Monday, February 18, 2013

Early Review - Firebrand (Rebel Angel, Book 1) by Gillian Philip (3.5/5 stars)

Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Books;
Release Date: February 19, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-0765333223
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Rebel Angel series
Source: From Amazon Vine for Review
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

I got a copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. This is the first book in the Rebel Angel series. The second book will be titled Bloodstone and is scheduled for a November 2013 release. I enjoyed the world building in this book and thought it was well written. The story moves slowly though. Also despite the commentary on the back of the book this book is pretty much straight fantasy, not an urban fantasy as described.

Seth and his brother, Conal, are Sithe and live in a world outside the human one. Seth’s brother Conal, is constantly in struggles with the Queen of Sithe, Kate. When Conal disobeys the Queen he is thrown out of the Sithe world and into the human world to survive. Seth follows Conal. Seth and Conal must not only survive the human world, but also navigate the politics of the Sithe to save those they love.

I enjoyed Seth as a character; he is complex, reckless, and wild. He does everything with all of his heart and has a wry sense of humor. Conal is more of a “too good to be true” type of character and more straight-laced and serious than Seth. The two characters balance each other out well.

The world was complicated and more about Sithe politics than anything else. When in the human world Seth and Conal are faced with witch trials and paranoia typical to Medieval times. There are some excellent battle scenes and there is also a tad of romance throughout as well.

The book was beautifully written, but moved slowly. Most of the plot that drives the book is about a power struggle between the Sithe Queen Kate and a witch that lives in Conal’s clan named Leonora, their battle tears the Sithe’s lives apart.

The ARC I got said that this is a “great new urban fantasy series”. There really isn’t anything urban fantasy about this book at all. The Sithe culture is very Celtic in feel, when the brothers travel to the human world they enter it in what seems to be Medieval times. So this book is pretty much straight fantasy.

It’s a decent fantasy, but a bit slow at times. I enjoyed reading it for the most part but at times had trouble staying engaged in the story. I enjoyed the writing style. Although by the end of the story I was kind of left thinking, “Huh, what was the point of all of that?” It’s almost like this whole book is used up to set up how Conal and Seth end up in the human world.

Overall a solid fantasy. I enjoyed the characters and the world. I thought the pacing was pretty slow though and the plot was fairly pointless. It is almost like this whole book is being used up to set up how Conal and Seth got to the human world. I would tentatively recommend to fans of fantasy novels.

I am curious to see if Bloodstone is more of an urban fantasy because this book was definitely not urban fantasy as advertised on the back cover. So, I guess I was a bit perturbed that this is billed as “a critically acclaimed urban fantasy series” when it is absolutely not an urban fantasy.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Reading Challenge

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