Monday, January 13, 2014

Kaniesha Reviews: Silevethiel ARC by Andi O'Connor

Title: Silevethiel
Series: The Vaelinel Trilogy #1
Author: Andi O'Connor
Release date: December 24, 2013
Publisher: Purple Sun Press
Genres: high fantasy, romance
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«Come to me, Irewen. Follow me to the light.»
Following her father’s murder, Princess Irewen Donríel is betrayed and left for dead in the forests of Mistwood. Rescued by the elf prince, Laegon Elendell, Irewen awakes an exile with no home, no country, and no people. But as the horrific memories of murder and betrayal return, she realizes the nightmare is only beginning.

The world of Vaelinel is failing—its fate bound to her in ways no one fully understands. A mysterious elven prophecy may provide her with some answers, but continuously hunted and fighting for her life, Irewen quickly learns that unearthing the truth will be more difficult than she ever imagined. Can she accept Laegon’s love and the friendship of the Wood Elves, or will she stand alone against the terrifying evil now threatening to destroy the entire world?

Review: I received an ARC of this book through Netgalley in return for an honest review! Thank you!

Note: I'm starting my review before finishing the book (it seems this is something I need to do when having issues with books). My review is a bit spoilery but I don't think I'm giving away too much, as the book is very predictable and the plot moves very slowly.

When I read the synopsis for Silevethiel, I was expecting something closer to Eragon than it was. (Granted, I read Eragon many years ago and do not remember it exactly but this is far different). Silevethiel is basically a high fantasy romance novel. Being someone who does not read romance novels and is vaguely uncomfortable with it, this makes me cringe a bit (read as: a lot). I'm not sure if this is how romance novels usually are but a lot of the similes/metaphors made me want to scream and throw my kindle far, far away from me. There was one in particular

"There is a mystical quality of her voice that draws you into her, like an extraordinary butterfly mesmerizing you with its effortless beauty."

that made reading it at that point nearly unbearable. He is literally saying that to someone!

Regardless, I found the imagery, despite the exaggerated descriptions and similes, breathtaking. (I'm a sucker for magical settings, apparently). I think the idea behind Silevethiel is incredible but was not executed as well as it could and should have been. To prove this point, over half of the book took place in/near a cave. That's a bit too long for what I assume is being written as an adventure novel series, whether or not the main character is ill, especially if she's being written as the "one to save the world".

On the point of the main character being the one to save the world, Irewen, - this was written too unbelievably. Of course I expected her to be, but there's something about it that doesn't feel right. She's hurt, she's saved miraculously, and suddenly the main love interest remembers that there is an ancient prophecy that describes her almost perfectly. There is no doubt at all that he's right and everyone believes it immediately. If there was going to be a prophecy that everyone was going to believe so easily, wouldn't it have been preached regularly and not forgotten? Wouldn't there have been speculation or even a small hunt for this unique and highly unheard of mixed race child? I think that there should have been, yet the prophecy was dismissed early on (hundreds of years ago) for being unbelievable and unreliable but is now accepted by everyone in this particular race of elves.

I actually liked the main characters: Irewen and Laegon. Irewen steps up to the plate (recklessly) and Laegon commits to her because he truly believes it's the right thing to do. (He is also enraptured by her ~beauty but why wouldn't he be?) Speaking of their romance: The elves are treated rather badly and looked down on by humans. They don't interact unless they have to, yet all the elves are delighted and treat the humans with respect (or at least they treat Irewen well). (Nothing wrong with this, but it's so strange to me that Laegon would meet Irewen and fall in love with her from the beginning with no suspicion of her at all).

Another issue I have is the title of the book: Silevethiel. Silevethiel is a "guardian" who is supposed to.. guard? her protector. And her (new) protector - Irewen - is supposed to protect? her. Guardians and Protectors are teamed up. Bad term choice in my opinion. At first it's hard to remember which is which but their actual roles are never really discussed. All we're told is that they're bonded and that connection is so emotionally deep that it'll mess you up if it's severed. The guardians are written as these fierce beast-warriors that can take down anything in their way, yet a dozen or so (the number isn't discussed either) are killed off by the end of the book. A lot die behind the scenes so we don't really know how (nor will we ever, most likely).

Over all, I found the characters to be likable but their constant pep-talks to be considerably less so, the plot was nearly nonexistent, too many details are skimmed over in favor of the romance and said romance was over exaggerated. I do however look forward to the sequel and hope that it's better than Silevethiel.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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