Posted by Ana Mardoll at Friday, March 04, 2011 Edit
by Rachael Wheeler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Puria / B003CV7RD2
Throughout the fantasy world of Puria, there exist many different societies. There are societies where women are heavily veiled and publicly beaten for breaking the slightest of rules, and there are rural farming communities where laughter flows freely as the young men court their sweethearts in the crisp spring air. Not all the young men are content, however, and the spring air stirs a restlessness to see a little of the world beyond their small hamlet.
The opening prologue of this excerpt is quite frightening and gripping, and the sudden change of tone from cloistered society to free farmlands is a relief after such a heavily gripping beginning. More than anything else, I love the characterization of Reya, who seems very real and vivid, and of her lover Ellis, who manages to nicely balance his wanderlust with his love and responsibilities to Reya.
If I could make a suggestion, it would be that the dialogue and pacing suddenly feels slightly off at the point where Jos arrives at the saddle shop. I like the overall pacing - moving the young men out into the larger story quickly is definitely a good thing, but the mechanics of that feel a little forced. Perhaps there needs to be a stronger reason behind the journey - like a distant relation that has asked one of the boys to visit, or perhaps the boys hope to trade with another village? A lot of this will depend on the world-building desired for this fantasy world - for instance, where are they getting the metal needed for the saddle shop? That's an aspect to think about - few villages are entirely self-sufficient communities in terms of producing all their various staple products. This could even work within the marriage-proposal framing - Ellis could be getting supplies for their house, or for their wedding. It's something to think about, at least, to help the plot flow as naturally as possible.
Overall, I enjoyed this excerpt and would like to read more.
NOTE: This review is based on a sample excerpt of this book provided through the ABNA contest.
~ Ana Mardoll
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