because I like to know what's going to happen. I am a total sucker. It takes so little to engage me with a book. Even if the writing is bad, I'll just whip out a pen and edit as I read so I can still find out what's going to happen. Audiobooks are even easier for me to get lost in because I can over look a lot when I'm listening. So 19 chapters and I'm still not engaged? It's not a good sign. I almost finished it to be stubborn but then I realized that I could take a nap instead. The beginning of the story was heart wrenching and if the writer had continued with that level of character development, I would have eaten this book up. The main character is also hard to like, but again, I can get behind an antihero or good character who always makes bad choices. There are maybe 3 scenes in 19 chapters that built tension and moved the story along. Sadly that is just not enough. The story line is there but it is like hugging a fish, cold and moderately slimy. It may be weird to say, but I hope the writer will continue to publish. There is something about their prose I like. They just need a better story arc, some character growth, excitement, and tension building. Heck, maybe even a charismatic side kick or an actual fish with buggy eyes that we want to hug. I mean, anything to break up the tedium.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Genie Tabler
  • 27-02-21

narrator speech was to slow.

I struggled to finish this. Too much death and bastabbing. No reward at the end.

2 people found this helpful

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  • ;)
  • 01-03-18

There is a story in there somewhere...

James invites you in with an interesting premise, but soon drags you into the muck with over specific descriptions and details. Show don't tell is the name of the game, but there is also potency in brevity. I often had difficulty knowing what was going on in a scene because four lines would be used to describe an action when one would of done just fine.

It also does not help that the narrator sounds like she was just punched in the jugular, and then proceeded to light up a cigarette.. Natasha does fine with descriptions for the most part, though her narration comes off a bit try-hard. It's when she goes into character voice that I want to rip my ear buds out. Anna, who is the protagonist, has the most irritating voice in the whole audio book. Granted, there is reasoning for this in the beginning, but it doesn't make it any less irritating.

The story was intriguing, and so is the world James built. It's just bogged down by the heavy prose and narration (In my opinion of course).

If you do want to purchase this book, I highly recommend getting a print version or e-book.

7 people found this helpful

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  • ShawnaLanne
  • 18-08-21

It Goes On and On and On and On

I tried. I really did and I am someone who will listen to a 23 hour audio book straight through with some sleep in between and then back to it. But this? Pointless prose that just goes on and on and on with no real point. I could not finish it. It is rare that I write a review for a book that I didn't finish it, but this was hours of no plot progression.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-06-21

finally, a well written and original fantasy

its super dark and gritty. I love this book. the story , characters, the prose, everything is so good. its so hard to find good fantasy. I will be finishing the trilogy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-09-21

pretty good

This was pretty good. story line was good, performance was good. it flows well and I can see the potential for more books. It was a bit of a hard listen for me. I kept tuning out, I'm not sure if it was the story or the voice. all in all a good book.

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  • Lori
  • 08-05-21

Painful to listen to Anna speak

Good story. Could have been better if Anna wasn’t so whiny. The characters in the story were interesting.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Nyleve Harris
  • Nyleve Harris
  • 03-04-21

this is a kids book with bad words

I need fifteen words to rate this book but my title says it all. Not worth the listen for most adults.

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  • Kris Hutchison
  • 21-02-21

Should not blame the narrator for bad writing.

It is never explained why every character in this world has some sort of brain damage.
I know people in real life are inconsistent and flawed but this is just too much.

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Profile Image for Shantul Nigam
  • Shantul Nigam
  • 01-01-21

Good but slow story

The story was good but felt like it moved really slow.

I really did not like the voice that the narrator used for the main character.