So I wanted to like this book. I finished both this one and got a good ways into book 2 before throwing in the towel. Unfortunately, this series just does too many things wrong with the characters, their motivations, their interactions or lack thereof, and the...
So I wanted to like this book. I finished both this one and got a good ways into book 2 before throwing in the towel.
Unfortunately, this series just does too many things wrong with the characters, their motivations, their interactions or lack thereof, and the ultimate conflict, which is anti-climatic.
First of all, I find that the way the main character''s family treats him is just unrealistic. Maybe some families really do hate other members that much...I just have a hard time believing that. In this family, the main character has some so called dark ability and because of it, his father, his mother, AND his sister all shun him and treat him like dirt. This is all revealed about 10 minutes into the book. Almost the entirely book 1 is the MC (Main Character) accepting that his family won''t ever accept him, but it''s more important for him to accept himself the way he is.
Secondly, when the main character meets a new group of people, absolutely every interaction is just too implausible. The typical "girl of the hero" trope is overplayed with a character that could have depth, but seems to fall for the MC way too quickly with almost no interactions that make that notion anything close to sensible. Furthermore, it''s obvious the MC was recruited into this group for only what he can bring to the table and not for any sincere companionship given. Even with the obvious naivety quirk of the MC, this should have been obvious. Furthermore within this new "family" everyone has the issue that nobody seems to share important information. This leads to my 3rd issue.
The conflict is completely contrived by the characters themselves. When you have a book whose main conflict arises because characters just don''t tell each other important information, that''s beyond annoying. It''s lunacy. Nobody would act like that. Sure, I can understand having one or, at most, 2 characters with real secrets they don''t want to disclose. But in the MC''s new "family" ALL of the characters don''t tell each other really important information. This trend continues and gets even worse in the second book. That''s what caused me to give up. The Maze Runner series had this same issue. Book 1 could have been half its size if it weren''t for this.
Fourth, my issue is the narrator in the audible version. I really like Vikas Adams, but the way he narrates EVERY part of the book is just WAY too serious. It''s like every sentence is someone''s last wish or biggest regret. Furthermore, he recycles voices he used in the "Nice Dragons Finish Last" series. I completely get that a narrator can''t possibly go every book and not reuse voices they''ve used from past books. This is a completely unfair judgement on my part. That said, it forced me to draw a comparisons between the 2 series'' and this one definitely came up lacking.
Lastly, we get to the issue of the black smithing itself. The main character is an apprentice blacksmith. He''s not a journey man. Furthermore, we''re told he''s not allowed to do much of anything that actually relates to smithing except preparing the furnace, sweeping the floors, and putting things back where they go in the shop. We get the impression that he was taught next to nothing about the art. Despite this, the MC miraculously becomes amazing and widely sought after (despite working in secret).
I''m not a smith myself. But I''ve watched about 4 seasons of Forged in Fire and that might be the reason this whole bit rubs me the wrong way. The way the MC does smithing is just too unrealistic. He makes numerous knives in single sessions. He water quenches blades (this is a solid recipe for breaking blades, generally). His early items aren''t even sharpened and everyone is going all gaga over them despite that. That said, the author does try to explain this away by making the metal the MC uses almost sentient such that it can tell the MC what to do and how to do it. Even so, the whole of it tests my ability to suspend of disbelief too much. I don''t think I would have minded if this was the only issue. Sadly, that isn''t the case.
I really wanted to like this book. The world is interesting. Unfortunately, everything is just too implausible.