Mageland’s Epic 1: The Queen’s Executioner Review
The Queen’s Executioner by Christopher Mitchell was an okay start to The Mageland’s Epic series. Truth be told, I was a little thrown off from the start by the pages about the races and the huge list of characters and how they were interrelated — some of which never even saw the light of day within the text itself. All of the information literally told to me in the first pages before the book even started would have been better fit if they were weaved within the text itself, which felt absent of the descriptions I had read in the beginning, leading me to believe the author assumed everybody would read that because if they hadn’t, they’d be confused.
What’s nice about the text and what makes it easy to at least read throughout is that the author clearly knows what he’s talking about. The execution of his world building within the final text may have missed the mark on a few places, but even though so many things are “told” to you throughout the text, it’s still evident that the author himself has put a lot of thought into how everything works within this world.
Some things just fell a little flat for me — like the love triangle I couldn’t have cared any less about, how the magic in the world actually worked as well as why it was such a taboo, and the randomized addition of the world’s “faith” toward the end — but it never became a book I didn’t particularly want to stop reading. That being said, apart from the twist at the end, there’s nothing else that would really keep me going further into the next book.
The love triangle felt a little forced, and we mostly saw the development of the new relationship — nothing about the current one that’s falling apart. That’s all it does; fall apart. I thought they were siblings at first, so I was rooting for the new relationship the entire time instead of feeling the push-pull of emotions — emotions that were being told to me instead of shown for the large part.
As to the magic, there were elements in there that I enjoyed, but there are also elements in there that make me feel like the magic was inserted just because in certain places. In my detailed notes below I reference Brandon Sanderson’s First Law of Magic, and I just think that it was violated in this text. Not to say that law is an actual law, but his theory of magic needing to make sense instead of being used to get characters out of situations really does enhance the experience, and I felt that to be lacking in here. Especially because a lot of historical elements of the world are either left out or just told in passing instead of any development about what happened in the past that caused the current events. That’s another aspect that, again, is obvious that the author has put some thought into, but in final execution, the translation feels a little off.
The randomized addition of faith is something I also talked about in my plot development video, but there wasn’t really any mention of a “Creator” until well past the second third, at least not one that stuck out to me, and it felt really important toward the end. That just felt a little jarring, is all.
And none of this is to mention that I didn’t even connect with who I assume was meant to be a main character until way past the start of the second half, either. This character is, for all intents and purposes, “The Queen’s Executioner,” and they did not become interesting to me until it became obvious that that was who they were. That being said, I was disconnected because their chapters were so sparse at the beginning and everybody else is connected, so I just found myself wondering where they were too often to really connect to them until they were suddenly “so important.”
I can understand why the author wanted to keep certain things succinct and to the point, especially regarding his self-publication of this, but it is also a text that I felt would have benefitted from more development. A lot of development in a good portion of the text might have added two or three hundred pages, but it would have suited everything better, in my opinion.
What I did like, however, and something that I’ll take with me moving forward into my own texts as well, was the examination of slavery and how this world’s political system affected that. It’s eerily similar to the US history, and this author is European, but I enjoyed reading a fantasized version of that history from an author in a different country, because, to me anyway, that offered a really unique perspective.
Again, as weird as it is to say it, the politics of this book was also a highlight for me. It gave me the Joe Abercrombie vibes, and I felt like the political characters in this book were some of the strongest in the text.
I also liked how the different races spawned from reptiles, amphibians, and apes, I just wish there was more development in the actual text of all of that, because, again, if I hadn’t read everything in the beginning pages, I would have been so so lost. It jarred me because usually that kind of content is left for the end of the book and is used as a reference if you forget something while you’re reading, not at the front as something you need to know before you even start.
Overall, I give it a 3.5 out of five, but on Goodreads I rounded it down to 3 just because I felt so disconnected from the characters. The plot itself was good, it’s certainly not poorly written and it’s entertaining enough to read the entire thing, but certain areas that lacked for me just cause me to lower the rating a bit.
LOVE TRIANGLE: KALLIE-KILLOP-DAPHNE
As I mentioned above, I first thought Kallie and Killop were twins. I didn’t go back to the beginning to check if that was a my mistake or the author’s, partially because it’s on my Kindle and partially because that’s just seriously how disconnected I am to this relationship, but I literally thought Kallie and Killop were twins.
Part of the reason that even occurred to me was because of what I was told about their race in those beginning pages — information that I wish I would have learned with the introduction of Kallie and Killop because it would have helped. Those beginning pages state the frequency of twins in their race, so with Kallie and Killop being their names, I assumed they were twins and Bridget was just one of their friends or whatever. There wasn’t ever really any backstory, just certain things told to us through random bits of dialogue about their “capture,” but I don’t think I even realized Kallie and Killop were married until he met Daphne and the jealousy started, as well as finding out that Killop’s twin is Keira which still adds to some of the confusion with the K’s. Might have been interesting if Bridget and Kallie were twins and Kallie had a different name, but that threw me off from the start.
Then there’s just the whole idea of really being “told” about Kallie and Killop’s past without ever seeing it for myself. Their relationship is already pretty distant at the start and it only falls apart as the story goes on, but the revelation of that prophecy with Killop and Daphne was already pretty obvious, and since that’s how it all played out anyway, there wasn’t ever any real drama or conflict surrounding this outside of what we’re just being told to care about.
Daphne finding out she’s pregnant would be the only storyline I’d want to follow into the next book, and I’m just not sure if that’s a strong enough arc to keep me going through all the rest of it.
MAGES: DAPHNE, KEIRA, SHELLA
Random, random, random.
Magic exists in this world, find. Keira and Shella did some wild shit that made everybody scared, fine. Daphne is just Daphne and had a weirdly interesting yet flat character arc all the same.
It’s just that none of it really made any sense or really felt like it actually belonged, just more, again, like an excuse or a way to get someone out of something. Even with Shella and how she kills everybody without trying to which thus basically labels her “The Queen’s Executioner,” as her sister is the queen, it was just… underdeveloped. Like, once it’s time for magic, there it is, but nothing really much about the development. Not like she didn’t practice before or whatever, it just felt like the magic was included because he felt like he had to put it in there to keep things interesting, and I would just disagree, I guess.
Plus, with Keira, I would have really liked to see more into the history of what she did to get everyone so freaked out instead of just being told she burned everyone to a crisp pretty much. That would have been some fun action to get into, and there’s never any type of flashback anywhere in this text, which isn’t terrible in and of itself, but it added to me feeling like there were historical things lacking within the text itself to make the importance of them interesting, when they were clearly so integral to what was going on.
Shella was just too random at the start. She’s the only main character not named in the back of description text, she’s the only character who isn’t interacting with any of the other main characters until just after 2/3 of the way through, and her POV chapters at the start come every five to six chapters so she just feels so jarring. The five chapters in between hers see so much development and connection with all of the other characters that I felt more connected to. I wondered where Shella was so much that I was almost frustrated anytime she came around, and almost willing to either put the book down or remove an entire star rating until there started to be some connection with her and everybody else.
Not having her with everybody else is fine, but it would have been much better to first of all add some chapters to her, and second off only keep maybe three or four in between, at least right at the very beginning. I don’t know, just really bothered me.
This just didn’t come about really until the end of the book when they suddenly started talking about a Creator, and it’s just another example in this book I think of something that just feels added or forced just because, and not because it has any substance or value to the actual book. Although it might in the second, it would have been more beneficial if it was at least mentioned earlier on in the book, or the importance of it was eased into instead of thrust at us all of a sudden.
Chapter By Chapter Reaction
Chapter 1: Reminded me a little of the Hunger Games just a little bit, but if I’m honest, I’m not all the way sure Shella was the best character to open with. The writing style is intriguing enough to carry forward, but I don’t have any attachment to the character as of yet.
I’m also both helped and intimidated by the definitions and list of names at the beginning. It’s certainly nice to have the glossary, but having it at the start just makes me feel like, “Oh, Lord, I have to prepare for this.”
It also makes me feel a little like the beginning section tells me things I need to know instead of showing it to me in the text, but I think this is an established author with the series in this world (have to check), so if that’s the case, it would mostly probably just be him assuming that a large portion of his readers already know things about the different races.
Chapter 2: Brings me more into a Joe Abercrombie type writing style, which makes me feel more like I’m in a Dark Fantasy book. For some reason, with some of the talk of money in here and slave trade and everything, part of it reminds me of Daniel Abraham’s The Dragon’s Path, which is the first in a series that I would actually really like to finish one day.
There might not be much of a comparison there, it just made me think of it, and that story had a lot of really interesting banking kind of stuff to deal with currency in a fantasy book.
Anyway, I think the second chapter starts to develop a little more into the plot, but I again almost feel like some of the things I wish I could experience were told to me before the first page even started, and I almost feel like if I hadn’t read that, I wouldn’t know what was going on at all.
That’s also a bit detrimental to me in the case of the massive list of character names, the fact that there’s like a hundred characters just listed out and how they’re interrelated and who goes into what species just felt overwhelming to have before I even got into the books, but again, I’ll have to look in to see if he has more in this world, or just how separate this series is, before I give that an actual final judgment.
Chapter 3: Now we get a little more backstory about the differences in the races, but again, if I didn’t have the descriptions of the Rakanese and the Rahain being reptilian and amphibious, or the Holdings being from the apes, I would have been super confused here. Again, especially after looking into it and realizing this is genuinely kind of the beginning of the story, minus one or two prequels before, I would have liked to have seen more of it unfold in the text. Like having Daphne notice something about Douanna that’s different, that marks her as reptilian heritage and Daphne as a Holding.
Again, too, with the names, if I hadn’t looked through the cast list first, I might have a lot harder of a time with it here.
But now we’re getting into a “medieval setting” type trope with the castles and the court system in play and we’re starting to see the rankings of the races and how they treat each other just a little bit more. I like that we’re starting to find out historical things, like the Collision kind of representing Pangea, but i do also feel like it’s being told to me. And I get it, the author is probably just trying to get straight into the story, but I’ve already felt a few examples of showing versus telling in this text, myself.
Chapter 4: We meet the slaves in the cage, and it’s the first sign of some dark fantasy action. At first, I thought, “Oh, man, these slaves get treated well, eating pork and bread and all that!” Then they were poisoned, and it really showed a look into the separation going on between the races.
However, with, what was it Paeoton or something and Similia or something like that, I like that they’re willing to teach Killop and Bridget and Kallie (Killop and Kallie are the siblings I think, I can’t be bothered looking back) how to speak their language, and it opens the idea that those who are different from us aren’t necessarily beasts or animals or slaves, or really all that different at all. We all just come from different places.
Chapter 5: A further look into the politics side of things with Laodoc, and with the Liberals and the Hedgers, it sets up that good ol Democrats vs Republicans type setting, although I’m interested to see how he tackles it from a European point of view in that regard. They, of course, have their own politics, which I also feel is implemented here with some monarchy type situations.
The two Laodoc chapters we’ve had so far have really reminded me of Glokta and Gorst from Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy (although to be fair I think Abercronbie’s is a bit better).
Chapter 6: This Shella character is kind of interesting — not really. There was some stuff about the education at the beginning and we got to see a little bit more into her family. I have to pull out the character’s name list to help me keep track because I feel like the characters are just kind of spat at me. It reminds me a lot of The Hobbit with like Nobli and Obli and whatever, but it reminds me a lot of that with the dwarves and trying to keep everyone straight with all of her siblings.
The characters do seem to be starting to come together a little bit at this point, but Shella is currently my least interested character. She does become a little more interesting right at the end when she becomes the mage, but… I still feel the Joe Abercrombie vibes, but, like, Joe Abercrombie meets The Hobbit.
Chapter 7: Outside of Shella, I like everyone else. I like her, but I like seeing more into the reptilian and amphibian races that we see with the other characters. I like looking more into the societal aspect of what’s going on and seeing how the political aspects are forming things. It does seem like the author has put a lot of thought into this world, like a lot of world building has clearly gone into this book on his end, but I still feel like the execution seems a little “told.” I’m not disliking the story, at all, but nearly a quarter of the way through and I still don’t have a completely solid opinion on how I feel about it.
Chapter 8: I think part of the reason I’m attaching to all of these other characters, like Simionia or whatever her name is — I’m really bad with names and there’s just a lot in here — but with the slaves, Killop, Bridget, Laodoc, all of them, how they’re kind of interconnected is interesting to me. Especially since these last two chapters have been with these characters and it helps build the world more as they interact with each other. It’s part of the reason I feel disconnected to Shella, because even though she has an upcoming interesting arc, I still feel like she’s a bit random and it’s interesting to me, especially since she’s the one that opened up the book but is also the only POV character to not be named on the back of the book description.
At least, as of now, the themes surrounding the slavery aspects is the most interesting part of the story to me, talking about how it’s illegal to make certain people a house slave or this or that with the politics and everything, so, again, I think there’s been a lot of thought put into the world building aspect of this from the author, and I really like the reptilian and amphibian take on the races, even though the plot isn’t all the way obvious yet and I still don’t really know why what’s going on is happening. I get there’s “been war” but I don’t really know what else that means because we’re still getting to know all of the after effects, it’s just hard to make that connect when I don’t really know any of the backstory either, I guess.
Chapter 9: Laodoc is the perspective that reminds me of Joe Abercrombie’s Glokta or Gorst or someone like that from his First Law trilogy. This chapter was mostly just about the politics, but then… one of these politicians, Maella or whoever, was already murdered by the time she was introduced… which is fine, but she was also listed in the characters in the beginning, and it just makes me feel like… why have that list of characters if any of them aren’t even really relevant? Especially because, at this point, I don’t even think we’ve met all the characters listed yet, and it’s a little disconcerting that someone I was “waiting” to meet was already dead. Hopefully there’s at least some sort of “mystery” that comes from this that adds to the story.
Chapter 10: I really feel like Shella is an example, to me, of a plot based arc over a character. I don’t feel attached to her, still, but I know she’s supposed to be something big and something grand and something whatever, but again, I kind of feel like there’s more “implied” history here than anything that makes me feel really attached to what’s going on. I still don’t know why there’s all this war, all this hostility, and all of this tension between these races, and we’re moving toward getting close to halfway through the overall book.
I’m all for a slow burn of a story, and I do think there’s obviously enough intrigue to keep me going, but I feel like Shella is supposed to be considered the “main” character of this whole story, and so far she’s still the one I’m least invested in. I look forward to seeing how her storyline connects in with the others.
Really feeling Joe Abercrombie vibes.
Chapter 11: Okay, I like Daphne, but here’s the thing:
There’s hardly been any character development so far. Like, at all. I want to know how Daphne ended up with Douanna. I want to see more of her struggle to turn into an assassin when she doesn’t feel like it’s something that fits into her character. I want to see more than just her drinking brandy and smoking a cigarette at the end of a night of killing, I want to see how turning into a killer changes her —
But at the same time, I have no idea what she was really like before… except she gets upsets when she sees slaves behind bars, and yet she seems almost basically fine with killing people.
Again, the story does just seem mostly plot-driven, which is fine, but I’m still feeling like if I hadn’t had the list of characters or the descriptions of each race at the beginning, I would be completely confused. The thing that bothers me about that is those types of things are usually included at the end, just for reference, and you usually don’t have to read race descriptions and character lists just to understand the basis of what’s going on in the general plot.
A few chapters away from halfway now, and I just hope by the end of the book there’s at least one character I really care about — whether they have any hope or not.
Chapter 12: Is Kallie Killop’s twin? I can’t remember if that was actually specified, but again, the only reason I would even think that was from the paragraph about their race at the beginning stating that twins are common among their people, and I just assume the two K names make them twins… except for reading on in this Bridget just referred to Killop as Kallie’s man?
I suppose I feel like these aren’t the types of questions I should have twelve chapters in.
I’m also a little confused about the type of setting — I honestly thought they were in some medieval times type setting, but with a flushing toilet in this chapter and a pre-rolled cigarette in the last, I am feeling a bit confused on that front.
I really really wish there was more backstory included on the war that’s been talked about literally the whole time. At this point I almost feel like it’s not enough just to know there was tension and war — I need some why’s as to how it happened and what started it and why the tensions continue to boil outside of just knowing that some people are slaves. Especially with like the reading and writing and studying and everything Killop and Co are doing — why can’t we learn more about what they’re learning instead of just saying things like “her knowledge was expanding rapidly.” WHAT KNOWLEDGE?!
There is a bit of examination going on later, but I feel like as soon as it starts with the professor, it kind of stops. Although, now I know that Killop’s twin sister is Keira (where did she come from and where is she now?) so I guess that helps, although the only reason I even know Keira was a character at all was because of the list at the beginning.
Chapter 13: The Conservative/Liberal thing is interesting to me, but mostly because the author isn’t from America, but he’s utilizing American politics to build the world he’s writing about — a world which, since there’s teashops and cafes and stuff in this chapter, I’m still trying to figure out if it’s modern day or not.
And I really, really am going to need some explanations as to why things are happening sooner rather than later. It’s not enough for the plot to keep building without knowing basically any of the backstory that’s created these tensions. It was okay at first, but now it just feels like I’m missing a huge part of the story.
And, again, where is Shella? She’s still the only character that’s “standalone” but her sporadic chapters sincerely make it hard to connect with her. Everybody else with a POV is at least in the same place and is interacting with each other, so their characters are building through that, but I still feel like I’m meant to care the most about Shella, but she’s the most pointless character to me so far.
Chapter 14: I am starting to like Shella’s character a little bit more, but I’m still feeling like she’s too far few and between in this book. She’s the only one who has a POV who wasn’t named on the back cover, but she was the first character we were introduced to, but hardly see at all. I have a feeling she’ll end up being one of the most important characters by the end, but I still wish there was more of her in the beginning since, again, just sitting at about halfway and I’m only STARTING to feel some sort of anything toward her.
Her chapters are also the ones that really have most of the language, which in and of itself doesn’t bother me, but sometimes I feel like if language is just used to use language then it isn’t as beneficial to the storyline unless it’s consistently vulgar. I think that’s one of the reasons Joe Abercrombie can pull that off, because I remember when he was releasing The First Law and talking about “yeah I curse in a fantasy” kinda thing, but that’s just a side thought.
Chapter 15: I’m going to reiterate a thought I had earlier: It seems like the author has written out so much about the different territories and the races and the tensions and everything else that’s going on in this world. I really feel like he has a very strong sense of what is happening everywhere, which is great, because that’s what I feel makes this story cohesive and not all over the place.
For me, however, I actually really find the lack of backstory by this time almost just… I’m not sure how to describe it. I guess the best way is to say that the story only focuses on current events, which is great, but it talks a lot about past events and how they’ve shaped current things, but there’s really no detail about those events. Again here with Daphne and talking about the academy and how she was such a nice girl or whatever compared to her assassin storyline now — that’s almost a perfect example of an arc that’s “told” to me rather than me seeing certain things. I don’t know Daphne in her “innocence,” I haven’t seen one single memory or reflection on it or anything.
This also goes further into the settings themselves. First off, Rahain and Rakanese are kinda so similar that it’s confusing enough as it is, but I also feel like I don’t know anything about how these places work, and I’m still not all the way sure what type of setting we’re in. When I read Shella, I think we’re in Hunger Games. When I read Laodoc, I think we’re in First Law World. When I read Daphne, I feel like we’re in some sort of dystopian earth. And especially with how high tensions are, and then in the last chapter with Shella when she didn’t even know what a war was, and I thought the war was what tore everyone apart? Maybe there’s certain things I’m overlooking, but I’m also keeping a chapter by chapter reaction log, so, then again maybe there’s not.
It’s just some of the execution, I suppose, that I struggle with in this book. I enjoy the story — at halfway though, I’m not even considering a DNF. I’ve been thinking about this book actually a lot outside of the reading time, but there’s a lot of things about it that are still missing the mark for me, and I hope some of that turns around by the end.
Chapter 16: I’m already more invested in Killop and Daphne than I am Killop and Kallie, and that kind of bothers me, actually. I also feel like Killop as a thing for Simiona, but then he talks so much about how he “cares” about Kallie.
I thought Kallie was his twin, not his wife, when we first met her, and it still feels the same. Even in this chapter, with Simi saying she was “happy to see Killop and Kallie happy again” and Killop commenting on “Kallie’s improvement,” I don’t see any of that. Literally. The last conversation they really had “on screen” was kind of arguing over his dreams about Daphne, so I have a hard time getting behind their relationship at all, especially since they’re supposed to be married.
I did like getting a deeper look into the slavery aspect of things in this chapter, and it’s helping me round out some of the backstory I’ve complained is missing. Hopefully, now that we’re officially moving into the second half, things all start to tie together before the end.
Chapter 17: I think the story is starting to pick up here, but I think, still and again, that if there had just been the tiniest bit more development in the beginning (and not by just having it written out in the opening pages), then everything here would be a lot stronger. As it is, it seems like we’ve got all the necessary information out of the way, regardless of how it was delivered to us, so here’s to hoping the last half picks up speed. Not as though the first half had no speed, it just felt like grasping at straws a couple of times trying to figure out relationships and backstories and tensions and such.
Chapter 18: I feel the same about Shella as I have the whole book: She’s too sporadic to really care, although every time we do meet her she seems more and more important (there’s just no interconnectedness with her and the other characters, which is fine, but that’s what makes only seeing her every 5-6 chapters difficult, because then you spend 5-6 chapters with literally every other character in the book interacting with each other.) Again, she’s also the POV with all the language, and it just seems weird to randomly have someone just using the word “fuck” a lot.
Hopefully we start to see either more or less of her throughout this, or at least that she connects somehow with the other characters by the end, because if she hasn’t, I’m seriously going to knock off a whole star from whatever my final rating is.
Chapter 19: “It was obvious that Killop was with the red-haired woman, Kallie.” Was it, though? Was it obvious? I also thought she was blond, but that’s neither here nor there.
I like Daphne, but that’s pretty much all I have to say about this chapter. Except it ended with her “needing to see her new weed dealer again”? When did marijuana become a thing in here? I guess this is something that, like with Shella and the cursing, seems out of place and almost like it’s just put in there to have some sort of “controversial” topic or something, so unless it becomes necessary…?
Douanna’s a bitch.
Chapter 20: Okay. So, I was just in the middle of thinking that Keira and Shella should swap places, that the Shella storyline would have been more fit for what I feel he’s trying to do with Keira, but now we’ve finally met Keira! Hooray! And I still kinda think the same thing — she, like Shella, has a potty mouth, and it seems like she’s the only other mage? Plus I’m still trying to figure out how Shella fits into all of this at 2/3 of the way through, but that’s neither here nor there.
Apart from the fact that it’s literally bothered me the entire book.
I’m happy we got to meet Keira, though, but I still feel a bit like there’s some backstory that exists that I wish we had got to see or read about, as opposed to just “oh yeah Keira’s crazy and she burned a bunch of shit down.” Although it was nice to see some of her limitations here, not being able to create fire out of nothing, as well as foreshadowing things that Killop is able to do that we haven’t seen yet.
I do feel like this is building toward something, I just still can’t help but feel like it would be more intense or I would be more invested if the backstory was actually weaved through and we didn’t just get a sentence or two summary of events that we need to know happened, because then it’s almost like using magic to get a character out of a bind just because they have magic — “these characters are fighting because I said so” is how it kind of reads, but again, it still seems like the author himself has all of the answers, so it’s coherent, it’s just lacking a bit at the same time.
Chapter 21: I don’t have much to say about this chapter, positive or negative. It was enjoyable and moved the plot forward without anything too notable happening really either way.
Chapter 22: Marks the first time Shella has anything to do with the rest of the world. There’s hope for her character yet, I just wish I had more attachment or care to her at this point.
Chapter 23: Oh, my goodness, I am so happy that Shella has finally met everybody else. I might have just overlooked some stuff at the beginning about the queen being Obli and Shella’s connection with all of that, but it still just felt so disconnected with everything that’s going on. I feel like this is the first time from the people in Daphne’s world even mention Shella or the queen or anyone, and then it’s like, as soon as she’s mentioned in the other chapters (which is what I’ve been waiting for), she’s there. If they’d talked about the Kanawara’s or whatever before and discussed the queen and her family before all of this, it would just heighten the whole talk about the queen killing mages and make it more scandalous of her to essentially “hide one,” I don’t know.
I wish there was just more connection with everyone earlier on. Even though I “knew” they were supposed to be connected, I still feel like some of the execution left me hanging, but I still have hope that it will come together by the end.
Chapter 24: With this whole Daphne/Killop thing… I mean, this is clearly a love triangle trope, but the truth is, I’m just really not invested in this relationship. I haven’t even seen any of the relationship really between Killop and Kallie in the first place, nothing about what was good about it. It’s just been deteriorating the whole time. I didn’t even know she was his wife when we first started!
It is what it is, but it’s still all good. I feel more like I’m reading Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, which feels like a complete switch from the Joe Abercrombie vibes I had at the beginning, but I don’t know. “I don’t hate it.” I don’t know what else to really say about it at this point.
Chapter 25: I definitely do like his use of politics in this books, or at least how politics fits into everything in here, especially in regard to slavery. It’s just so funny, because I really feel like it was inspired by American politics and history, and since he’s not from the US, it’s just funny to me, because I hear opinions from others about us all the time, and I just think it’s interesting to kind of see a work that’s inspired by that from someone who doesn’t live here. Especially when it’s a fantasized version of it, but I also can’t confirm that it is, but Liberals, Conservatives, and Radicals, it may be my own ignorance, but it feels familiar — particularly when we add in the elements of slavery from the early history.
Laodoc also, I suppose, reminds me a bit of Abe Lincoln in that sense, but I think the political aspect of this book is probably the strongest, which feels like a really weird thing for me to even think, let alone type or potentially say out loud.
Chapter 26: I guess the only thing I can say about this chapter… when it comes to mages and magic and all of that in this book, I guess it feels similar to a lot of other stuff about this book… it feels like the author has figured it out for himself, which is great, but I’m not all the way sure the execution of the translation is there. This chapter, with Shella’s magic and how she kills everyone — even though she’s already done it — just feels kind of lacking. Although I am happy she’s come back so quickly this time, with only the two chapters in between — that’s more of how I wish it was at the start. She is “The Queen’s Executioner,” so she should be much stronger.
This chapter makes me think back to Brandon Sanderson’s First Law of Magic, especially since I’ve been channeling Mistborn vibes, and that’s essentially that you can’t just use magic to get your characters out of situations or “just because.” With the way Shella’s trying to figure out how to kill or not to kill people with her magic, the topic of magic has been such a side arc that it now feels like it’s being pushed to the forefront. There’s Keira, yes, but we still haven’t seen much of that — just been told. But magic sees “taboo” in the world, so I just don’t really know how I feel about the development of the magic system(s).
Chapter 27: I do think Daphne is my favorite character, and what’s funny about this chapter is… there hasn’t really been any talk of religion or anything in this book, and now all of a sudden there’s “The Creator,” and in a personal connection, I just have a setting tutorial including a section about how most fantasy books include some sort of “Creator” in there world, and this is the first time we’re hearing about it in this one. It’s funny too because I also feel a little similarly to the magic aspect of that — now all of a sudden I feel like it’s being thrown at me, when the whole time it hasn’t been.
On a positive note, I’m interested in the Daphne arc and how her mission to find redemption is going to go.
Chapter 28: This was a good battle scene, but again, I’m just finding myself not attaching much to the whole Kallie-Killop-Daphne triangle. This is almost the first time I feel like we’ve really seen anything between Kallie and Killop, with her willingness to stay behind and help mend Killop’s wounds, etc, but at this point, I sincerely don’t care about their relationship. Especially considering he’s already with Daphne, he already “loves” Daphne, and Kallie already knows. Plus, we never got to see anything — not even a memory — of what it was like with Kallie and Killop. Just, as was written in this chapter, “Kallie was his one, his soul mate, and yet, as he gazed at her from the shadows, he knew his passion for her had gone.” I’m told that and stuff like that for the entire duration of the text, so I don’t know how I’m really expected to believe she’s his “one” when he’s been thinking about Daphne the whole time.
Chapter 29: I feel the end coming, but I also find myself waiting patiently and impatiently for it at the same time. I guess everything that’s happening just takes me back to the idea that there was some stuff lacking in the beginning of the book that just doesn’t necessarily deliver the intensity I think was intended by this point. Again, it’s not “bad,” but with only a few chapters left, I’m also not sure I’m finding anything in here that’s going to make me want to read the second book. You never know, a lot can happen in four chapters, so we’ll just hang tight and see what’s up.
Chapter 30: I really feel like this book is, to me, a prime example of what I mean when I say I prefer character driven over plot driven novels. This book, to me, has read very plot driven — I know plenty about WHAT is happening, I just don’t know all that much about the WHY or the WHO that’s involved with it. I at least feel like, if I were to move on into the second book, that attachment might start to come along, because what I’ve seen from the first book is what I would have wanted to be implemented into it— the story. I shouldn’t really have to wait until the second book before I start connecting with or caring with the characters, but the truth is, at this point, three chapters left, and I don’t really care what happens to who. I feel guilty for thinking or feeling that way, but… such is life.
Chapter 31: Almost done.
Chapter 32: Kallie and Killop argue. Killop chooses Daphne. Bridget wants Daphne to be part of the team because now Bridget thinks she’s just “so cool,” and I’m pretty sure that’s the last we see of them in this book… and, once again, couldn’t have cared any less about that little love triangle.
Chapter 33: I also wish we knew more about their idea of “The Creator” and what they really think about that, but again, it feels like it just came in quick at the end and now people be talking about, “Oh the Creator told me this and that” and it’s just like… where did this come from? One chapter left, uncertain if I’ll ever move on to book two. Sorry, man.
Chapter 34: Started with Shella. Ended with Shella. Didn’t much care for Shella all around, and, at least there was something of a cliffhanger ending — I thought it was about to just end with Shella drunk and I was going to be so mad — but even with the revelation of Daphne being pregnant, I’m not sure I’d move on to the second book. Especially with that being pretty much the only arc I’d be interested in seeing come to a close, and I’m not sure it’s solid enough (a pregnancy?) to make me carry forward.