Author: Kelli Swofford Nielsen
Series: The Stone Mage Wars
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
How Received: publisher ARC
Long ago, Stone Mages were revered in Lyria. They were men and women who could use powerful tradestones to harness their unique gifts of wind, rain, and earth to help those around them. But war with the Southern realm has threatened the mages with extinction. The truth about the tradestones has been lost, and the remaining magic is dwindling. When Princess Ivy, the beloved daughter of the king, is abducted, it seems that all hope for Lyria is lost as well. But when an unlikely group of loyal subjects embarks on a dangerous journey to the far-distant Fringe, the hope of restoring crown and kingdom is renewed. Among the group is Simon, a fool with wisdom beyond his years; Gilda, a nonmagical witch; Burr, a young thief; and Merrick, a jaded sea captain. Their quest will test their courage, their strength, and their friendship. But at the Fringe, they encounter a truth that will change everything they thought they knew about themselves, and this small band of heroes must embrace the power that is their birthright and stand together as Stone Mages of Lyria.Got to page: 156
After the third or fourth chapter, I had a strange feeling I wouldn't be finishing this book.
And it's sad, because this book had everything in it's favor going into it -- a great cast of characters, a fabulous fantasy world, a great plot.
But there are some writing styles and plotting styles I just can't handle, and Nielsen uses one of them.
I cannot stand when everything is explained to me as a reader.
I suppose that's why I favor first-person narratives; we're taken along for the ride with the character. I'm left guessing about what will happen and what's going on and I'm allowed to be shocked.
But Nielsen jumps around, not just between immediate characters in the group -- which I could tolerate -- but to go back and show what's happening in the kingdom, show what the bad guys are planning, show this, show that.
There's no suspense in it for me, and that killed my mood as I was reading it.
The characters are going through a weird portal! Cool! I wonder where they'll end up! Except then you flash over to the bad guys who are prepping to take them out and... then... you know.
I like having my suspense built up a bit more, ya know?
Final Comments: The characters and world are interesting -- it's just a personal preference for me. If you don't mind having your point of view jostled around, I'd say check it out.