My thanks to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for a review copy of this book.
This is the first of a series, the Deathsworn series (not sure how many books in total), and is essentially a fantasy adventure. The book opens with sixteen-year-old Chassy and his friend Nita, who live in Waet Tree village, the former an adventurous type who wants to see the world, and Nita who wants to stay home and eventually take over the Two Pumpkin Inn which her parents run. Their decision to eavesdrop on a conversation between two mysterious guests at the Two Pumpkin however turns their plans upside down, and they, along with Nita’s brother Andrev must set out on an adventure to track down an elf, and recover a stolen amulet with magical powers. On their journey, they must travel through the Blackwood, and face several other dangers. They team up with a band of travelling merchants led by the handsome William, who have secrets of their own. The three adventurers must come to terms with their quest that none of them are particularly willing to undertake, the world outside their little village, so different from their own, and things about themselves that they didn’t ever know or expect.
The book has the usual/typical set-up of a teens’/children’s/YA fantasy adventure—three teen protagonists (one of course being a bookish one—in this case Andrev) thrown into adventure all of a sudden with a prophecy surrounding them (and a not very positive one for one of the three), here very sudden because as soon as we open the first few pages the adventure begins. The author definitely gets points for imagination, thinking up creatures, places, and worlds that we have just begun to be introduced to, and which promise to grow more detailed and richer as the series progresses. The plot itself is fairly enjoyable, again nothing out of the ordinary, but one that one enjoys following. For me specifically, the initial parts were readable but they didn’t prevent me from taking breaks in between (that’s partly why it took me longer than usual to read the book), but once some secrets about our protagonists start to come forth, it gripped me a little more. The protagonists themselves—Chassy, Nita, and Andrev are fairly well drawn out, have the characters of typical teens (somewhat petulant, a touch arrogant), and also perspectives and fears that are to do with their upbringing in a sheltered environment with little contact with the outside world. But still somehow, I didn’t really take to them at the start, and found them somewhat annoying (even lacking in common sense). Nita improved a little for me on moving on, but I don’t know about the others though I wasn’t finding them as annoying later on as I did at the start. I wouldn’t mind reading on to see how the series progresses in the second book, but this one was pleasant, and enjoyable even but nothing extraordinary/standout for me. Three and a half stars.