An epic YA fantasy that didn’t quite hit the mark
3.5 out of 5 stars
The title and cover art is very good and both drew me into giving this book a read. Unfortunately for me it just didn’t quite hit the mark. That’s okay, not every book is for every reader and that happens all the time. Even with the classics of literature.
In BoaFG I didn’t connect with either Will or Duncan, our two protagonists, and the story didn’t grab me or give me that ‘must pick it up’ feeling you get when a story grips you. For this reason, I found it a bit of a slog to read and I almost did not finish it.
However, I’m glad I stuck with it because the story grows once the tale moves beyond the Reach and new characters are introduced and the world expands. The story centres around two cousins who live in the ancient mining town the Reach. Duncan Reis is a raffish free spirit who wants nothing more than to rove the Mistlands and ruins around the Reach, scaving for artefacts and treasure, whilst Will Reis is a Blacksmith, something their family is renowned for, and dreams of being the first Reacher to be accepted into the Smithing Guild. No other Reis or Reacher has ever made it before and so he knows he will need to smith something special and so he steals a shard of a dead god’s blood to do it. Needless to say, things do not go to plan for our two heroes.
The story had a great premise and the writing and execution of it were okay but it didn’t suck me in for the ride. It did get more engaging in the second half of the book and grows towards the promise of a compelling finale. All the right cards were in play and the climactic finish built nicely but then it was like someone stuck a pin in a balloon and all the air leaked out of it. I’m itching to tell you why I felt like this but I do not want to give any spoilers, suffice it to say the big build-up was over too quickly and I found it a bit of an anti-climax.
The antagonist was interesting, pretty evil and very cunning and clever like all good baddies should be. I liked the fact it was a bit ambiguous as to whether it was a man or woman (a man originally I think) but an immortal, one currently residing in a woman’s body, only to trip at the end over her metaphorical shoelaces. It could have been so much bigger.
So, this book was not for me. I think for anyone who likes the sound or premise of the story but is unsure of whether to try this book based on my review, then I would suggest you click on the book’s cover on Amazon and ‘Take a Look Inside’. The first chapter will give you a flavour of what is to come and also the writing style you can expect.