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Life, Law & Libros

Sora's Quest by T.L. Shreffler (3 stars)

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My experiences with self-published works vary from good to bad to ugly. Luckily, this is one of the "good." I downloaded it to my Nook on a whim, read it during a crazy reading mood, and was pleased to find a good old fashioned fantasy adventure with danger, magic and killer cat people.


Sora's Quest by T.L. Shreffler
Series: The Cat's Eye Chronicles #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on April 18, 2012
Published by Runaway Pen
Final Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis:
Sora Fallcrest always dreamed of adventure, but as a member of the nobility, she learned the ways of a Lady instead. Now seventeen, she is expected to choose a husband and marry. She plots to run away, but just as she is stepping out the door, she runs into a mysterious man--and is kidnapped.

Abducted from her manor, Sora is plunged into a world of magical races, arcane jewelry and forgotten lore. She finds herself at the mercy of a dangerous assassin, haunted by an even darker past. She yearns for freedom, but he won't let her go--not when her Cat's Eye necklace is the only thing that can save his life.

But the necklace itself presents a problem. It is an ancient device from the long forgotten War of the Races, and its magic has the ability to steal souls. Can Sora learn to wield its power -- or will the power wield her?


Review:
What I Liked:

  • I want more information on the world and the magic system, but I'm pretty happy with the little I've seen.
  • The characters grew on me. Sora isn't one of my all-time favorite heroines, but she matures from a spoiled noble to a toughened trekker. A few sparring sessions does not a warrior make, but she's learning to take responsibility for herself and others and to work hard and purposely rush into danger. :) And the three traveling companions, while I would have liked to know them better, are decent. Of course, we are reading from Sora's perspective (in third person ^^), so we are limited by her thoughts and observations; but still, a cool little company.
  • There is no romance, but there are hints that it may develop (very, very slowly) somewhere down the line.
  • The ending could have been a complete letdown because the pages after the climax seemed to be winding down to a simple, "Bye, see you in the next book." But then the author did something really fun with it. No spoilers, but it was fun. :)

What I Didn't Like:
  • The world is populated by humans and...others. The (nearly extinct) different races are a little...eh, almost stereotypical or cliched? Cat people, "Wolfies," some other to-be-named stuff, but at least they weren't all just humans with pointy ears. (Looking at you, Star Trek.) And the different types of magic they use are kind of cool.
  • I want more details on the Cat's Eye magic (and other magic) and how it works.
  • Volcrian, the main bad guy, was more creepy than scary to me. The blood sacrifices/magic and everything- creepy, yes, but I had a hard time believing our fierce band of warriors was running from him. Then again, he does have a tendency to conjure magical creatures that are near impossible to kill and bent on destroying the (anti)heroes.

Final Thoughts:
I didn't fully realize this was self-published until after I'd finished it, but it read better than some of the small (and large) press books I've read recently, and I can't recall a single typo. When I get that kind of quality for free, I'm definitely more willing to spend a little on the sequels. (Which made me extra happy to catch Book 2, Viper's Creed, on sale for $0.99!)

It's not the world's most amazing or original fantasy book, but the writing is pretty solid, it's not bogged down by the usual YA insta-love/love triangles, and it's free. Can't beat that, right? :)

4 comments :

  1. Sounds like a decent read! I've got this one sitting on my kindle to read on my flight to Australia :)

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    1. Australia?! O.O TAKE ME WITH YOU!!!

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  2. Can't beat that :) Glad this one worked out for you. Also happy to hear that what romance there was is a slow build. I miss that.

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    1. It's a very good thing there was little to no romance. She may have "asked" to be kidnapped, but she was still technically kidnapped, so any romance would have fallen into Stockholm Syndrome territory, which almost never works for me.

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