Genre: Epic Fantasy
First off let me say I’m a huge fantasy lover, so I’m all up for a good fantasy book; epic’s are one of my favs. Rift of Askrah has its good moments and some bad ones. First off world building is huge in the fantasy book realm, and Andrews has world building in spades. From the names I have a hard time pronouncing to the intricate details of political status and geographical makeup, overall it’s decent and easy to get absorbed in.
We start with a crown prince, he’s being held to complete these ceremonies and an arranged marriage. In the midst of an important rite of passage the Prince of Draven, Nihlen is kidnapped. What Nihlen has going for him: kidnapper companionship and the fact that Nihlen is pretty much a kick butt dude. That’s right, bring on the fight scenes! I love a good fight scene and there plenty of action. You have the Prince, the beautiful lower class female Marina, and the barbarian Cal. Cal’s not really a barbarian, but when you’re big and admit you don’t think very well you get the barbarian title. Marina and Cal weren’t keen on the whole kidnapping thing, but they were lured into the plot. These three unlikely heroes find themselves pitted against a vast array of enemies and on a mission to save the Kingdom of Draven.
What I really enjoyed is the world Andrews created. There were some interesting practices, belief systems, and political alignments that kept me wanting to know more. Nihlen possesses a special ability, the Eye of Kings, and the mythos behind it is very impressive. I found this to be big Achilles heel for the character and enjoyed watching how he adjusted to it. All the characters have depth, and capacity to learn and grow. I found the interactions between them at times to flow easily and at other moments contrived. The overall pacing of the journey is crafted well, though the first chapter dragged due to setting the scene.
What bothered me the most was what felt like a weak amount of editing to this book. Structure, word repetition, and massive amounts of description were used. When these things occurred I felt disjointed from the story, almost like I was a viewer in the world being kicked out of it. I did my best to read through the story in an attempt to overlook these flaws, but I often found myself scanning for repeat phrases, which in some portions were easy to locate. For me this put a dampener on my reading experience and for future books I would recommend additional editing. The plot, pacing, the world and even the characters in my opinion have a ton of potential. This book just needed fine tuning.
If you’re someone who can overlook the little things and just wants to get lost in a fantasy then this book may still be something you want to add to reading list. For me I would love to see future books, with a stronger emphasis on the writing being equal to the storytelling.