Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book Review: Ariah by BR Sanders

According to goodreads, this book is kind of like two other books. But I’ve never read either of them. ::shrug::

The author (@B_R_Sanders) and I follow each other on twitter and have participated in few of the same live tweets so I was interested in reading their stuff. This was one of my Dewey’s Readathon books.

Here’s the Goodreads summary:  “Ariah's magical training has been interrupted. Forced to rely on a mentor, Dirva, who is not who he claims to be, and a teacher who is foreign and powerful, Ariah is drawn into a culture wholly different from the elven one that raised him. As his friendship with Dirva's brother blossoms into a surprising romance, and he slowly learns how to control the dangerous magic in his blood, life finally appears to be coming together for Ariah—but love and security are cut short by a tyrannical military empire bent on expanding its borders. War, betrayal, passion, and confusion follow Ariah as his perilous journey leads him beyond the walls of the Empire, and into unfamiliar territory within himself. Along the way, he’ll discover just how much he’s willing to give up to find his place in the world, and he’ll learn what it means to sacrifice himself for freedom—and for love.”

First, I really enjoyed this book though my engagement with it felt a little inconsistent (maybe because it was my third book of the day in a 24 hour readathon). I love the language and the characters, Ariah himself not being my favorite. I loved Dirva and was immediately interested in hearing more about him and his life, which thankfully comes about as the story unfolds. And Dirva’s brother, whose name escapes me right now but it may have started with an S, was my soul mate. And Abira and Shayat? ::swoon::

There were some places in the book where descriptions seemed too detailed, or perhaps I missed the relevance of the detail. For example, there is a whole page devoted to explaining the different words used to identify different types of relationships (e.g., marriage, betrothal, etc). I understand that this story explores relationships with a wider focus than we are used to and that thinking about our language is part of that. But given the nature of the book and it’s length, the page seemed unnecessary and a little dry.

It seemed a little disjointed. The first half was mostly about Ariah’s coming to terms with his own powers and abilities. There’s also a great bit about his journey into adulthood (which starts at the age of 34 for his people) and falling in love (twice), despite his best efforts. This first half is full of crime, magic, and confusion for our young hero. There was lots of social/ racial commentary. I *loved* the first part. The second part of the book was more about Ariah learning different ways relationships can develop and really seemed more about giving the READER the chance to explore their own ideas about romantic relationships. The pace was slower and less action was happening. I *liked* the second part.

I will definitely be checking out more of the stories written by this author. 

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