I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Attrition: the First Act of Penance by S.G. Night
Series: Three Acts of Penance #1
Published by Create Space on August 29th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: ARC from publisher
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The Demonic Dominion has held the nation of Io captive for more than a century. The Humans are in shackles. The Elves are in exile. And the race of Majiski battle-mages have been all but eradicated by the Demons and their ilk.
Racath Thanjel is among the few remaining Majiski surviving in secret. A strong but opinionated young assassin, he works from the shadows against the Demonic Dominion. But how can he and the others hope to defeat such a terrible adversary? Especially when their patriarch is keeping more secrets than the Demons themselves.
Now, as a tangle of conspiracies, secrets, and ancient prophecies sweeps Racath away, he must choose his destiny: will he become the long-awaited Savior of Io, or allow it to suffocate beneath the Dominion's iron fist?
Now I just have to start with a little introduction on how I’m going to do this review. CLEARLY this book is amazing. Just look at all the other reviews. It it clearly the best thing since sliced bread, or mashed potatoes. It may not be as widely known now, but just watch, it will soon have an empire like that of Harry Potter, Twilight, or The Hunger Games. That much is certain. No matter how you feel about the book, it is going to continue being amazing. It simply can’t help it.
But I don’t want to be just another reviewer who gushes on and on about the perfection of this book. Because in reality, I can point out a few things that it is lacking and a few ways (well, more than a few) that it is nearly indistinguishable from other stories and plots. But I’m going to do a fair and honest review and try to balance out the good with the bad. Because, truly, there is a lot of both in the book.
I will start by saying that it is the first in a series. And it is INCREDIBLY LONG.
It is 586 pages. And I had to read it in PDF version on my iPod (my only e-reader until I get a Kindle Paperwhite this Christmas).
*more dramatic silence. A few whispers can be heard in the crowd: “what is this madness? She read the entire thing on an iPod? How did she have that kind of attention span? I thought she hated e-readers! How did she find time? I thought she had school!”*
I know. It was quite a feat. I set up a nice plan and everything to read ten pages a day, during the short Advisory segment of each school day. But it was clearly impossible to read only ten pages at a time. The pages were short and went by quickly- or was that because it was so engrossing? The world may never know.
But the POINT IS, I actually read the entire thing on my iPod in a comparatively shorter than expected length of time. So this book held my attention LIKE NO OTHER BOOK. That’s one of the reasons it’s getting a special star. [edit: before I started using the new review format, Special Stars were the highest star rating a book could achieve, higher than five stars]
There are no words to describe his use of words. (I am going to be speechless for most of this review; certain things about his writing are just too magnificent for a mere mortal like me to behold). FROM THE VERY FIRST PAGE, I knew it was going to be one of those books where I am constantly marveling at his use of language and imagery and all those beautiful literary devices we learn about in school. The majority of the book is perfectly constructed sentences, the kind that make you think as well as feel. This will require several excerpts to articulate adequately. In fact, his writing was probably one of my favorite things about the book. Definitely a contributing factor to the Special Star.
I must say, the plot was not entirely unique. Basically, Racath is a special sort of assassin, and also the Ioan equivalent of the Chosen One, and he has to save everyone by killing the demon-gods. But it was not a disappointment. The action is described very well, and the characters are so unique that it hardly matters. The dialog is fun as well. I honestly was just interested in watching the relationships between the characters. They were quite interesting.
Overall, it was a long read, but I had no trouble with lack of interest. I read it at almost every available opportunity, often fifty or so pages at a time. The plot was kind of predictable but I wanted to see how it would play out. I did fall in love with the characters and there was a lot of beauty, especially in the parts with Racath and Nelle and the parts with Notak and Rachel. And the parts with Alexis and Toren.
There was a decided lack of romance, but I feel like that will change later. After all, 586 pages is not nearly enough time to get to know someone that well. Anyway, it didn’t ruin the book for me, but I hope to see more in the next one.
Racath: He…well, I guess I liked Racath. He just seemed too typical the hero for me. All the internal struggles about whether or not to accept his destiny…well, doesn’t every hero go through that?
Notak (the elf co-assassin): I really liked Notak. He is so silent and calm and reserved. The perfect opposite of Rachel. But he has some mysterious past that I hope we get to see more of in the rest of the series…
Rachel (another co-assassin): She has quite a temper! And she’s so impatient. I guess she’s kind of okay, when she’s not complaining and insulting. There’s always someone of her type in every series. But I connected with her…I feel like I am a mix of her and Alexis.
Alexis (the mechanist): She’s so skilled with rotendry and things. She may not be so good in the field, but I do admire her. She really does care for Racath. And Toren. I ship them.
Nelle (friend/mentor to Racath): She was like that popular girl in school….beautiful, charming, everyone likes her. Except Rachel hated Nelle (because Nelle was everything Rachel was not!). Nelle was a happy sort of person. All sunshine and rainbows. And dark visions of the future. She had her strange moments and dark secrets, but clearly Racath likes her (and she has taught him a lot about himself). I’m not entirely sure I ship them yet, but it’s possible. Anyway, I expected to dislike her, but no can do. She’s just too likeable.
The ending was more or less what I expected it to be, but left plenty of room for the rest of the series.
good vs. bad
- Some settings
- Writing style (perfect)
- Plot (well, kind of average)
- Length (surprisingly)
Less than perfect:
- Plot (could have been more unique)
This book was SO SUPER AWESOME. I fell in love with the writing (it was perfect!) and the characters. The plot was typical but interesting. It was long, but it held my attention and was easy to get engrossed in. The descriptions and settings were wonderfully done. It was a bit lacking in romance, but that could change with the rest of the series. Would I read more by this author? Definitely! I will indeed. Would I recommend this book to others? I have already done so, and will continue to recommend it to anyone I see!
Check out the While-Reading Notes for this book.