E-book, 380 Pages
Adult/ High Fantasy
By: Zack Argyle
“Love is not a calculated result of features and faults. Love is the unseen thread binding two souls together no matter the externalities.”
I am always saying that adult fantasy authors are falling into the trap of complex and huge books. Zack’s debut is a living proof that there is beauty in simple books too.
Let’s discuss a couple of numbers just because I am a big nerd when it comes to numbers. The book is a finalist in Mark Lawrence’s prestigious SPFBO 2020 book award. That means it made it to the top 10 books out of 300 books. It currently has a 3.97 rating on GR and 7.9/10 in the contest. If my hunch is true I think it has a good chance to finish in the top three books. And personally, I am giving it a very solid 4 stars rating.
I got interested in this book even before it became a finalist and before it got a cover change. The synopsis sounded cool, the author seemed nice and it is a self published book so I had to read it. But then it started getting more attention and I knew I can’t procrastinate more so I got a copy and as you guessed, I did read it.
Before jumping into the content, I have to mention that I did not feel it was self published, and although I have a kindle version of the book the quality was high. The new cover is certainly an improvement and it made imagining the protagonist a lot easier. There is a map and the MS was clean from grammatical errors and typos so it is really a job well done.
“Chrys, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the wall is if the garden inside is dying. No one can live like that forever.”
So what is the story about?
The story follows three main characters who live in a world where threadweavers exist, those who can see and manipulate the threadlight. Each character comes from a different back ground and have their own struggles.
💉 Chrys: The guy you see on the cover, he is a high general with a lot on his plate: From his duty as high general and the task to uncover the secret behind the lost threadweavers. His pregnant wife and the oncoming birth and also controlling the voice he hears in his head. I liked that Chrys is someone who thinks before taking action and that he is willing to sacrifice everything for his family.
💉 Laurel: A young girl that lives with her grandfather and younger brother. She is a messenger for the elders – Those who are in charge of everything- and she finds herself entangled in a mess she was not prepared for. Laurel is kind of hot headed and she likes to be free. But beneath the hard exterior, you can tell she’s a kind person who also loves her family.
💉 Alverax: The third protagonist, a poor guy that just came back from death and he’s shrouded in mystery.
And because I am mentioning the characters, I should mention that family is a very central theme to the story. There is not much romance but I think the author is a family guy because I really felt that in the writing.
“Some wives are trophies, some are burdens, but others are the very heartbeat of a man, so beautifully harmonized that without her the man would fade to naught.”
The world-building was great, the magic system is cool but very simple. Basically people go into three categories depending on their abilities to see threadlight and control it (Sapphires, Emeralds and Achroamtics). The magic system is reminiscent of Sanderson’s allomancy specially that the words pushing and pulling were used. But to be fair, it is kind of different and the more you advance in the story, the more unique it gets. What I liked more are the details and how vibrant the story was with the photospores and Chromawolves. It was so colorful in my imagination and that is not as easy task!
The book has also a prominent mystery element. The author asks the reader to be patient and promises answer before the story is begun. As a reader, there were always questions coming into my mind and as soon as I got answers, it only lead to more questions being asked and that is a good thing because it kept me hook till the end.
I don’t have much criticism for the story, maybe I would have made one of the protagonists and Emerald and one a Sapphire instead of having two as Sapphires. Some of the humor did not click for me but that is not a big part of the book anyways so not a major problem. The third protagonist appears around 50% of the story which usually does not work for me because it makes one character pales in comparison to the others but it was not really a problem here because this character had the appropriate page time after that. The plot twists were kind of predictable for me but the aforementioned thriller part made up for that.
“Life itself is a flame. Fickle as any. Some burn brightly and die swiftly. Some burn dimly and live far past their need. In the end, all flames die.”
Summary: Voice of war is a simple and light (see what I did there) read but is awesome at the same time. The characters were well written and the different POVs were distinct enough. The world-building is very cool and colorful. The writing is simple yet beautiful. This book certainly deserves being an SPFBO finalist! I am looking forward to book 2 specially with that beautiful cover!