Author: Blake Renworth
Published: May 12, 2016
Stars: 3 out of 5
I had the privilege to read this book along side rakioddbooks. I haven’t done a buddy read in a while and I miss it! It was so much fun being able to discuss details of the book that you can’t really talk about in fear of saying too much or spoiling the plot. If you are interested in doing a buddy read, I would love to do another one. In the meantime, check out her review for this books here.
When Alariq is exiled from his home city-state for a crime he did not commit, only six stand by his side, convinced of his innocence and steadfast in their loyalty.
The seven dwarfs must set out from Ishtara to look for a new place to call home, but in doing so, they make a discovery that puts them all in danger. They are rescued and taken in by a mysterious and beautiful outsider, who lives alone in the depths of Loraheem Forest. What follows is Alariq’s struggle to come to terms with his exile, as those around him seek to make a place for themselves in this new life. Soon, however, it becomes clear their situation is more complex than they initially realized, and they begin to wonder if there is more behind Alariq’s exile than simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Told in a unique storyteller voice, this reversal and reimagining of the classic fairy tale explores the themes of shattering betrayal, the subsequent struggle to trust again, and the basic desire to take control of one’s own destiny.
I loved the first couple of chapters in this book. The way the author talks to the reader while opening the story is fun and in a way a unique approach. In many ways, by doing this the author has given himself a voice within his book. And although I really liked this in the beginning, I found the deeper I got into the plot or chapters the more I didn’t care for it. It’s not that it truly bugs me or anything. It’s just that it takes me out of the story, ever so slightly, but nonetheless it feels like a break from the plot. Almost like the author feels a need to rationalize something or reassure the reader of what is happening or about to happen.
As you dig deeper into the story, the plot unfolds effortlessly and you can easily image the world these dwarfs live in. Right away we are introduced to Alariq and discover he is banished for a crime he didn’t commit. Alariq believes his friends, although loyal in their beliefs of his innocence, foolishly follow him into banishment. Full of regrets and wishing for home, the dwarfs follow a lost Alariq in hopes of settling into a new home. But what they find may be more than they bargained for.
I was surprised how quickly I started to like Alariq. In many ways this feeling snuck up on me and I didn’t even realize how protective I became of his character until the human girl (Tianna) showed up. When she started having power struggles with him, I automatically hated her. Which doesn’t make any sense because she actually saved him and his friends. The more I thought about it, a lot of what goes on between Tianna and Alariq didn’t really make much sense. For the majority of the time they are at odds with each other and just crabby. But there wasn’t really any reason why they were this way. Another thing that was inconsistent or odd was even though everyone unofficially nominated Alariq as the leader of the group, a lot of the decisions he made caused an uproar between everyone. And instead of following his lead, there was a lot of questioning, doubt, and dirty looks. I think I was expecting the leader wouldn’t be questioned as much.
Tianna, although small, can defend herself quite well. Her skills in disappearing and blending into her surroundings is impressive. Actually everything about her character is impressive. The way she is described, it is as if she has no flaws. She is the fastest, best shot, knows most of the answers, and has an attitude to match. I can’t say I cared for Tianna’s character. Simply put, she isn’t realistic and seems too perfect. And for me, that’s just not very appealing.
Overall, the book was interesting and I enjoyed where the author took the plot. The world building was great. As each scene unfolded, I could easily picture everything that happened and what it looked like. For me, This book was entertaining, a nice read that was different from my norm. But ultimately I didn’t love the book and found I wasn’t as invested in the characters or what happened within the story. You don’t learn much about any of the supporting characters which makes it difficult to sympathize with them. The book didn’t have much dialogue and the entire time I was reading I felt more like an outsider watching a movie.
If you are a lover of The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, I would give this book a chance. It might be just what you are looking for.