Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sara Douglass - BattleAxe

A thousand years ago the Acharites drove the Forbidden from their land. Now strange sightings along Achar's northern border foreshadow their return. The barbaric tribes of the Ravensbund are pouring south with tales of fearsome beings who feed on the terror of their prey.
Axis, bastard son of the dead Princess Rivkah, is sent to the battlefront of Gorkenfort with his elite Axe-Wielders. Once there, he must hand over command to his hated half-brother, Borneheld. But travelling north, Axis falls in love with Faraday - Borneheld's bethrothed, and meets two priests who challenge the very essence of his beliefs.
The Sentinels walk the land, the TreeFriend has been found, and the people of the Plough, the Wing and the Horn must set aside their differences and unite under one leader against the evil rising in the North...

Comment: Years ago, most specifically in 2011, I got interested in this book for some reason, probably because of the idea of a fantasy romance, and then I got it through BookMooch. It went to the pile, months went by and this is why, five years later, I got it out of the dusty shelf and added it to my reading list of October. I had all hopes of being dazzled by it.

This is he first installment in the Axis Trilogy (or in some cases/editions, the Wayfarer trilogy), featuring hero Axis and his adventures to become the man in a prophecy that will defeat a huge enemy and reunite a nation again.
In order to accomplish this, Axis must go through several steps and accept who he might be. At the same time, other characters move along and get into place to help him. Of course, Gorgrael, the enemy is reuniting forces to battle Axis and his army. But there are many unknown facts to reveal and the prophecy must happen before Axis succeeds...

This is my first book by the author and I had pretty good expectations about this fantasy story. As with most fantasy books, the focus isn't on romance but I was told or read somewhere that it had hints of it and that was what convinced me to try it. I was quite interested in knowing how the author would balance the two things, romance and plot. I must say, it was not like I imagined... especially because the plot keeps putting setbacks in the romance between Axis and Faraday. I could accept this if the reasons were credible or if the relationship wasn't portrayed as insta-love, which it was. If not, then a developing relationship through three books would have been great to see develop, but no.

For this book, I'm certain the author has thought a lot on which ideas to use but the fact is, too many, in my opinion. The world building is quite clever and I liked the idea of different races having to be reunited, I liked the notion each race was different and their differences would be what would allow them to win the final battle against the common enemy. But while Axis would be the leader and so on, why would we have to see Axis battle his half-brother (he actually has two to battle) for so many reasons, their beloved on top of it all too? I would have liked to think the author could have done better, chose better ways to send the message across without changing the characters too much simply their positions and attitudes.

I guess I would change things, I would write certain passages differently and I don't think it's necessary for several things to happen. I couldn't stop thinking how much better the plot would be if only certain things were different and if I couldn't manage to fully focus on the book, something was wrong. I especially disliked the fact so many clichés were here, like the hate between brothers, the love triangle, the betrayal of someone that should be a friend, etc. Clichés work for a reason, I know, but at the same time wouldn't it be amazing, if more imagination or simplicity could happen among all the fantasy ideas?

The fantasy aspect of this is clearly the best thing about the book. The author has a lot of imagination and several things, details and types of characters/beings caught my attention. I would have loved to see it more and part of the fun was to see which people we would meet and who and what they were. The transformation of some characters in terms of who they are, where they come from, and so on was very interesting and I wanted to know more but then they would do or say things and I'd get annoyed.

What annoyed me the most is how the characters have to follow a certain pattern. Why must there be treason? Why must there be hate between brothers? Why must there be  an enemy who influences or convinces god characters to betray and so on...? Why are the characters so one dimensional? I'd have loved to see changes in this aspect, I'd have loved to see good guys being good guys, sure bad things happen, misunderstandings, wrong replies to bad situations, but come on, why can't people be god people all the time and be clever and make good choices? I wish authors would write more about good characters being clever and faster than their enemies in thrillers and fantasy. 
Then where would be the fun? Well, who knows!!! Maybe true talent would be revealed that way!

Apart from the fantasy world, the incredible little details everywhere, the story could have gained a lot more with different tactics. Still, I was entertained most of the time and in some parts I couldn't put it down. The fact there are several chapters makes the book look smaller and one can have the notion the reading is going faster.
I've read the blurbs of the next two books in the trilogy and sincerely I won't read them. I foresee many more clichés and annoying decisions/moves which would ruin it for me. So I'll stick with my memories of this book, my expectations and my own imagination of how things could go on and be solved instead.
But anyone who likes fantasy and soap opera plotting, this would work for you.
Grade: 5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment