My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Creativia, a publisher with a vast range of fantastic authors, is a go-to stop for me each month. I choose at least one new author and often a minimally-read genre (for me) to expand my knowledge and literary exposure. This month, I went with the first book, Pawns, in a three-book fantasy series called The Wielders of Arantha written in 2016 by Patrick Hodges. For those who follow my reviews, I rarely read science-fiction or fantasy because I tend to want to know all the rules of what can and what cannot happen. I’ve picked up a few popular ones, a few non-popular ones, and now I’m reading recommendations from others I trust… maybe one day I’ll actually be a mega fan!
Hodges kicks off the ~400 page book with a prologue from a dying woman who knows she has only a few breaths left. She hopes she’s done enough to protect her race and train the new protectress of her kind, but sadly she will never know as she breathes her last moment forever. Immediately, readers are thrust into a spaceship crash where we learn a woman has recently lost her husband to ‘the cause’ and she’s working with his protegee to navigate the ship as well as protect her teenage son. But there’s an accident, the protegee dies, and she is stuck trying to figure out how to fulfill her husband’s last wish to protect their kind. Who are they and are they related to the woman in the prologue? Then we meet a brother and a sister who at first seem like angry, vengeful people…. then we meet the daughter from the prologue… and then… it goes on switching character perspectives and story-lines. I’ll leave out the rest of the plot because there are 3 books and so much I could cover… suffice to say, this is quite a book and saga.
After the first 10%, we’ve met most of the major characters and understand enough of their plight and history. We don’t know how they connect to one another nor how all the planets or worlds function. In many ways, this is no different than a novel where you’ve got a bunch of characters who are somehow connected, but you don’t find out until midway thru — just there’s science fiction and fantasy holding it together. That’s when I realized I had immersed myself in the various stories. I worried less about the rules and began to care about each protagonist or supporting character. A mother fighting for her son… siblings with a tortured past… a daughter hoping to live up to her mother’s expectations while raising her own daughter who’s rebellious and likely to cause a major issue for their society. It’s a captivating story. I definitely found myself anxious to know who knew who… and when you realize there are different names/beliefs for people depending on the world you come from, it’s even more of a thriller and suspense ride.
Hodges has created a wonderful saga in Arantha full of human (and not so human) emotions that speak to readers of all kinds. His writing style is smooth and easy, but descriptive and intriguing. I found myself following along quite well for the most part, and the only times I pulled away from the story were when it got deeper into the fantasy and science-fiction elements. BUT… that’s only due to my reading style and genre preferences. The book is full of traditional fantasy and science fiction components that I’ve experienced in Star Trek or Lord of the Rings or The Hunger Games. Hodges is adept at keeping a good balance to satisfy a hard-core genre fan but also bring in a new set of readers who aren’t ready to commit to something so different. That’s a good writer!
I will read book two in early 2019 after I finish some commitments already set for this year. I’m curious to find out how some of the action sequences and cliffhanger revelations at the end of this first book will play out. A surprise genealogical connection (which I love), a potential death (traumatic but necessary), a potential pregnancy, and a fit of rage… who’s gonna win? Who’s gonna suffer more? Throw in the beginnings of a romance between different species (I think), and the book has a bit of everything built inside its pages. A definite recommend for all sorts of readers but definitely those who love trilogies (with a prequel novella too) and fantasy. Don’t miss out on this one.
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.