Another book read, and time for another review. The book is The Grimoire: Lichgates, by author S. M. Boyce. Here's a description from the book's page on goodreads.com.
"The Grimoire turns its own pages and can answer any question asked of it, and Kara Magari is its next target. She has no idea what she's getting herself into when she stumbles across the old book while hiking a hidden trail. Once she opens it, she's thrown into Ourea: a beautiful world full of terrifying things that all want the Grimoire's secrets. Everyone in this new world is trying to find her, and most want to control her.
Braeden Drakonin grew up in Ourea, and all he’s ever known of life is lying. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. He has one question to ask the book – one question that can fix everything in his broken life – and he’s not letting Kara out of his sight until he gets an answer.
There’s no escaping Ourea. There’s no going back now."
Ok. So here's what I think of the book. It left me feeling a bit bipolar, so bear with me cause it will get better.
The title and genre got me excited. I love fantasy books about magic and medieval stuff, different worlds, all of that is great. I was incredibly let down by the beginning of the book. To be completely honest, if I was not reading this book to give the author a review, I don't believe I would have gotten through the beginning. For me, it was that bad. It took no time whatsoever for Kara to find herself in the midst of all the action. I'll admit that sometimes action happening right away in a story is good, and that could have happened here, too, if the author had expanded on Kara's background more. Here was someone who was obviously the main character of the story, and before I could create any bond with her, she fell through the lichgate and into the new world of Ourea, and became the Vagabond. On top of that the author's descriptives in the story were just kind of 'blah' and not really polished. What I really wanted was to know more about her troubled past and how it affected her. I never got a real sense of that in the beginning of the book, and it left me not wanting to root for her right away. Another way I can describe it is by the movie Labyrinth, starring Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie. I love Jim Henson stuff and I expect it to not get too crazy into a plot line. Connelly is thrown into the mix right away as a result, which works for the movie, but not in a book. At least not for me, anyway.
So leave that aside, because I did continue on. As the book went forward the world of Ourea opened up to me. I liked a lot of it, and it was enough that I was able to ignore the author's use of descriptives and sometimes cheesy dialogue (kind of like what you would hear on Hercules or Xena). The blood loyalty within the races of Yakona was something I found fascinating. A lot can be done with that, and my mind wandered as I explored all the possibilities. Along the way the author finally expanded on Kara's background and how the loss of her mother affected her. If more had been done on that at the beginning of the book, I would have liked it. So now I get to know her more, and now i want to root for her.
The Drenowith, or Muses, were a fairly cool addition to the world as well, and their importance in the story is evident from the moment they were introduced. That being said, I felt there were some other areas that could have been stronger. The story lacked some minor details in the lands where Kara visited. All of them had a decent start to help my imagination out, but a little more time on it could have made it a lot better. Her storyline of the impending war was great for me, and I have to admit the book began to grow on me without me realizing it. I even noticed as I was reading towards the end of the book that the writing style I did not like in the beginning had changed into something stronger. It was slight, but it was there, and I can say now that I will read the next book in the series. It's almost as if I was witnessing the author mature as a writer with each chapter. I am glad I stuck it out to the end.
Despite the book's four star ending, the beginning nearly ruined the whole thing for me. I cannot in good conscience give this book even three and a half stars. It has to be three stars, which is 'ok' in my book. I do want to give it a little plus beyond the three - a kind of footnote that reads, "I believe this series is going to be way better than my rating of this first book would indicate."
So there you have it, 3+ (the plus is not a half a star) stars for The Grimoire: Lichgates. S. M. Boyce, towards the end of the book you showed a lot more focus and it pulled me in. I have a positive feeling in my gut that you will not disappoint in the upcoming sequel. I will be waiting.
Click the captioned link under the picture above to find the book's page on Goodreads.com. From there you should be able to find out how to obtain your own copy. Happy reading everyone!
Until next time,