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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"Vengeance: The Tainted Realm Book One" by Ian Irvine (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

 Visit Ian Irvine's Official Website Here
OVERVIEW: Ten years ago, two children witnessed a murder that still haunts them as adults.

Tali watched as two masked figures killed her mother, and now she has sworn revenge. Even though she is a slave. Even though she is powerless. Even though she is nothing in the eyes of those who live above ground, she will find her mother's killers and bring them to justice.

Rix, heir to Hightspall's greatest fortune, is tormented by the fear that he's linked to the murder, and by a sickening nightmare that he's doomed to repeat it.

When a chance meeting brings Tali and Rix together, the secrets of an entire kingdom are uncovered and a villain out of legend returns to throw the land into chaos. Tali and Rix must learn to trust each other and find a way to save the realm -- and themselves

FORMAT: Vengeance is the first book in the Tainted Realm trilogy. It is an epic fantasy with mystery, adventure, and magic. It stands at 688 pages and was published in the UK and US by Orbit on April 3, 2012.

ANALYSIS: Vengeance, the first book in the Tainted Realm trilogy, was my first chance to experience Ian Irvine's writing. I have seen the author's works on the shelf before, but never had the urge or time to pursue any of the other fantasy series.

Vengeance had all the elements I was looking for at the time in a book -- fantasy, mystery, adventure, and a newly created world to jump right into. Add that to the mysterious, yet not unique plot and I thought I'd give this novel a try.

I enjoyed my journey into Ian Irvine's writing. I found that the world was surprisingly unique, yet not so complicated that I felt weighted down with lengthy descriptions or tons of information. Irvine seemed to know just how to set up the world so that readers could understand and picture it in their minds without the need of 20-30 pages of lengthy descriptions.

That is not to say that the world is not complicated or simple. Irvine adds a lot of history, depth, and magic to the world without making it feel like you have picked up a history book and started reading.
In addition to the world building, I loved the action and adventure. Things seemed to move at a fairly consistent pace that never really allowed the book to slow down, yet wasn't so fast that I felt lost or as if I was missing something due to the need for action.

While I enjoyed the world building and fast paced nature of the story, there were several potential problems that I ran into with the novel. The first problem was a slight confusion that I felt during the first one-third to half of the book.

There were numerous names, background stories, and other things that just seemed thrown out there. It almost felt like I was picking up on a middle book in the series, but I was not. This is the first book of a series. Things are eventually cleared up and by the end of the book, I was no longer confused and everything fell into place, but it was a little aggravating.

Another problem I encountered was the lack of an emotional attachment to any character. Typically, in a novel I feel attached to someone. Sometimes it is the good guy, sometimes it is the bad guy, sometimes it is the random side kick. This book I felt nothing for any of the characters. Maybe this was due to the action and world building, maybe it was just a 'first book getting to know characters' problem, I am not really sure.

I did find Tobey, a side kick to the main character Rix, mysterious and fascinating. However, it was not until the end of the book that I really started to connect with him and by then the book was over.

Overall, I enjoyed Vengeance. There were slight issues that arose, but I don't think it hurt my reading experience. I do wish that I had connected more with some of the characters, but maybe that will happen in the second book. I plan on reading the second book in this series to see how things turn out and may even explore other works by Irvine.


Joshua Lowe said...

I'm a huge fan or Ian Irvine's earlier works - The Three Worlds saga is truly phenomenal! However this book was a world of disappointment for me ... I just found it messy and unbelievable. If you want to read something great, try A Shadow on the Glass.

Cindy said...

There was definitely a lot that needed to be worked out. I wish I had been able to create more of a bond with the characters, as that is really important to me.

I think at the time I read it, I wanted a fantasy (magic, adventure, etc.) and this filled it nicely. It wasn't the best option, but it worked for what I wanted.

Meg K said...

I agree with Josh, A Shadow on the Glass is great. I've read some mixed reviews on Vengeance, so I haven't gotten to it yet. I'll probably still give it a try based on Irvine's other books.

Cindy said...

I think its one of those series I'll give the second book a try and then really judge. The first book wasn't enough to turn me completely off, but I am not rushing out to read the second one either.


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