Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review: Aethersmith (Twinborn Trilogy, #2) by J.S. Morin

 Aethersmith (Twinborn Trilogy, #2) by J.S. Morin

Synopsis (from back of book) War has come to Veydrus.

As Kyrus Hinterdale and Brannis Solaran work to understand the intricacies of their Twinborn connection, they must also analyze and unravel the game Jinzan and Denrick played to get a step ahead of them. While planning a war, and coming to terms with Juliana’s impending wedding to Iridan, Brannis knows that he needs to feed Kyrus more advanced magical knowledge and training if they ever hope to keep the Kadrin empire from destruction.

However, just as plans are starting to come together, a spell of Kyrus’ goes very wrong, and the two find themselves in an even bigger dilemma than ever. With the help of other Twinborn, they struggle to gain the upper hand in the war, and set everything back as it should be.

In full disclosure I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Holy crap this book is even more amazing than book one of the series! How is that even possible? The concept is original and just like book one it is perfectly executed.

There are a lot more twinborns in this book. The plot is more complex than the first book, with multiple story threads, points of views and plot. The truly amazing thing about all this it that even though it is complex, with so much going on, it really should make the reader’s head explode, but the author is so talented at explaining what is happening it rarely gets confusing or hard to follow. Not only does the author explain the story in such a way that it is easy to follow, but it is done in a natural way and it doesn’t feel like an explanation.

About the only time it could get confusing, was a result of having so many twinborns I had a hard time remembering who some of the secondary character’s twin was. They were usually named but sometimes I found I would need more detail to help me remember exactly who they were, especially early on. But this really was only a minor problem and for the most part the extra twins made the story even more interesting.

The descriptions are once again perfect, they are of high detail, allowing the reader to visualise the amazing worlds in the story, but not to the extent that it slows down the pacing or becomes boring.

The pacing and balance of the story was better than the first. Because of the nature of the first book, which was primarily focused on the Brannis/Kyrus point-of-view, and only switched when one of them fell asleep, it would occasionally spend too much time on action or too much time on a slower plot point then was natural. But because of all the extra characters in this book, this didn’t happen and the flow was much better.

The characters are once again fantastic, they have amazing but believable personalities. With the strengthening bond between Brannis and Kyrus their personalities begin to merge. But they still manage to remain individuals. The thoughts each character has, and the emotions they have are amongst some of the strongest writing in this amazing book.

Just like the first book, no-one is completely good or evil, they are much more complex than that. The good people have bad traits or sometimes do bad things, and the evil characters have good traits and sometimes do good things. Just like real-life, no-one see’s themselves as evil. Also there are plenty of people who you are left uncertain whether they are good or evil.

There are a couple of love triangles going on (possible better described as a love square), this is made even more complex as some of the characters involved are twinborns and share at least some of the feelings of their twin.

There are many very clever and well thought out ideas, some of them are large pieces of complex plot, but others are small details that help make the story more realistic and its characters more believable.

As well as Brannis and Kyrus personalities merging, their two worlds also are starting to blend. Magic is becoming more prominent in Kyrus’s home and technology is more prevalent in Brannis’s world. The two blended in such a way that there are things that incorporate ideas from both worlds (such as flying ships)

Sometimes it was clear what path a plot point would lead, but it was still exciting to read about as you want to find out exactly what happens once it gets there.

This book is even bigger than it appears, the edition I read had 445 page, but it also has a fairly small print and so much happens in this story it easily feels like a book with twice as many pages, but in a good way.

The book has a more epic feel to it, and you get to see more what is happening in the two worlds.

The book does continue the plot from the last one, and does develop the series wide story leaving some plot open for the final book in the series. But it doesn’t suffer with the normal ‘middle book’ problems, and is a strong story in its own right and doesn’t leave too many threads open.

One of my few real criticisms for this one was that at one point the characters are able to send messages to their twins while awake. This seemed inconsistent with the first book and most of the second and it wasn’t how I had perceived how the two worlds worked.

If you enjoyed the first book then you will love this book as well. It is even better (and I thought book one was close to perfection.) The story is more complex but the author skillfully writes it in such a way that it is never confusing. How he was able to keep up with everything while he was writing without leaving massive plot holes or without his head exploding I will probably never know. The characters expand and continue to impress on every level. The concept is original, something hard to do these days with any fantasy novel. I am eagerly awaiting the final book in the series, but also a little sad, because once I’ve read it this amazing series will be over. I really hope the author has more great ideas, either for the two worlds featured in this series or a new one.

Rating ***** + ♥

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