Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Review: Red Madrassa (Algardis #1) by Terah Edun

Synopsis: (from book):
A magical accident threw them together. But when Fate holds all the cards, it can be impossible to tell the difference between pure chance and Destiny...

The Madrassa, a magical school for mage practitioners, is the stuff of legend. With selective entrance exams and quotas for only the most advanced of mage children, it's almost impossible to attend.

When Allorna, a guardian trainee for the royal family, ends up on the doorstep of the citadel on the eve of the final day of a recruitment ceremony, she decides it must be fate.

She was sure she knew the path her life would take before she enrolled. But sometimes life has a way of throwing in magical curveballs and strange friends, just to see if you’ll trip up.

Oh, and one of those friends is a mage accused of murder, another is a slightly psychotic dragon, the third a healer facing an existential crisis, and the last is a female storm-caller with more hidden secrets than a thief lord.

Do they all belong at the new school they call home?

This book is suitable for ages 12 and over. It is free of nudity, sexuality and only light cursing. The book is inclusive of LBGT and racial diversity.

In full disclosure I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

There is way too much world building in the book especially early on. This made it hard to understand at times as there are so many things being brought in. Also the world building is very broad but is lacking in depth meaning we hear about a lot of different things but never get much detail.

Once the group arrives at school (after about 60 pages) the story gets better as the world building gets a little easier to follow and it is a lot more interesting as we learning about the various magic abilities and the different schools of magic.

Another problem was that there wasn’t much of a plot throughout the book; it is mostly world building and learning about the many forms of magic. I know this is the first book in a series, but it’s really not much of the excuse for having almost no plot.

The point of view changes every couple of pages, this made it really hard to remember which character was which and harder to get invested in them because we never stuck with anyone long enough to get to know them. There were also no breaks between the paragraphs when the POVs changed making it harder to keep up with all the rapid changes. The characters voices are pretty similar so even when the POVs changes, I never really noticed much of a different personality or feel.

We are also not given much background of the characters and never really learn much about them or what motivates them.

The visual descriptions were sometimes a little lacking and some sentences were a little tricky to understand, it wasn’t necessarily poor grammar or spelling, it just didn’t always make sense without reading a couple of times.

It was nice to see a different world than your typical European medieval fantasy novels, although I would like to have seen more of the different cultures rather than just the glimpse we are given. It was also great to see the inclusion of lesbian/gay relationships without it being an overbearing part of the book, it’s just than some people in the book are gay and others are not.

The book would benefit from an appendix as there are a lot of races and characters in the book and it was hard to keep track of them all.

Overall I would say there was a lot of world building in this book, but very little plot. At first all of this made it confusing and hard to follow, although once the group arrived at school the world building did get more interesting, but it was still hurt by the lack of plot.

rating: 3 stars

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