In the pages of this first book of a series, I found the harrowing, coming-of-age tale of a teenage girl thrust into a position of power she neither expected nor desired. Catrin Volker attempted to do her best in her daily life, but was often late to class, was ridiculed for being a farm girl, and has now received a vesting of enormous, mystical power she doesn’t understand and can’t control. On another continent, a king is sending his beleaguered soldiers on a mission to find and destroy the Herald of Istra and end a long-awaited prophecy. As the lives of General Dempsey from the Greatland and Catrin of the Godfist merge together into the same story, we are struck with a sense of despair on both sides of the waging war.
Rathbone took the time to construct a fictional world with a rich history of mysticism, lost races and cultures, and a sad history of devastating war. Each character is fleshed out as an emotional being, more than words on a page. He intended and succeeding in creating a group of characters worth reading about. I found several passages within the work to be imbued with powerful imagery, one of my favorites being “The tree exuded ancient wisdom and lack of cares. It existed simply and simply existed. It did no right or wrong, made no mistakes, had no opinions.” The book was worth reading to find passages such as these.
I would recommend this book for Young Adult readers. Teenagers between 12-16 would enjoy this adventure. When you reach this end of this book, you want to get the next one to find out what happens to Catrin.
Why I didn’t give this one five stars: Purely my opinion, but I felt a bit lost from the prologue to the first few chapters, when we jumped from General Dempsey to Catrin. I lost all sense of time, and wished the chapters had some kind of date stamp to navigate the chronology. I also felt there were several lulls in the momentum, where certain descriptions appeared to be repeated unnecessarily. Other reader may find these elements helpful.
On a purely technical note, in the Kindle version that I read, there were sections of text that were marked with a dashed underline that had no apparent purpose. I’m not sure if italics were intended for these passages, though italics appeared elsewhere, or if this was just accidental.
On the common scale of 1 to 5 stars, I rate this as a 3.5. It was okay. I liked the story, but the form was troublesome.
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