Book Review: Woven Realms by Julia Shupe

Book Reviews copy

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Synopsis: The boundary between realms has torn. Magic has spilled into the lands of Kiln and infected its citizens for centuries. In an effort to claim the magic for themselves, the mountain dwellers of Drakammon have slaughtered its people by the thousands. 

Plague has been released by the wraiths that live in the mountain, a final effort to wipe Kiln of all magic.

But the Enomai and Chenomai are born, two foretold by history. One is light and the other is dark. Who will prevail and can the realm be saved? 

 

Author: Julia Shupe

Title: Woven Realms

Publisher: Julia Shupe

Date: 2016

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I looked forward to reading Woven Realms: it had unexplainable magic and two people struggling to understand their destiny. It sounded like my sort of thing.

Unfortunately, it disappointed me.

The introduction to Adkyn made me love him – he was exactly the sort of character I always root for. But the narration wasn’t evenly balanced and we don’t see much of Adkyn after the beginning. What we do see, however, made me feel his development wasn’t working. There didn’t feel like there was an emotional reaction to what he experienced until much later; he didn’t react at the time and it felt (at that point in the book), it was trivialising what he had been through.

“Home,” she murmured. Why did the concept of home sound so strange? Home seemed to be far away now. It was like an enigma, abstractly conceptual in a strange way. She wasn’t even sure she could even conceive of going home.

Lova, however, displayed far more development when it came to understanding her powers. This stems from Gran being there to offer the helpful explanation for both the character and the reader. Although Lova is brave and a strong character, I couldn’t connect with her. She seemed to spend more of the book worrying about her love dilemma than coming to terms with her powerful magic.

The fact that it even went in a love-triangle direction instantly put me on edge. Characters’ comments on it made me smile, but this triangle added nothing to the plot. Paden annoyed me; he was a sweet boy to start with, but his constant reference to Lova in a possessive way was irritating. He has one shining moment, then spends the rest of the book sulking whenever Tymon is around.

Tymon was the stronger character, for sure. But he went from broody and mysterious to suddenly in love. It felt his character was shaped to fit the plot, rather than a natural progression of the plot shaping the character.

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The weakness of the characters undermined the plot for me. There were other reasons why I couldn’t connect to the book though. There are a lot of varying narrations: the odd chapter here and there from another’s view point which acted as little more than exposition rather than adding anything beneficial. The imbalance between the narrations meant that, despite Adkyn clearly having an important role to play, the reader barely knows him, let alone can connect to him. If the narration condensed to only two or three characters, it would have added a deeper level.

I did feel, at times, that some of the writing jarred. There was a lot of descriptive phrases used and times when the language conflicted with the genre and the characters. Long, eloquent words were used at times when a simpler one would have matched the tone of events. The use of language slowed the pace; it gave it a gentle, flowing motion, even in moments of tension and danger.

Despite all of this, I didn’t dislike the book. I thought the plot had potential and the characters will develop further in the next book. It is an interesting premise that could turn into a strong quest/adventure story. Woven Realms didn’t pull me in though.

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