Friday, 8 November 2013

Review: The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles, by AL Butcher

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles is a high fantasy book that follows Dii, an enslaved elven mage. She escapes her slavery, but finds herself sought by a trio of very different hunters: her master’s son Ulric, the oppressive Witch-Hunters, and the mage Archos.

The initial premise of the book is one of its strongest points, as it’s impossible to tell who’s going to find her first, and exactly what each one would do to her. After this the story turns down another path, and I felt it became less engaging. The final plot twist was another highlight, and my only gripe would be that it could’ve taken up more of the book without losing anything.

The book has a fairly bleak tone, with quite a lot of slavery, some rape, and villains who are entirely cruel. It takes a black and white approach to morality, which actually reminds me a little of The Outlaws of the Marsh.

The general world-building/lore was good. There’s a slight glass dagger feel to the magic, as in mages being intensely powerful but not without vulnerabilities. It would’ve been easy to strike the wrong note there (as mages too strong couldn’t be oppressed, and too weak wouldn’t need to be).

Whilst I much prefer violence to sex (which may explain why I’m single…) I did read the first few frisky scenes in the book. There aren’t huge numbers of them, probably around half a dozen. I thought they were very well done, and are probably the best written part of the story.

There’s quite a lot of description in the book, a shade more than I’d like, but (with one exception) it never seems excessive to the point of being a fault.

I do think a mistake was made with the balance of the book. The late plot twist (no spoilers) and the initial premise of Dii fleeing and being chased by Ulric, the Witch-Hunters and Archos were both very interesting, and could easily have taken up more of the book. I felt the story lost its way a little in the middle and meandered a bit.


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