The "Unexpected Inspiration" Characters

Feb 9, 2015

Book Review - Blood of the Chosen

I received Blood of the Chosen by Kara Owl from LibraryThing as part of the Early Reviews program.



Here's the summary from Amazon:
They are the heirs to a broken elven Family… Romerin Rialthus, the idealist. He wants his people to escape the poverty that the greedy Vaerestriel have forced upon them…at any cost. He has a plan: he will marry his beloved and together they will free his Family. Kerwilian Rialthus, the realist. She was born to protect her brother…but can she protect him when he chooses to follow his heart into a fruitless marriage? And is she willing to sacrifice her love to avoid an elven civil war? Toman Rialthus, the optimist. Twin to Ker, Toman has spent his whole life feeling unnecessary. Can he overcome his own doubts and fight with his siblings, or will his tryst with a human woman bring a curse on his Family and destroy the… BLOOD OF THE CHOSEN.
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First off I want to say that this was an excellent book. Kara Owl has a writing style that I enjoyed and the book was everything I'd look for in a fantasy novel. It had world-building and a unique culture, something that always catches my eye. I love when fantasy takes me to a new world with new races and cultures. There were family interactions, racial dynamics, rituals... there's a developed society in there. These characters are elves, but they didn't feel overdone at all; in fact, I forgot several times that they were elves because the characters were people, not stereotypes. The author put her own spin on the race to make them her own.

The writing style itself was also something I enjoyed. I'm always drawn to stories with multiple point-of-view characters and the author did a great job fleshing out the three siblings this story follows. (That in itself appealed to me- I love sibling stories!) Everything was very character driven and I do love me a character driven story. You truly do get into the heads of the POV characters and feel for them when plot happens. (And boy, does plot happen to them.)

But the names. Oh the names. Names, titles, and made up words everywhere. The characters all have fantasy names, which would be okay if they didn’t have several different titles/duties each, as well. These titles are never actually explained in the book. The main characters were fleshed out and easy to follow, but I found myself floundering a little to remember who some of the extra characters were and how they fit into the story. (This isn't necessarily anything to do with the writing style of the book. I had the same problem when reading "The Silmarillion". I tend to have a tough time keeping track of characters when they have long-ish created names.)

By the end of the book I had a pretty decent idea of what most of the titles referred to, but it was overwhelming at the start when it felt like every third sentence had a made up word. Don't get me wrong, I do love when authors do this because it adds to the world-building aspect. I can't help thinking, though, that if there had been some sort of aside explaining them (or possibly a glossary at the end- I think that might have been the best bet), that would have helped. Instead of struggling to remember who was who and what was what and being a bit jolted out of the story, I could have spent that time feeling a little closer to the characters earlier on.

That said, I really loved this book. I'm giving this 4 1/2 stars, but if there had been a good way of keeping track of who was what, this would have easily been five stars. I am quite definitely going to be reading more by Kara Owl.