Review: Birthrights

by - 12:47 PM

| ISBN: 978-1945449215 | Pages: 552 |
Publication Date: June 6, 2017 | Source: Smith Publicity/Author
| Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars |

To escape the burden of his family's past, Whym accepts an apprenticeship with a master his parents fear and revile. He soon finds himself entangled in a web of treachery and on a perilous journey to locate a creature of myth and magic-a journey that will transform Whym and shape the future of the realm.
Meanwhile, Quint, the son of a powerful religious leader, abandons his faith to join the fight against a corrupt council. As the adviser to a remote tribe, he must find in himself the wisdom and fortitude to save the people from the invading army-and their own leaders.
Civil war looms, defeated foes plot revenge, and an ancient deity schemes to destroy them all. While navigating the shifting sands of truth, the two young men must distill what they believe, and decide on whose side they will stand in the coming conflict.

I was kindly sent a copy by the author for review and read it almost immediately because I was so excited to jump into a new YA coming of age fantasy. Upon starting the novel, I found that there were several darker elements of fantasy including rape and violence so just to put that out there for anyone.

Birthrights follows two main characters: Whym (the great grandson of a failed traitor) and Quint (the son of a powerful religious leader). While their paths never actually cross in this novel, their individual plots set up the overall story for the rest of the series. This novel is very much a beginning foundation for the series. The first half drags on for a while and it just set up the scene for the rest of the novel.

“Learn when to talk and when to listen. If you're unsure, listen.” 

While there are these mini climaxes throughout the novel, the whole story seems to be building up for a climax that will happen in the later books - essentially it does a good job in building anticipation while still providing some high points that are both shocking and exciting. There were actually a couple parts where I was thought that that would be the main climax but realize that we still had a whole lot of story left.

“It matters not whether you're led by chains or kind words, by need or greed, by conviction or fear, by truth or deceit. Intent is unimportant. Results endure.” 

There are a lot of characters and with that comes a lot of twisted political webs that can get quite confusing. I'm still not sure how all the plots are going to intertwine and how all the figureheads of power will reveal to just be puppets for bigger players. On that topic, I found some of the chapter switches to be a bit confusing as when the first switch happens between Whym and Quint occurred, it took me a while to realize we were in a different character's POV. However, as you get comfortable with the setting and several characters, it all gets easier.

“Sometimes it's not the intent, but the result, that matters.” 

Now onto our two main characters. Both are incredible headstrong and go through so much character development throughout the novel. Quint was an interesting character as he is portrayed as an unbeliever who joins the Shades to have something to fight for. He was definitely my favorite among the two but he really played his card wrongs and lost a lot.

“No one took a smiling jailer seriously. A smiling executioner was worse.” 

Now...I'll admit that I wasn't a fan of Whym at the beginning but then, I believe we started with his profile while he was much younger than Quint. Somewhere along the line, crazy stuff happened and now I'm honestly just really confused. Essentially, to avoid spoilers, he goes through some weird character transformation and I'm really intrigued to see how he will continue to grow.

“A man who would give advice without understanding is a fool.” 

One final thing before this review becomes a novel - I really loved how this novel addressed faith. Each character has their beliefs thoroughly challenged and their truths are twisted beyond their understanding. This challenges them to reconsider everything they thought was true and brings to question the idea of motives - everyone has them, but which one is right?

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