Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: Firehurler (Twinborn Trilogy, #1) by J.S. Morin

Review: Firehurler (Twinborn Trilogy, #1) by J.S. Morin

Synopsis (by Richi) Kyrus lives in peaceful world, trade and business are important, they have a sophisticated view of the world, they do not execute criminals, magic is viewed by most as something that doesn’t exist, education and intelligence are highly valued. Kyrus himself is a scribe, somewhat lacking in confidence and likes a peaceful life. Every night he dreams he is another man in a vastly different world, that man is Brannis.
Brannis lives in a war torn empire, with enemies on every border, strength and power are important, it is a harsh and brutal world, where threats and traitors are dealt with in extreme ways, magic is common but controlled by the ruling classes, strength in magic and strength in arms are the most valuable traits a person can have. Brannis is the commander of an army, he is sure of himself and his abilities and does what he needs to do to survive in this world. Every night he dreams he is another man, in another world, that man is Kyrus…

Review: In full disclosure I received a free signed edition of this book from the author.

I absolutely love this book! The concept was amazing and original. There two main characters each one has dreams that he is the other one.

One truly impressive thing was how the author created two different worlds. Whenever I was reading, even without being told which characters were there, I could always tell which world I was in. Most authors struggle to come up with depth in their worlds; this author manages to do it twice in a single book.

The characters were excellent. They had strong personalities and were enjoyable to read about. Their thoughts and feelings come across well and they are both believable and extraordinary.

The characters are well developed during the story and progress in an exciting and believable way.

Most of the characters are not purely good or evil. The good characters have so negative traits and the evil ones have redeeming ones, this makes for more realistic and deep. Also some of the characters you are never certain if they are good or evil overall, this makes it even more interesting.

The story is fantastic. The two main plots are wonderful in themselves and just one of them would have been an enjoyable read. But having the two stories together, that are then entwined together make this book extra special. It is not just limited to two main plots; there are many subplots and parallel storylines as well.

The magic system is well done, allowing the mages to do a lot of things, but limiting them so they are never too powerful, in fact a mage can seriously harm or even kill themselves if they try to do to much magic. I also enjoyed how the system is explained to the reader.

The pacing was excellent. Typically one character would be having exciting action while the other character would be having slower paced scenes. This is perfect as the slower scenes are great for character development and fleshing out the story and prevents the story becoming boring with constant action. Due to the fact the POV only changes when a character goes to sleep, it did mean occasionally we followed a character for longer that would happen typically or seemed natural. Although as this “problem” is because of the original and wonderful concept of “dreaming” of the other world, it is easily forgiven.

The balance of detail is perfect. You are given clear details on what is happening and what everything looks, sounds, smells and feels like to build a very vivid view of the worlds, as well as what the characters thoughts and feelings are. But the descriptions are never too long or boring.

This is a BIG book, 485 pages in the edition I read, and the small print means it is probably closer to twice that if it had a normal sized print. It had  the depth of story, detail of description, scope and other things you would expect of a large fantasy novel, but it never dragged or made me wish it was shorter (in fact I would have been happy if it was longer.)

I only have a couple of criticisms of this book. The first is actually for the synopsis that appears on the back of the book and on Goodreads. I felt it gave too much of the story away, <spoiler> specifically being told that the characters will battle against others who also cross the worlds. I think I would have been surprised when that was revealed in the book, but unfortunately the synopsis spoilt this for me. </spoiler>

While I did enjoy how the author crossed over the two stories and used knowledge learned from one world to use in the other. I was slightly bothered how Kyrus took a lot of information from Brannis and was helped out by him a lot, but Brannis himself didn’t take very much from Kyrus (apart from a couple of things at the end.) Again this was really only a minor problem.

I am really looking forward to the next book in the series and learning more of the worlds, seeing where story goes, what happens to the characters and what exactly this connection is.

Overall this is a masterful piece of work, the descriptions, story, characters, magic system and writing style make this a highly rated book, with the bonus of a truly original idea this is easily a five star book.

A big thank you to the author and his wife/publisher for sending me this wonderful book and giving me the chance to read this book that I really wanted to read. And thank you for signing it as well.

rating: ***** +


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