Thank you to the author for sending me a free copy in return for an honest review!
Genre: Middle grade | fantasy
Series: The Arinthian Line #1
Goodreads rating: 4.00
My rating: ★★★
Fourteen-year-old Augum and friends Bridget and Leera dream of becoming warlocks. But with a kingdom in total chaos, it will take courage, sacrifice, and an iron will to make that dream come true.
The Lord of the Legion, a vicious tyrant, has overthrown the king in a relentless and murderous quest for seven mythic artifacts–and Augum’s mentor, the legendary Anna Atticus Stone, possesses one. While Augum struggles with demons from a painful childhood, a betrayal puts him, his friends, and his mentor through a harrowing ordeal that threatens to destroy them all … and change the course of history.
Arcane, the debut novel in the fantasy adventure series The Arinthian Line, follows three friends as they navigate an ancient abandoned castle, endure grueling training, challenge old mysteries, and learn that a bond forged in tragedy might just be the only thing to save them from a ruthless enemy (Goodreads).
Reading the summary made me really excited about this book. I expected a really epic adventure that would have me at the edge of my seat at all times. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. It was still an enjoyable book, it didn’t blow me away.
Let’s start with what I did enjoy though. I loved the worldbuilding in this book. There’s an entire history to their world and throughout the book you learn more and more about arcane (magic, but don’t call it that!). The ‘magic system’ is really interesting as well, with several degrees of magic and everyone specialising in a certain element.
Next there are some amazing plot twists, especially in the beginning that I definitely didn’t see coming. Sadly the plot twist(s?) near the end weren’t as amazing, and were kind of obvious. That brings me to the second half of the novel in general, which is the reason for my three star rating. The book started really good. It felt nostalgic; it felt like I was reading a fantasy novel from my childhood (with more death). There was action and angst, we learned about our protagonist’s background story… All in all it was a good set up for the second half of the novel, but sadly that bit was quite boring to read (with a few exceptions) which is why it took me so long to finish. The ‘grueling training’ part mentioned in the summary above is what I’m referring to. Reading about their training was interesting at first, but it soon started to get repetitive. In the second half we’re also introduced to new, a bit stereotypical, characters, though I’m sure those will become less stereotypical in the latter books.
Sadly I also didn’t really connect to any of the characters. I didn’t really care whether they were going to die or live, except for one: Mrs. Stone, who was my favourite character. She is such a bad ass and I couldn’t help but picture older Toph from Legend of Korra. She is the toughest warlock of them all, wise and very stern, but loveable nonetheless. At least to me as a reader haha.
So to sum up: this was a good first book, but the second half should’ve cut down on all the training (or made it more interesting) and needed a bit more action. I couldn’t relate to the characters, though I’m sure that they will grow on me in later books. The worldbuilding was good for a first book, so I can’t wait to see how it develops in the rest of the series!