During the A to Z Challenge I found several new blogs, one of which was Misha Gericke's Five Year Project blog. Each time she commented on my blog, I made a return visit to hers and after a few weeks realised that I should really add some of my new blogging acquaintances to my Bloglovin' feed. It does make it easier to keep track of everyone. ;-)
I noticed that several of her posts were talking about the two books she's
been working on from her War of Six Crowns series of books. I was
intrigued by the information that she shared and after some hesitation (did I
really have time to add more books to my To-Read list?) I signed up to
be an early reviewer of The Vanished Knight and The Heir's
The Vanished Knight is the first in M. Gerrick's The War of Six
Crowns series and features Callan, a teenage girl who has spent her recent
years bouncing around the foster system. Her latest foster family is incredibly
wealthy and promptly ship her off to a posh boarding school where all is not as
it seems. It isn't long before she finds herself in a strange new world,
fighting the dark entity that lives within her, and discovering that her parents
may not have been who they said they were.
It took me a little while to get into the story, which I think is as much
about me as the actual story. Fantasy stories always have a lot of work to do,
setting up the world as well as introducing the characters, plot and other
little details. I was a little distracted at first by the way the foster care
system was presented, but once the story got going and Callan arrived at
Graystone I was able to settle into it. By the time the real fantasy aspect
picked up I was able to get properly absorbed into it.
One of the things that is really key to a good fantasy story (for me at
least) is the world building aspect. I need to be able to picture the world and
have it feel real. If there's magic or things that work differently to the real
world, I like to have some sort of explanation or understanding of why it is
different. I can be extremely critical of it when it doesn't work well.
The Vanished Knight's world building has been done really well.
There are actual different languages spoken by different peoples (oh be still my
geeky linguist heart) which I loved. It's amazing how something so simple can
make or break a story. I couldn't help but study each sentence and the
translation trying to figure out the structure of the language. Because I'm a
dork and a linguistics nut and I do things like that.
Something that I think would really add to this book (or future books) would
be appendices with some details on the languages. I also felt like a map would
be a useful addition to help to illustrate the world. I was able to picture the
individual places that the characters visited, but I'd love to see a map to see
how those places relate to one another.
The character of Callan is intriguing and I'm curious to learn more about her
in the next book. Especially about the 'entity' which inhabits her body. We get
lots of little mentions of it but no concrete explanation. I'm guessing all will
be revealed later. I hope that it's something that comes in the next book or two
and isn't dragged out too long.
As for the other characters. They all came across as individuals, with Gawain
and Kaela being my favourites. James is the one you love to hate. I was slightly
miffed that the preview of the next book focused on James, but I'm guessing he's
going to come into his own in the future; hopefully getting over the grumpy,
spoilt rich kid thing he's had going on up until this point and maybe having a
little heroic moment of his own.
I received the first two books for free in exchange for my own honest
reviews; I'm looking forward to moving on to the next book in the series,
The Heir's Choice, in the next week or so (check back soon for the
review of that one).