I'm excited to share my first official book review. Official because my friend--the fabulous Tristi Pinkston, editor and author extraordinaire--asked me to review a book that is being released by Valor Publishing Group, a company for which she is the senior editor. For doing so, I have received an Advanced Reader's Edition. I feel so official!
Karen Hoover's debut novel, The Sapphire Flute , is the first in The Wolfchild Saga. It was released on March 16, 2010, so you can get it right now by clicking this nifty Amazon link here. (I'm very proud of myself for figuring out how to do that.)
This story follows two young women.
Kayla is on the verge of achieving her dreams. After years of banishment, the king has recognized her worth as a musician of extraordinary and even magical talent. Now she is on the verge of getting everything she's ever wanted--reinstatement and a return to honor for her family, and marriage to the man of her dreams. But when the king honors her with the guardianship of the Sapphire Flute, her life is thrown into a whirlwind of danger as the evil and desperate C'Tan will stop at nothing to capture this powerful magical tool.
Ember has been hidden all her life from this same C'Tan, who seeks her for an entirely different reason. As Ember starts to uncover the mystery of who she really is, she learns she possesses remarkable powers of her own, including an inherited secret from her father--a secret that brings deadly forces against her.
This Story starts out terrific. A father rushes to save his baby daughter from his enemy--someone he thought he could trust. Someone he even loved. The betrayal is devastating, and his sacrifice touches the reader with emotion. I was definitely ready for a gripping story by the end of the prologue.
The pace did not hold consistently, however, for the rest of the story. At times it moved along in a rhythm that captured me and urged me on, but often it was slow and a bit unnatural-feeling. I should note that interruptions to the pace are an intentional part of the story because the author jumps back and forth between the two main characters so that the reader jumps to a different story just when he or she is getting into the groove of the other one. At times this worked more effectively than others, especially when both stories were at a crucial point. But occasionally it was a bit irritating--in an I-want-to-skip-to-the-next-chapter sort of way.
I also would've liked to see more character development. I liked all the characters, but sometimes their actions seemed a little too conveniently naive. I didn't get enough from each to make them feel unique and like living, breathing beings. I imagine this will change as the story progresses in later books.
There were a lot of things I really liked about the book, though. Some of Hoover's ideas were quite creative. I loved the concept of being able to see different types of magic as different colors. I also really liked the special gift Ember's father gave her by way of his friend, though we don't understand much about its significance in this book. Hoover does a great job of bringing the reader along in the thought process Ember goes through as she learns of her powers and how to use them. In general Ember's character seemed more developed and natural to me.
Overall, I would recommend this book to those who love epic fantasy because it promises to be an interesting series as the writer grows with her characters and her story.
If you want to learn more about Karen E. Hoover, visit her website here.
If you want to congratulate me on successfully posting two links to my first-ever official book review or if you want to tell me anything at all, leave a comment below!
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