It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs – once thought of almost as gods – were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them.
Author: James Islington
Category: Epic Fantasy
Series: The Licanius Trilogy
Twenty years ago the government of the Augurs, people with magical abilities even more powerful than the more common Gifted, was overthrown and the Augurs themselves were murdered. Even after two decades, those that are Gifted are despised by nearly everyone and must live by the incredibly restrictive Tenets set down in the Treaty that ended the war.
Davian is a student at one of the few remaining schools for the Gifted but ever since the first time he showed any abilities as a Gifted, he has been unable to use the power again despite intense studying. Should he fail his upcoming tests he will be turned into a Shadow, the only kind of person looked down upon more than the Gifted.
The night before his test, Davian is rushed off on a quest on the other side of the world with very little information except that the Boundary in the North may be failing. This quest leads him into mystery after mystery as every answer to a question yields only ten more questions.
This book is not a genre-changer. Much like The Faithful and the Fallen by John Gwynne, this book reads more like a homage to the epic fantasy stories of a handful of decades ago rather than something out to revolutionize and be the next game-changer.
However, what it does, it does exceedingly well.
For a 600 page book, the pacing was fantastic. Things progressed at a fairly quick pace while still feeling like enough time and attention was given to each plot point and scene so that it didn’t feel rushed. A lot happens in this book and there are tons of mysteries and intrigues. But they are balanced so well that it the reader can keep up with everything going on.
The characters are somewhat archetypal but still engaging enough to make you care about them and what happens to them.
The only thing that bothered me about this book at all was that sometimes the character motivations were questionable. I don’t mean that they made morally questionable decisions, although a few of them did at times, but rather than I felt like the reasons for a character to decide a certain way was a little too easy for the story.
It is kind of a pet peeve of mine that sometimes a character will have something explained to them and they don’t have really solid proof of anything to believe what is being told to them so it is all just kind of swept under the rug as “somehow he/she knew what they were saying was the truth…”
I kind of feel like this is a bit lazy. And honestly, with this book in particular, most of the times this happened (and it really wasn’t that much, maybe 3 or 4 times and I think only with one POV character), I would have believed as the reader that the character trusted the information being told to them.
I was able to overlook this for the most part and really feel like my faith in the storytelling to ignore that pet peeve was rewarded by the end of the book as you can probably tell by my rating. After finishing this book, I also have a (spoiler-y) theory on why some characters believed things so easily.
I absolutely loved this book. I think it was originally the perfect balance in pacing that made me know that I was going to love this story but as more and more was revealed and the story itself got so twisty turn-y that was engrossed to the very end.
AND OMG THAT ENDING!
Unfortunately, this book felt very bland to me. There were twists that came at the end that switched things up, but by that time i felt no connection to most of the characters. I did enjoy the twist on this world where the magic users are looked down upon and treated terribly. This is a nice switch over from the normal setting where magic is always celebrated. I am interested in seeing what comes next but hopefully there will be a few parts that will be better.