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(The Scribe Cycle #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  57 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Pawns in an endless war, scribes are feared and worshipped, valued and exploited, prized and hunted. But there is only one whose powers can determine the fate of the world . . .
Born into the ruins of Rzolka’s brutal civil unrest, Anna has never known peace. Here, in her remote village—a wasteland smoldering in the shadows of outlying foreign armies—being imbued with
ebook, 306 pages
Published February 20th 2018 by Rebel Base Books
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Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Scribes by James Wolanyk is the first book of the new fantasy Scribe Cycle series. The series introduces Anna who had been hiding her ability of being a Scribe and being able to carve runes into others flesh to grant temporary invulnerability against enemies.

When Anna was forced to run she finds herself trapped by a tracker and as negotiations begin to decline Anna uses her ability to bargain. This puts Anna at the trackers mercy at which time Anna vows to use her ability to help fight to restor
Jan 13, 2018 marked it as dnf
I received this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own.

I appreciate winning the book but just couldn't get into it :(
Michael Evan
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantasy as a genre is polarizing among true literature connoisseurs. Despite many novels and series spanning lengthy epic sized tomes, authors are often criticized for being trite , or too detached or disengaged from the real world. I happen to love the genre, although I have agreed with the critics on many occasions as well. I have read some excellent series especially over the last couple of years. Those by RJ Barker and Josiah Bancroft come to mind.

James Wolanyk's Scribes, the first in a 3 bo
Sharon Jane
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a free advance copy of this book for a fair review. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Scribes and couldn't put it down. This is more than just a story of Anna, an innocent young girl who has the power of life and death, it is a story of lost innocence, of morality and of how good and evil are merely perceptions based on the vantage point you are looking at things from.
Anna's simple, fairly safe, life in a war ravaged remote village, is blown apart when her father's betrayal forces her to
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
This was not a bad book, it was simply not a me book. It wasn't borING, but I was borED. I liked the world that was created here and how well things were described. I just didn't get into it all that much. It did bug me that that there were so many made up words for the languages here that were not always explained. Or things in general that were not explained. I also did not like the main character, Anna. I'm not sure of her exact age, but I know she is young. Maybe just barely a teenager or al ...more
Debbie  Victorino

I have never read this author books before. And when I started this book, I could not put it down. The way this book starts and progresses is awesome. I know with this genre that it's the authors perception. But the way this book is , I wonder how much research he had to do. It's just unbelievable how much is written in this book. It's a story about Anna. It's about her being young and innocent. But she ends up with so much on her shoulders. With war and her father's betrayal she is
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

If I had to rate the book with precise markings, it would probably be somewhere between 4 and 5, but I'm not sure where. I will say that it was a refreshing read, if nothing else. Scribes is the story of Anna, a young girl who can create life-saving magic using scars on her "victims'" bodies. The premise is fairly average for fantasy, but the real heart of the story was the emotional component of things. Over the years I'
Ms. Cat's World
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is one of those reads in which you must go in with an open mind, especially the build-up. Our main character is Anna who starts off the story running away from home with her handicapped little brother in order to save him, but when in-between a rock and a hard place drops him like a bad habit and essentially writes him off. Her world is full of different cultures within different lands all vying to over take each other through the use of scribes. 

Scribes are those with magic carvings in one
Shona Kinsella
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Scribes is the first book in the Scribes Cycle from author James Wolanyk. Anna is a young girl, perhaps in her early teens, although we never find out for sure. The book opens with her running away from home with her younger brother who has been sold by her parents for reasons that are never really made clear. When they are trapped by a tracker, Anna reveals that she is a scribe – a person with the power to cut runes into another’s skin, conferring temporary immunity from harm. Anna agrees to go ...more
I can't say that it was a bad book, because honestly it is not.
It is well written, even if style may not be appreciated by everybody, the setting is original and the story is very interesting, once you understand what is going on.
However that was also the main problem for me.
It's too complicated and the large use of terms without explanation doesn't help at all, so it was very difficult to understand what was happening, who was doing that, and why.
Besides, even in a grimdark book, I need at leas
Jacob Rundle
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Scribes centers around a group of people called Scribes where they have the ability to grant invulnerability to individuals who need protection. Ana is quite different. The scribes don't fade. They last forever! That's right! Forever.
The story keeps you involved and guessing. Ana is a strong character. Her growth during the novel is realistic. Many of the characters are relatable.
The world is built well.
There were a few times when my attention wavered, but the story is very well written. I re
Carol Chu
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Actual Rating: 2.5🌟

I actually started reading Schisms first because I requested for an arc ebook from Netgalley. After about 3 chapters into it, I realised Dang! this is the second book of an ongoing series. So I just had to buy this ebook Scribes which is the 1st book of the series which I found is on Google Play Books. So okay, fine.. I went and bought it.

I totally have mixed feelings about this book though truth be told, I didn’t regret buying this just to understand the 2nd book Schisms bett
Maggies Daisy
Humph, not sure why I could not really get my teeth into this book. There are some good qualities to the novel by author James Wolanyk that include the overall story of a young girl who has the gift of using magical cuts upon the skin that bring health and healing upon the person. This was the first in the Scribe series so hopefully, in the next one, the action can be ramped up a few notches. At every turn, Anna is subjected to violence and cruelty but she finds real peace when she helps the fou ...more
Māra Elīza
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had ordered a copy of Scribes a while ago, but only now ended up reading it. The book is written very poetically, every little detail is mentioned, so you feel like you are there with Anna, overlooking every event and imagining how differently you would make all the decisions that Anna is faced with. Anna is a fourteen year old girl, who is angry with the world because of her father and then because of the Tracker, yet she’s trying to make her home a better place. It’s surprising that the main ...more
Brian Ejike
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I started this with few expectations, just something to read, to pass the time. By page 50 or so, I knew I'd struck gold. This is easily the best book I've read this year and with the prose that reminds me so much of Bakker, close to becoming a favourite, depending on how the next books work out. The character development is top-notch, Anna feels very real, progressing through the book, clearly growing in many ways.

The single POV is new, at least for me, but I think it helped the story a lot. I
Feb 02, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and so I hate to give a negative review and say that it just wasn't what I was hoping for. I love SciFi/Fantasy and had high hopes for this book, but it just took too many wrong turns for me. It failed to hold my interest and the story line was just not one that appealed to me. The story seemed dark and depressing with no uplifting counter story, or characters, to balance it out. The author used too many made up terms and mixed them with current day ...more
Dan Hook
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Overall I really enjoyed Scribes. I admit, there were a few moments where I struggled to soak up all the names of cities and the world created! There is quite a rich amount of world building going on which is awesome, but means at times I had to reread sections and focus myself on getting into the story.
Besides that though, there is a good array of characters, all very memorable and different, both in looks and personality. The different terrains they were in kept giving me a fresh perspective o
Robin Goodfellow
Dec 18, 2017 rated it liked it
-I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Scribes, by James Wolanyk, tells the story of a young girl who, through her gift, was able to see the world as how it truly was, both in its beauty and its corruption.

Anna, first of Thomas, was running from trackers alongside her younger brother, Julek. When Julek is killed, she is taken in by a tracker who recognizes her abilities as a scribe. She then goes up North, where she meets a young boy named Shem, as well as a woman
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
An interesting premise that caught my attention, but there were too many issues to keep my interest. Too much of the story defied logic. Not in a fantastical way, but in a “that doesn’t make any actual sense” sort of way. Right from the beginning. The book starts with Anna running away from home with her little brother because he was sold for an unknown purpose. Her brother is handicap and always rides a pony when they leave the house. Her escape was planned in advance, but she left the horse be ...more
P.T. Hunt
I happened upon this book on a Reddit AMA James did a while back, and decided to give it a go.

Firstly, if you read this book, get a paperback/e-book version. The audible narrator made this almost impossible to finish.

After the somewhat unbelievable events that happen in the beginning with the MC stranding her crippled brother, there were portions where my expectations were raised, and I was genuinely enamored with James's world-building and character relationships. But the euphoria slipped away
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scribes are feared and worshiped, valued and exploited, prized and hunted.

Scribes create intricate carvings of the flesh, that can grant temporary invulnerability against enemies to those seeking protection. Child scribes are sold and traded, Anna is one of those invaluable children and has never known peace. Her scars never fade and the immunity she creates lasts forever.

After being sold to a corrupt leader, Anna is promised a life of reverence, wealth, and fame—in exchange for her "gifts." B
Trey richardson

The only saving grace to this book is the ending and Bora. The MC was extremely weak. I don't mind a book on the darker side of things but there was no reasoning or will behind the MC actions. This book fails were a lot of others do in that the MC is selfish and others pay for that. The scribing system would have been interesting if it was explained more but you really don't get to know much about it other then it makes people immortal. The feelings she has for the tracker are literally
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I saw a post on Reddit that the book was on sale, after a search it was available on kobo too for about the same price. Decided to buy it and read it whenever I felt like it.

Now I'm finished and my feelings are mixed. The same way I felt like after finishing the Gardens if the Moon by Steven Erikson, What I mean by that is that it is written as a story where as a reader you lack information that is common knowledge for the characters. But by just continuing to read you slowly get a better sense
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

An interesting story about a young woman who is forced to leave the only home she has ever known. She escapes with her younger brother,Julek. She is a Scribe, someone who has the ability to inscribe designs on people's skin which give them certain powers. As such, she is considered valuable and there are many who want her so that they can exploit her power. I really enjoyed the story. I liked the characters and it was interesting to see how she would use her powers and who it would benefi
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good stuff. The story is unpredictable and interesting, with a well-crafted MC, character building, and excellent attention to detail. The author has a unique style that won't appeal to everyone, but his creativity and talent always shines thru. I read book 3 first, so it was good to get the context here. Recommended.

I really appreciate the complimentary copy!
Lindsey Roberts
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Original Review Here

The synopsis of Scribes caught my attention and I was looking forward to it. It was a disappointment: I couldn’t connect to the world or the characters for the entire book.

It starts well: siblings on the run from trackers. They get caught and the older sister tries to bargain her secret power as a scribe to save her brother. It backfires, the brother gets killed and she ends up taken prisoner by the tracker. I started to get a grip on the characters and what being a scribe me
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

The book was not for me. The characters did not seem to be very developed, I had no sense of how much time was passing between events, and the story seemed to jump around.
Jeffrey Viront
It was not a book for me. I was bored and I do not have anything good to say. Thank you for letting me be able to share
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
This book was incredibly hard to finish, and I'm surprised I did. There was so much about it that lost me. Although I did like the premise of the story, just disappointed I didn't enjoy it more.
Natasha Shea
Jul 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
Long, boring and hard to follow.
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James Wolanyk is a fiction writer, teacher, and mindfulness coach from Boston, MA. He holds a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts and has been featured in a variety of magazines, quarterlies, and other publications. He currently lives in Riga, Latvia and is hastily preparing his next science-fiction releases.

Other books in the series

The Scribe Cycle (3 books)
  • Schisms (The Scribe Cycle #2)
  • Scions (The Scribe Cycle #3)

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