9.6.16

#Review: ECHOES OF THE FORGOTTEN by Kevin Looney

ECHOES OF THE FORGOTTEN

Author: Kevin Looney
Source: Copy via the Author
Publisher: Sarah Book Publishing
Publication Date: April 20, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary:
Book One in The Winds of Eternity Trilogy

In the kingdom of Uratha, the spirits are charged with an important task. They speed across great distances to deliver words whispered to them by the living. Like all Overseers, Ruhla must impart the messages the spirits bring her.

Twelve years prior, Ruhla was to marry Kaimen — until he started seeing the dead. Ruhla was forced to exile Kaimen because of this curse, and now years have passed since Ruhla last received any communication from him. Then one morning, the spirit of Kaimen’s dead father visits her with a communication from Kaimen. An immortal man named War’ach is coming for his blood. War’ach needs it to complete a ritual that will allow him to assassinate the Overseers.

Ruhla journeys to Kaimen’s secluded cabin, but when she arrives, his home is empty. Is she too late? Will War’ach destroy the kingdom’s entire communication system, along with the Spirit World?

Ruhla is only certain of one thing: if she fails, her people will suffer.
Purchase:
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I am always so nervous when it comes to high fantasy books. I have read SO many, so I'm always afraid that I've been sufficiently saturated and am never going to enjoy one again. But ECHOES OF THE FORGOTTEN adds something new and unique to the high fantasy canon and I am really glad that I read it because I enjoyed it so much. Now I just need to know when the next book is coming out!


I liked that we saw the two main characters as adults who have had a chance to grow apart. I liked that both Ruhla and Kaimen made decisions that were important for themselves but still thought about how the other would be affected. I liked that their relationship was one that we didn't see from the beginning but we got bits and pieces throughout the novel. The flashbacks and explanation of how they became so close added the romance but didn't make it the focal point of the story. Rather it allowed the plot to be influenced by their relationship but not shaped by it.

Ruhla was really interesting. At some points it seemed like she wasn't completely for or against one side or the other. I liked that she took all the new information she gained with a grain of salt. She didn't jump to conclusions but allowed everything to sway how she decided. As well, she was really firm in her decisions. Ruhla also knew what she wanted and was very eager to ensure that this actually happened. It was interesting to see how she overlapped with Kaimen.

I wasn't as invested in Kaimen's storyline until it overlapped with Ruhla's. I found him to be dull compared to Ruhla who brought a spark of life to the story. I think I would have liked Kaimen more if he had actually tried to escape his encampment at least once. I did, however, like that he used his abilities to uncover the truth about War'ach. He was also really skeptical of what War'ach's plans were, but I still would have liked him to just do something more than just follow. 

The plot was really intriguing. I loved the idea of people who are spiritual leaders and listening to what spirits need and doing what they can to give it to them. I thought that there could have been a bit more at the end about the reasons behind certain people's actions just so we know a bit more about what to expect out of the next book(s). However, I think this had a solid plot arc: it allowed us to see some of the world, get introduced to the main characters and their abilities, and start to make allies without building too complex of a plot that can't be un-foiled in a reasonable amount of time.

I thought the writing was a bit dense at some points. It felt like some sentences were being repeated over and over again. I also felt like some of the dialogue was a little too expository but not necessarily in a bad way, just in a way that I thought "yes I know this, let's move on." However, I think this is good for someone who is crossing over from YA High Fantasy to Adult High Fantasy.

I was genuinely surprised by some of the ending. There were a lot of twists and turns that I didn't expect -- because I was anticipating this to follow a lot of the same tropes to a "T" rather than explore them on their own. But I really enjoyed it. It made the reading experience fresh and fun for me.

I really enjoyed this one. I thought some of the writing was a bit bulky and heavy but it didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the novel. Echoes of the Forgotten is the first instalment to a series I can't wait to continue with. This is what high fantasy needs right now: something new and different with twists and turns you don't see coming.

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