I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
So, I don’t know what to say here, guys. I may not have finished this if I hadn’I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
So, I don’t know what to say here, guys. I may not have finished this if I hadn’t already promised to write a review. There were several times when I thought I should just set it aside and mark it as DNF, but I feel obligated to write since I was sent a promotional copy.
This book isn’t terrible, but it’s not what I would call good either. I am genuinely puzzled at the high scoring reviews here.
Many of the other reviewers are remarking about having read it in the original Greek, so maybe the issue is the translation, as I found the prose to be more journeyman as opposed to the "poetic" narrative that was advertised. I found the purple language strained, and elements used for shock value rather silly and over the top, as were the publisher’s multiple warnings about how it’s “unsuitable for children or young readers.” The warning is true, but no more true than for any other grimdark novel. I think the concern is that physically it is a short book, and the print edition is set in a very large type, so at least it print it could be mistaken as a young adult novel.
There is some good world building here around the tribal culture that the protagonist originates. Their politics, mystics, and warrior cultures are a good base to build upon. There are hints of future plot lines surrounding superstition, racism, and oppression. Hence the second star.
The protagonist doesn’t do things in this book. They are a participant, but they don’t take action. They endure, but the sequence of events in their trials are so repetitive that there isn’t much tension. Stand in the cold without clothes all day for a month and a half. If you fall down you are punished or killed. If you stay standing you get meat and story time. Without the broader context of the story this doesn’t come across as important to the reader.
The framing story of the monks recording his tale seems to lack punch too. It’s intended to tease what’s ahead, but the protagonist doesn’t come across as compelling enough in his future self to justify the interest in his life story.
It didn't feel like the character advanced at all. There didn't seem to be a character arc for them within the scope of this first volume, and the one true motivating force besides survival has to do with one of the female secondary characters who is "fridged" about halfway through the story. Not a promising start.
I think what it comes down to is that this may not have been structured correctly, and that Book 1 doesn’t stand on its own. That’s a shame as I’m sure that the other reviewers who have read the whole series in the original Greek are probably correct that there’s something worth experiencing here, but I won’t be reading on.
Another note: I wish the publisher had disclosed that the author was the founder and CEO of the publishing house at the time of distribution. ...more
Echoing a lot of reviewers here, this is a 2.75-3 for the writing and a 5 for the illustrations. Was hoping for more here, but the edition is so lovelEchoing a lot of reviewers here, this is a 2.75-3 for the writing and a 5 for the illustrations. Was hoping for more here, but the edition is so lovely to hold and read that it ends up around a 4. ...more