Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Review of "Azuri Fae" by India Drummond

Story Overview:

Following on several months’ from the previous story, Eilidh is now a student in the hidden sanctuary of people who also have her special powers. Munroe is still getting to grips with his basic powers and recovering from his ordeal with the Blood Faerie. However a meeting with the Queen from her own Kingdom and a separate request from the Prince starts a chain of events that will embroil her and her friends in a political battle that will destroy them all or change the face of the Kingdom forever.

Cover Page:  19/20

Again, the cover aspects are much like the previous story; very well professionally done and very typical of the fantasy market. However what I noticed before with relation to the modern aspect is less so in this book, a large majority of the story occurs in rural or magical kingdoms with little of the story really taking place in urban. However you could argue that the cover page again reflects elements which suggest a medieval setting, which again might turn a potential fan away. Though again I will re-iterate my comment that I said in the previous review, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
Character (and their development):  18/20

With it being a second book the author might be forgiven by some to give the characters a backseat in development; to be completely at ease with other or to completely have forgotten the events of the previous book. I am glad to say none of that has occurred.

Eilidh is certainly affected by the events of the first and since then has certainly been developing ‘off page’. Her questioning loyalties concerning her connection between the exiled people she trains with, her natural home where her father lives and Munroe and the affections she has for him is brilliant player out with every twist and turn in her head. But at no point, when the going gets tough, does the author allow the character to sway from the set personality, which is certainly true of every character that the author has written for in this book.

Munroe’s change has make him a little like a love sick puppy in this book, but without him becoming someone who is so annoying you hope he is but in mortal peril just to get him unconscious for a while. However when it comes to duty he can certainly rough it out with the best of them and it is a joy to see some of his dialogue with the other characters, especially with his police sergeant and the Royal Prince. The tension that Munroe’s ways and Eilidh’s certainly gives parts of the book bite and I certainly felt sorry that they couldn’t just get away from it all to sort out their own problems before being dumped into other people’s troubles. Their relationship has so many layers however it never got dull to read about it during the book.

Secondary characters have again been well written for, each with a unique personality, way of talking and habits, giving the world a sense of depth and richness. A special mention has to be given to Oron who really came out in this book, whereas in the first book he wasn’t featured enough to appreciate his character.

Again, my main disappointment is with the antagonist. With less time spent with them than the previous instalment, it was hard to engage them. Without spoiling the ending, by the end of the book I was not emotionally invested enough to react to their actions.

Storyline: 18/20
This books has many layers are all interwoven like a fine thread that when they all connect create a wonderful story. So many parts of the story seem like another author might have ended it at that point, but this author gets the reader feeling comfortable that they are nearing the end and suddenly hits them with another events that will make them wish to read more and read quickly. A lot of the scenes were brilliantly played out and the author has done well to create a structure and story with so many elements that fit well in an order that both entertains and makes sense.

My observation is that despite the previous book, this one had a few predicable twists, either that or reading one book after the other got me too use to the way that the author writes and thinks, casual readers may not be able see what is coming up. Despite that, I do feel the book has an excellent and well thought out story.

Again unfortunately I can’t reveal too much about the story as that would give away a lot about the book.

Style: 20/20

The style of this book is very much the same as the previous book. The writing is excellent at getting the reader to get to the pace of what is going on within the book, action scenes which are fast moving are written so you have to read fast, the slower more sedate scenes also written so the reader is at their speed. It’s a brilliant way of getting the reader’s heart pumping just when it is needed. The author does a great job in their build up to the main events and if you are paying close attention you can see the little clues dotted around to warn you of the coming storm.

The detail is brilliant and makes the reader feel that they can touch, smell and taste the environment that the characters are. The thoughts of the characters are well played out and brilliantly woven into the story to add to the storyline.

Another great part of the story is that the author has made it so that if you are new to the series, you needn’t have read the first book, although it would be of help still. By doing so the author allows a reader who has bought this book first to read it, get to know the characters well without feeling there is a tonne of information they are missing and buy the first one if they so wish later on. I think this was a great moment from the author.

Spelling and Grammar:  19/20

Considering the flawless and I mean flawless show last time; I was disheartened to see a couple of mistakes in this book. However having read countless books, indie, traditional and small press I can honestly say that the number of mistakes in this book is only second to her first book and miles better than a dozen or so traditional books that I have read in the past year. If I were the author I would not be concerned, after all we are only human.

Conclusion:  94/100

This book is an excellent sequel to the first in the series that moves the story on in a fashion that any author should be proud of. With enthralling tales, twists that will shock most readers and characters that you just wish you could invite over for dinner; I would recommend this to anyone who loves fantasy.

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