So, last January I discovered a new indie book on Amazon that sounded interesting. It was called Arcane, and I bought it to try it out. I love finding new indie books on Amazon, and the price was right.
I am so, so glad that I bought that book that day. I generally get in a mood and buy several books, and then I promptly forget about them. When I finally got around to reading this book on August, I bought the next two books and read all 3 in 2 days. After reading the third book, I saw a note that the author, Sever Bronny, needed people for an advanced review team. After a few emails, I was on the list!
Today, the 4th book of the series, Clash is being released. I received my copy about a week ago, and finished it in no time flat. Below is my in-depth review.
HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!
Alright! So, we start off with Augum, Bridget, and Leera hiding out in Milham while Anna Stone is on the run. The Lord of the Legion only needs the last scion, which she has. The team has 2 artifacts they are trying to unlock and hope to use to destroy the dark Lord. They manage to escape the clutches of their evil mentor, Mr. Harvus. Although this may seem like a back step for their training, it is not. They grow in strength and resolve after having to kill bandits to save Leera and watching Mr. Harvus die from his own greed. Through a series of misadventures, they end up in Antioc during the necrophyte annual competition. In order to keep a low profile, Augum enters as The Hood. 😉 They are lodging at the great library in Antioc, and it is a magnificent place. Like, I want to go there. Imagine the library from Avatar: the Last Airbender. Imagine the library at Alexandria, but with a Harry Potter twist. It’s a magical library that has many secret passageways, puzzles, and a deadly labyrinth underground. Of course the Legion has cut off most of the passageways into the labyrinth, but the trio find a way in. I truly enjoy that they have no “dumb luck” moments, that Bronny makes them earn their way throughout the books. They discover knowledge about Augum’s mother and father, and a scroll to help them escape after the tournament ends. They need to make a quick exit as they plan to steal the divining rod that the Legion is using to track Anna Stone. The tournament continues with The Hood revealing himself as Augum Stone in the final round of the tournament. His opponent is none other than Robin Scarson, who is just as repugnant as always. After a fantastically described battle that had my heart racing and included cheating on Robin’s part and several close calls, Augum casts a spell that releases the spirits of the people Robin killed, and they kill him. The ghost that strikes the death blow is none other than Mya, and she slits Robin’s throat the same way he slit hers. This was the absolute perfect way to end Robin. I’m sure he’ll make an appearance as a risen or something, but the way Bronny kills him is not only satisfying (because Robin is a total dick), but it is done in a way that is unavoidable for Augum. He didn’t know that the spell he cast would kill Robin, he didn’t do it with his bare hands, and at no point does he show joy in having killed him. I really appreciated the tact and grace that this was done with. After this, he duels Robin’s aunt, the crazy Erika, and defects her. Augum father is present during the duel (obviously) and after he defeats Erika and grabs the divining rod, his father casts a giant lightning bolt at him. This is when we find out that Augum has a “genetic legacy” of immunity to lightning. Which makes sense, considering he didn’t die the times he’s been struck by lightning. Then he runs away to where Bridget and Leera are casting a spell from a stolen scroll. They were told that it would have dire consequences if it were cast, but desperate times… They return to Milham, but Augum is sick with arcane fever, and Bridget is struck dumb.
At the end of the book, they have the divining rod, they are healed, and Anna Stone is able to return to them. We end the book on the hopeful note that they can find a way to defeat the dark Lord. Once again proving that teamwork and love can overcome brute strength.
I sincerely enjoyed this book. The only thing I could have done with a little less of is crazy women. It seems that with one exception the men are calm and collected and analytical, while the opposite is true of the women. Bridget is one of the only ones that are logical, and the majority of the rest of the women jump to conclusions and are total drama queens. It’s funny for Panjita to be weird and crazy, but it’s not as cool to see Mrs. Haroun be completely selfish while people starve, and her daughter try to manipulate people into marrying her by effectively crying rape. I don’t think it’s misogynistic or anything like that, just an overdone trope.
Don’t let my one peeve deceive you though, I absolutely loved this book. The library and the labyrinth were particularly well-described and felt very, very real. I also have to say that I sincerely enjoy talking to Mr. Bronny. As part of the advanced review team, I have corresponded with him a few times, and he seems a truly kind and generous soul. I am proud and honored to be on this review team, and I hope you’ll check out his whole series of the Arinthian Line. They’re available on Amazon, or on his website at http://www.severbronny.com.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions!
(maybe I’ll go paint something today…)