Monday, June 9, 2014

Kaniesha Reviews: Breakshield by J.B. Rockwell

Title: Breakshield
Series: Breakshield #1
Author: J.B. Rockwell
Release date: March 27, 2014
Publisher: The Zharmae Publishing Press
Genres: fantasy, adventure
Goodreadsbuy the book
Found at the intersection of life and the afterlife, the Between is a place where science and reason are replaced by magic and violence. It is a place where Typhon and his Huntsman of the Dark Waste spread like a plague and where Talents go to die.

The only thing standing in Typhon’s way is Morgan Quendalen and the people of the Shining Lands. They are sworn to protect the last remaining Talents, a precious few who teeter at the edge of extinction. Morgan valiantly fights, protecting these last remnants of magic in a war he's not sure he can actually win.

When Jamie Aster, a mortal Talent with undiscovered powers, is put under his charge, Morgan weighs his oath against a desire to save the Shining Lands. Could he kill a Talent if it meant saving his people?

Review: I received a copy of Breakshield from a manager/editor of the publishing company to review.

This book is going to be hard to review because there are three main characters loosely connected but I’m going to try anyway. 

Breakshield is an action-focused, fantasy story primarily about Morgan Quendalen and his group of friends as they try to save a man named Jamie Aster from a man named Typhon. Jamie Aster is a Talent on Earth, living his life unknowing of what he’s about to be faced with. Typhon is the leader of the Huntsmen, a dark group of the same sort of people that Morgan and his friends are. Morgan is a Seeker from the in Between, a life after death of sorts, which is a land filled with people that were mere Talents in life. 

As far as this book gets into the subject, talents can be of the following: seekers, watchers, or healers. Morgan’s group (including himself) contains one watcher, three seekers and one healer. Watchers and seekers generally pair up together to create some sort of super personal team. Morgan and his watcher, Hallea, clearly have some sort of romance going on but it’s there on the sidelines, not important to the plot at all but still thrown in with the “he caressed her face” or “she laid her hand on his cheek” every time they were standing near each other. I’m not sure that this was necessary but it was kind of cute at the same time.

A majority of the book is written in a third-pov focused on Morgan but there are several instances when it switches to focus on Typhon or Jamie. The three “voices” (but not really voices since it’s not in first person) are very distinct and it’s easy to tell when the story changes between them. Jamie’s isn’t introduced until halfway through the book, which I personally think is a bad move considering this story is technically about him. 

The author decides to focus the book on Morgan and Typhon and Jamie is pretty much used as an annoying little object. His pov is surprisingly the worst of the three, whereas I’d be alright with him being scared and messing up, he actually tries to be defiant and hold his ground when it’s really no time for him to be doing so. It’s pretty obvious he does not have the knowledge or skills to protect himself so he should probably be quiet and not bother them.. but that doesn’t stop him from bothering them anyway.

The book reads a lot like a blockbuster action movie, where as soon as the heroes sit down to take a break the scene suddenly switches to the antagonist doing something Super Evil. I thought that Typhon’s first pov was pretty obvious in that way, we see him lurking around this castle that is in huge disrepair and falling apart but still imposing and terrifying. Ooo, scary villain, what are you hiding in there?

Typhon and his minions do hurt Morgan and his friends pretty badly but I never really see Typhon as a threat because it takes him a lot of effort to create his minions and he’s losing a ton of those throughout the plot. In the end he is actually left completely alone and doesn’t have the ability to get himself back to “his home”. We’re not told exactly what Typhon is capable of, we’re just given brief explanations that he fought to get to his leader role by killing the last Bad Guy and that he has broken/created/twisted two Talents to do his bidding. This is a pretty bad reference because we don’t know the origins of these people he hurt, the author just vaguely hints that one of the two is strong willed because it took Typhon a long amount of time to break her.

Despite my minor antagonist and subject issues, my biggest complaint for Breakshield is the repeated phrases. Example:

Paragraph 1: They’d reached the stone by then, and Hallea pulled Jamie to her side and took his hand in hers; the others formed a ring around the boulder. Tussle grabbed his other hand--an action he found startling and a bit disturbing--but when he looked across the boulder he saw they were all linking themselves together in a human chain that wrapped around the great grey stone.
Next paragraph: “What’s going on?” Jamie whispered as Hallea stopped in front of that stone and took his hand in hers. The others were taking up places around it, linking their hands together to create a human chain and Jamie squirmed uncomfortably as Tussle grabbed his hand and held it tightly. “What are we doing?” he asked, glancing over at Hallea.

The fact that the repeat is happening in a paragraph directly after the other makes me believe the author wrote it purposely; but I fail to see what’s gained by this. This happens at least half a dozen times in the book and it gets more irritating every time.

Overall, Breakshield is solid and interesting but not entirely for me. It’s too blunt, “action first, words later” and not enough explanations. I get that this is trying to create suspense and “OMG what’s going to happen next?!” but it just left me questioning and disattached. I still think I’d pick up a sequel regardless because Morgan and his friends (and his fox!) are genuine and kick ass. (Plus I really need to know what Typhon’s Super Evil Plan is).

Note: Breakshield is gritty and full of gore and not at all for the squeamish.

Rating: 4 stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment