– The Heir to the Amulet is a fantasy book with a main quest component that I am sure will entertain young people. The three main characters which accompany us throughout most of the book have some appeal. Joining the heroine, we have one very smart gadget loving boy used to the good life and another who has been through difficult times, but still possesses a sense humour, funny most of the times, and who has a tremendous talent to ‘borrow’ items.
– The world in which action takes place has gone through a Great Disaster, which completely changed the planet’s surface. As a result, we see modern aspects (technology mostly) mixing with medieval ones (castles with dungeons, great forests, knights, etc). I found this very interesting.
– I liked that we were given an explanation at the end of the book as to how this Great Disaster occurred.
– The author created a new language (a few words at least) and new creatures which bring enthusiasm to the reading.
– Very few typos.
– The writing didn’t feel very mature. At times I found that the author took the easy way out of a situation. Also, more experienced authors tend to link and make references back and forth along the book, which is something that really keeps me interested and on my toes while reading – connecting the dots and the whole ‘oh I remember that’ – and I did not find that here all that much. Very small example that comes to mind right now: It was said that Richie’s hair accidentally got dyed orange. Now I must conclude that is not a very common thing and therefore think it would have been interesting to see, say, reactions to his hair from people/creatures they came in contact with.
– I found the writing underdeveloped at times, leaving things unexplained and not elaborating enough in important matters. Examples:
-> Why did Lora not return to her house at Mangoria to retrieve her precious items, especially the photograph, hidden in the secret compartment?
-> Who was the only man that Raith ever loved? The one whose picture Zukrov saw in the altar she was knealing at. I must admit it would have been interesting if it was Lora’s father. Maybe she even had a thing with him and conceived Lwaid…
– Some action scenes were also not described very well. One that comes to mind: I would like to know what Richie and Lora were doing the whole time Tommy was having his airborne battle with the snake, since they were placed under a tree with hundreds of just as deadly and poisonous snakes. They seemed to just be standing there waiting for him to be done… At other times, it seemed to stretch forever with all the adjectives and scenery descriptions, which can definitely add value and help us imagine where the characters were and what they were going through but, in excess, makes the reading extremely slow. I often felt my mind wandering from the book, which is never a good sign, and ended up taking much longer than usual to finish the book.
– I have to admit I had trouble figuring out the audience for Heir. As mentioned above, it seems too descriptive for young readers (heck who am I kidding, it was too descriptive even to me). On the other hand, the writing itself seems more directed at young ones. So I guess I will go with the latter, though they do need to be patient and have a great attention span.
– Perhaps because of the audience, none of the young characters in the book felt to me they were as old (or in this case as young) the author presents them to be, least of all Richie. Yes, they are main characters, heroes even, but they are still 10 and 14, for instance. They did not think or act in the least according to their ages, neither before nor after the 8 year time lapse. At other times, they seemed way too clueless. Example: It took Lora like, what, 4 times? to fully grasp that the amulet burning her meant extreme danger. Now that I think of it, I am pretty sure she only grasped it at the very end of the book and even then needed Gregor to confirm it. Also, the explanation given at the end of the book as to how the amulet worked was very disappointing. It said it read the person’s feelings and instincts, but in most situations Lora was clueless as to what the following danger was or even that it existed, so how could it react to her? How could it predict something she didn’t know was going to happen? Meh.
– Having read enough books of the sort, I could see the end plot twist from a mile away, practically since the beginning of the book. By which I mean I knew Lance would betray them, he was just too good to be true. My suspicion was reassured after his mysterious disappearance and further on the fact that everyone kept saying ‘the knight’ instead of his name only confirmed it.
– The phrase “the companions” was repeated to exhaustion, I practically cringed every time I read it again…
-> In a fantasy novel we are obviously reading about a different world than our own. However, it is still important to portray the characters in a way the writer will feel connected. Age issues aside, I for one did not experience any empathy with any of the characters. They all felt pretty fake and hollow. Oddly enough, Zukrov was the one who called my attention.
I believe that children and teens would not mind most of or even all stuff I stated as negative and would rate this book 4, perhaps even 5 stars. I myself probably only found the descriptive sequences painful instead of enthralling because I could not get into the book, due to all the plot flaws and unrealistic characters. At some point, I just wanted to get it over with.
As an adult and being fair to my experience, I can not give it more than 2.5 stars at most. I will round it up to 3 because of the audience it is aimed at but it just didn’t cut it for me, especially because I could not relate to any of the characters, neither the younger nor the older. If this book is supposed to appeal to all ages, I think either option needs to happen.
I do think Heir would work better as a movie or tv series. I believe that it would have a great visual impact.
Read from September 05 to 11, 2014
I would like to thank the author for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.