G33z3r's Reviews > Sora's Quest

Sora's Quest by T.L. Shreffler
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's review
Jul 15, 12

bookshelves: sword-sorcery, y-a, ebook
Read from July 14 to 15, 2012

"Sora's Quest" is a sword and sorcery fantasy novel for young adults set in a traditional pseudo-medieval fantasy world. The title character, Sora isn't thrilled with the marriage her noble father has arranged for her to a lord she's never met, and she's considering running away from home (thus abandoning her wealth and status.) Before she can act, her father is assassinated and she's kidnapped by one of the perpetrators. Soon, she is traveling with a trio of rough criminals (though there's no sense of peril in that abduction). Thus begins Sora's journey of adventure.

"Sora's Quest" is a well paced action story, generally well written in the traditional fantasy style, and it's paced to never drag. The fantasy world it creates isn't far from the generic, but it offers a few twists on the usual sword & sorcery realm of castles and magical artifacts, mostly in some new races. The tone is a little inconsistent, generally serious but with a light touch, except when it descends into outright farce in the portrayal of the jilted groom as an unbelievably self-centered fop ("Well, the bride's been kidnapped and her father murdered, but there's no sense wasting the reception banquet, is there? Let's party!) Fortunately, he isn't around for long.

The story is woefully short on motive and reasons, though. I found it hard to accept Sora's total indifference to the murder of her father, an apparently decent man who raised her in luxury after her mother abandoned her, and who has no obvious vices beyond apparently not being loving enough and arranging her unwanted marriage. Yet, Sora doesn't shed a tear or even pause for long. It's never explained why he's murdered, and through all her travels with the assassin, Sora never even asks. It's not really clear why she's kidnapped in the first place, or why the criminals keep her around before they find out she bears a magical Catseye (an enchanted legacy apparently from her unknown mother. Once they know she wields its magic, they find her very useful.)

Nor do we know where these three men are going or why they insist on taking such a dangerous route through a cursed swamp (what would they have done if they hadn't accidentally met someone with a Catseye to protect them from the curse? If it's a shortcut, why do they dawdle for over a month after crossing it?)

By the halfway point of the novel, the journey becomes more one of survival than destination, which masks the total lack of purpose behind any of these events. But, when the dust clears at the denouement, that hollowness remains.

As an elderly male, I'm certainly not the target audience for this, which seems aimed at teenage girls. As I said, the book is well-written and evenly paced. Presumably that target audience would find the adventure and promise of romance (small as it is) far more compelling than I.
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