Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kaniesha Reviews: Altaica ARC by Tracy M. Joyce

Title: Altaica
Series: The Chronicles of Altaica, #1
Author: Tracy M. Joyce
Release date: June 6, 2014
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Genres: fantasy
Goodreadsbuy the book
“Look at her – she’s Hill Clan. Even the Matyrani don’t like them …”

Isaura – little is known about her race, but much is whispered. Born to refugees, she grows up enduring racism and superstition within a community that fears her. She has few friends, and those she treasures. Trapped, she longs for escape to a different life.

Escape is only the beginning of her troubles. Having fled an invading army with her friends, Isaura is faced with heinous choices in order to survive. Secrets from her past emerge to torment her and threaten to destroy all she holds dear. Her struggles forge a bond with an ancient power – a power which may transform or consume her. Old hatreds and superstitions are renewed and at her most vulnerable she learns the true nature of those around her.

Her only hope lies in a foreign land – a land rich in tradition; ruled by three powerful clans. A land with a history marked by warfare; where magic as we know it does not exist. Instead what is here, in abundance, is a more primal power.

Survival carries a high price.

Welcome to Altaica.

Review: I received a copy of Altaica from Netgalley for review, thank you!

Altaica has a very interesting concept, that meaning very interesting concepts because there’s a lot going on in this story. I’d have loved this story a lot more had the author cut back on characters and written it in another style. Unfortunately...

Altaica is written in a third person point of view where the narrator knows a bit about everyone and everything. It’d be alright if done well but it’s not. It’s too extensive, unnecessary and continually borders on irrelevant. We’re given the thoughts and feelings of nearly every character that has at least one speaking line. There’s a part where we are given a very detailed scene of a horse and a mule crossing a river. It’s as if they are humans and we’re told that they are tired, that they’re smart enough to push the other animal out of the way, to lead the other animal to safety. Did this lead up to anything else in the story? No. You’d think so, as other animals are bonded with humans called the Kenati.

Kenati can link themselves mentally through their energy to see what their bonded animals see. Besides this being a very easy way to scout and witness events without having to travel yourself, I fail to see the usefulness of such a talent.

Especially when very many characters in this book travel large distances with moderate effort. A majority of this story drags where the main characters are stuck on a boat until they’re saved. We’re meant to see how long, gruesome, exhausting their travelling is but later on when other characters on traveling, we’re basically given a start-fade-to-destination device. It’s inconsistent, whether these are “side characters” or not, due to the point of view problem.

Regardless, the Kenati are the more-or-less main point of the story but with everything else going on it’s hard to decide what the author actually wants to focus on. During the span of the book, we are faced with four or five different groups of people, four consisting of warriors and soldiers. Of course, this would lead to (another) war (one had happened recently enough for most people to know the effect it had on the elder generation).

Of course, the war is spurred by The Bad Guy. Flat, boring, predictable bad guy. There’s not much to say about him besides the fact that he’s introduced to the story with an attempted rape scene. Yes, it’s as bad as you’d think.

Again, there are many characters in this story and it’s been over a week since I finished the book and I couldn’t name all of them if I wanted to. Ones to remember: Isaura, Curro, Elena, Daniel, Daniel’s Brother, Gabrielle(?), Pio, Lucia, Nicanor, Kenati Lady, Kenati Girl, Boar House Leader, Horse House Leader, Bad Guy, Bad Guy’s Dad, Village Leader, Village Leader’s Son, etc. Some of these I can only name because I read a review on the book before completing my own.

I'm not going to bother getting into the details of (not exactly) racism and idiocy that is shared by many people. To me, these petty struggles are transparent and obvious to show that certain characters are "above it all" and "capable of being better people".

Simply: do yourself a favor and avoid this one.

Rating: 2 stars (I’ve still read worse).

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