A Warrior's Path by Davis Ashura
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Let me begin by saying that Mr. Ashura was gracious in gifting me a copy of this novel, with the only request being that I review it once I finished reading it. I have been incredibly lax in upholding my end of this bargain (so sorry!), but that all changes here and now.
Right. So let's begin.
I will be perfectly honest here; though the book takes off running and immediately transports the reader into the well-developed world, it took me to just under 100 pages into the story to feel like I understood enough to fully be involved in the goings-on. The world created within this novel is incredibly detailed and complex, and the cast of characters are rich and vibrant...it just took me a bit to catch up to them, so to speak. This is a very 'meaty' novel, and honestly the best comparison I can find for it is that it is very Tolkien-esque in it's style, given the level of detail. The hierarchy and politics (the Caste system as well as the mores of the Ashokan society) were depicted well, but were so unlike anything I've read that there was a bit of a learning curve in trying to understand how it worked and keep up with the novel's events at the same time.
I said all that to say this: if, dear reader, you find yourself struggling a bit in the beginning, stick with it, because it's entirely worth it in the end. Once you've gained a full grasp of the characters and the world in which they live, you'll find it smooth sailing. I certainly did.
The characters in this novel are incredibly intriguing and remarkably developed, and I found myself entirely invested in what was happening to them, even the 'minor' characters (Mr. Ashura, I will never forgive you for what you did to Lure and Brand, just saying). Not only was I quite captivated by the characters, I found myself consistently surprised by them. Things I expected to happen did not, and it was a pleasant experience, being kept on my toes!
At the risk of babbling on incessantly, as sometimes I am prone to, let me end this review by saying I highly recommend this book if you're in the mood for something different. It's remarkably original in concept and wonderfully executed. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
....and now all that's left is to wait for the sequel!
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