Saturday, 7 September 2013

Harbinger (Fate's Forsaken: Book One) by Shae Ford

So, long story short it's been a bit of a rough week.

I went from having a nasty cold to having a pinched nerve in my neck painful enough that literally had me bed ridden for the past few days.

However being bed ridden isn't all that bad when you have a good book to read.
and make no mistake this is a good book. Normally when amazon suggests books for me to read it's normally crap i would never touch but the description of this book really intrigued me. i bought it early august but unfortunately just couldn't find the time to read it.

kinda happy i held off cause otherwise these past two days would have been a slog.

before i go into plot i should put my personal bias out there to keep in mind as your read.
I love fantasy novels with interesting magic systems.
i'm not the biggest fan of dragons though if used well i tend to enjoy what they add to the world.
if a characters name needs to have an apostrophe in it then i will probably loath the story.
and finally, i prefer stories that have interesting characters that drive the plot instead of just plot happening with any old people.

The story begins by following Kael, a young boy (17) with muddied red hair as a sign that he's a little different then the other villagers... apparently everyone born in these unforgiving mountains has a mop of fiery red hair... yet his is tainted with brown. He knows he is different and destined for adventure just like the one he's read about since he was little. Everything changes when he stumbles across a half dead girl and after nursing her back to health his destiny starts to become a bit more clear. Shortly after she wakes up his village is attack, they are searching for her and willing to kill anyone who stands in their way... Kael's grandfather Amos uses a misterious power known as Whispering in order to force the boy to run to safety with the girl... from there Kael vows to avenge his village and save his grandfather.
However a quest never happens in a straight line, certain things need to be accomplished before he can even going against the one who potentially killed the only people he's cared for.

and i think thats why i like this book, while there is always a goal it's not some prophecy pulling the forward... it's more of cause an effect, certain things can't be done if other things don't happen first... even though he wants to go on a murdering spree to avenge his family he can't unless he has an army... he can't have an army unless he wins them over to his cause.... he can't win them over without showing his potential power and doing favors that help their cause. It's all just really nicely balanced.

Also i love all the characters. Kael is always doubting himself and even when he accomplishes amazing things he still doesn't accept praise easily or shrugs it off as a fluke.
Kyleigh, the girl he saves, is always quick, funny, strong and mysterious... she could easily kick your ass but is not above doing the occasionally girly thing as well (though you may have to fight her tooth and nail to get her to try on a dress)
Aerilyn, the daughter of a merchant trope they help protect early on, is also a strong character despite how girly she is... she learns how to fight and keep herself safe while still loving all things pretty.
Jonathan, her crass friend who considers himself a bit of a rogue always adds a nice bit of comedy to any scene he graces... though i really look forward to seeing where his story goes cause i see some real potential.
Lysander, a Pirate captain who seems to have been cursed by an old witch and refuses to help without being helped in return.
and Jake, a battlemage who seems to be more interested in books then the world around him.

See! see that! i remembered all their names... not a single god damn apostrophe in sight! that is how you give people fantasy names but still have them memorable! sorry but it really is a pet peeve cause if i don't know how to pronounce something i will not remember it.

but best of all is the magic system(s)
and their are quite a few.

These fall into three (i guess four technically) categories.
People who specialize in healing - they can mend any bone or cure any sickness
People who specialize in crafting - they can craft anything with amazing realism or strength
People who specialize in war.  - practically unbeatable, strong in battle and strategy
whisperers only tend to fall into one category... except in times of trouble where one is born with all three gifts known as Wrights. They also have the power to shape the world around them and remember everything they read.

i just think it's such a cool system.
then you have mages who are the natural enemies to the whisperers... they tend to have impliments that they channel their magic through made of different materials... at this point i still don't know much about them other then if you spill a mages blood near a whisperer bad things happen.

Finally you have Shapechangers.
a nearly extinct race of people who can change into certain animals... said to live two lives (a human one and one the same as the animal they change into) these people were hunted down by the king and used as slaves in order for him to keep control.

the only other thing i should mention before i talk about what i liked and didn't is the 'big bad'
The king is a jerk, and he's hired 5 jerks to do jerky things to the people around him and therefor it should be pretty clear that the end of Kaels journey (i know no idea if this will be done in 3 books or more) he probably is going to have to face all the jerks and put them in their place. HOWEVER in this book there is only a little mention of them throughout so i don't wanna dwell on it.

The good:
Characters, magic system, length (around 500 pages), the fact that book two is already out so i can go right into reading it (though considering it was about a year between book 1 and 2s release i may be waiting a bit for 3), the way it's written... i just really like the voice this book has... it just works well in my opinion.

the not so good.
Considering how much enjoyed this book... i found it remarkable easy to put down.... normally i'll go 'just one more chapter' and before i know it it's done... i think maybe the fact that my only opition this past week was reading may have played into that? i'm not sure... i'll find out as i read book 2 cause i am almost fully healed.
also i think i've figured out a twist i wasn't supposed to figure out yet... again i wont know till i the book confirms or denies it but i'm hoping i'm wrong... or at least half wrong... i'm positive i'm half right... either way this goes in not so good more as me saying "i suck cause that would have been a kick ass reveal that i may have ruined for myself"

The bad
again mostly that i'll probably be waiting a while for book 3.... and i suck at waiting. but hey... i don't mind waiting for a good book.
oh.... and the title gave me flashbacks to a book that i loathed so every time i looked at it i had to remind myself "it's not that book, it has a different author... forget about that other crappy book" 

so yeah... go pick this up
Harbinger Kindle and paperback options
and you can check out Shae's Website

(also in looking for links to her stuff i realized she mentioned it'll be 4 books so yeah... should be good times.)

OK... onto Book 2~ Slight and Shadow

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