This month, the CSFF blog tour is reviewing the first two books in the Merlin's Immortals series by Sigmund Brouwer.
The Orphan King, Book One
The future of the Immortals is in the hands of an orphan.
The last words of a dying woman would change the life of young Thomas. Raised behind monastery walls, he knows nothing of his mysterious past or fulfilling his imminent destiny. But now, in the heart of medieval England, a darkness threatens to strangle truth. An ancient order tightens their ghostly grip on power, creating fear and exiling those who oppose them. Determined to bring light into the mysterious world of the Druids, Thomas leaves the monastery on an important quest.
He quickly finds himself in unfamiliar territory, as he must put his faith in unusual companions - a cryptic knight, a child thief, and the beautiful silent woman who may not be all she seems. From the solitary life of an orphan, Thomas now finds himself tangled in the roots of both camaraderie and suspicion.
Can he trust those who would join him battle . . . or will his fears force him to go on alone?
* * * * *
My feelings about this book are somewhat muddled. I've been looking forward to reading The Orphan King ever since I first found out about it. An orphan with an imminent destiny, set in medieval England, a mysterious order with dark intentions . . . what's not intriguing about that? Sound like just the sort of book I would love.
And from the first page, Brouwer drew me into his world of intrigue and mysteries, and kept me second guessing, questioning, and wondering all along the way.
I found Thomas a fascinating character. With his instinct to protect anyone in trouble, regardless of the consequences, you can't help but like him, even when he makes less-than-smart choices. As a hero, Thomas prefers to fight with his intellect by means of stratagem, though he is not afraid of a physical contest if it cannot be avoided. I also enjoyed Brouwer's scientific presentation of "magic," as a mastery of knowledge, trickery, and skilled sleight of hand.
The story is told from a distant POV, often leaving the reader in the position of a casual observer witnessing the unfolding events, but not understanding the motives or actions behind them. This prevented me from truly bonding with the characters, and though I could sympathize with them, I didn't feel as close to them as I would have liked.
Overall, the book felt too short. Generally, I find that this is a good thing, because it means I've bonded so well with the characters or storyline that I can't bear to finish it. The Orphan King, however, felt rushed. Events were often summarized or explained after the fact, rather than shown. Certain things were alluded to as if I should understand, but never wholly explained.
I found myself wishing that the author would stop conserving words by summarizing, and show me the story instead, because I truly did want to experience what was going on along with the characters.
So although the premise, characters, and storyline hooked me, the presentation left me more frustrated than satisfied. That said, I intend to continue reading this series. There are still too many unanswered questions for me to stop now! I enjoyed the opportunity to read the second book, Fortress of Mist, as a part of this blog tour (come back tomorrow for the review!) and look forward to reading the rest of the series as the books become available.
If you're looking for a quick-to-read medieval adventure, with plenty of surprises and mysteries along the way, then The Orphan King may be for you.
Check out the author's website: Sigmund Brouwer
Find The Orphan King on amazon.
Be sure to stop at the other participating sites to see what they have to say about The Orphan King!
Julie Bihn Thomas Fletcher Booher Beckie Burnham Janey DeMeo Theresa Dunlap Victor Gentile Nikole Hahn Jeremy Harder Ryan Heart Janeen Ippolito Becky Jesse Jason Joyner Carol Keen Emileigh Latham Rebekah Loper Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Megan @ Hardcover Feedback Rebecca LuElla Miller Anna Mittower Eve Nielsen Nathan Reimer James Somers Steve Trower Phyllis Wheeler
Note: In conjunction with the CSFF blog tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.