24 October, 2015

#BookReview :: The Almost King (Take Back the Skies #2) by Lucy Saxon

Aleks Vasin is the youngest of four brothers, each with his path mapped out. But Aleks doesn't want to work in his father's shop and live with his family in a village in the westernmost corner of Siberene. And when he hears his parents fretting about money, he decides to save them the cost of his keep and leave.
First he heads south - though everyone tells him not to - to Rudavin, headquarters of the kingsguard, and he signs up for the army, little knowing what brutality it entails. After only a few weeks, Aleks realizes that this garrison is full of liars and thieves; he's signed away four years of his life to a commander who steals his money and a captain who's already hurt Aleks's beloved horse. This is not a noble destiny.
After a brutal beating, Aleks escapes, hoping to find safety and a new life somewhere in the north. And there, this deserter finds love, adventure, and a skyship in which he might just prove himself a hero after all - if he can evade the soldiers who seek to capture him.
Prepare for another sweeping adventure in this second book in a unique six-book series. Each book is set in a different land within the Tellus world, with repeating characters and related, nonlinear storylines that combine to create a one-of-a-kind, addictive reading experience.

I have not read Take Back the Skies (Take Back the Skies #1) but delved into this one when Bloomsbury India sent me a review copy. The blurb gave me the feeling that the books could be read as standalone and out of order. Each book is supposedly set in a different land within the world setting of Take Back the Skies. It made me think of the Giver Series by Lois Lowry. However, while reading this one, I did get the feeling that I was missing something and hence would like to recommend the readers to read this series in proper order.

Aleks Vasin has a big family and his life cut out for him. However, he has different plans and he puts his plans in motion by running away from home. He goes ahead and enlists in the army only to find out that life with the kingsguard is not what it is built up to be. After an incident, he deserts and embarks on an adventure that changes his life… 

What I liked the most about this book was its world building. The world of Tellus and the land of Siberene are beautiful and fascinating. The way the author has built it up and developed it is vibrant and I found it easy to get lost in this brand new world. I wish I could say the same about the characters though. Aleks, our protagonist, made it very difficult to like him. I wish he had a little bit more strength in him. It felt to me like he was just running away from situations whenever they got tough. Admittedly he does find his way in the end but by then it was too late for me to like him. Saria was a bit easier to like but her actions and Aleks’ reaction just didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t feel any chemistry between them either. The plot had much to offer as well and it was interesting as well. A little bit of character development could have taken this book to another level.

I feel that without reading the first book and finding out whether I was indeed missing something, I cannot comment on whether one should take a chance with the series. On its own, the book is pretty average, but just maybe as a series it is much better? It is up to the reader to take a call on this one.

Review Copy Received from Bloomsbury India

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