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Along the Razor's Edge: An Epic Fantasy Adventure (The War Eternal Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 275 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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- Book 1 of 3 in The War Eternal
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"One of Self Publishing's rising stars." - Mark Lawrence, author of Red Sister
"Along the Razor's Edge will make you mad. It will make you hold your breath, pump your fist, pause and reflect, and swear at 2am. It will do all these things and more, because it is one hell of a great story. For me, it was more than just reading a book. It was an experience." - Fantasy Book Review
"Rob Hayes is a master of fantasy. He has a unique vision, brilliant ideas, and the finesse to make it captivating. Furthermore, this is one of those stories that will sink into your skin, and stay there for a while." - Bookworm Blues
"A fully fleshed out beast of a story about a girl who refused to be broken, who refused to lose hope of vengeance and those who got swept up into her vortex along the way." - Maxine's Obsessions
"This book had me from the opening pages and just continued to keep me fixated throughout." - Out of this world SFF reviews--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- File size : 3343 KB
- ASIN : B08428719X
- Publication date : March 30, 2020
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 275 pages
- Language: : English
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #18,068 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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- Terrific characterization
- Epic plots
- Thrilling magic systems & world-building
So far he’s written stories in three different worlds, not counting the SF-thriller Drones he released nearly two years ago. With this book, we are introduced to a fourth new, different world and set of characters.
Along The Razor’s Edge is a provocative story that focuses on Eskara Helsene, a child sourceror within the Terran army who fought in the greatest war known to mankind. The war between the Orran empire and the Terrelan empire ended with the death of the Orran line and Eskara along with her best friend Josef Yenhelm was sent to a subterranean prison known as the Pit.
As the story starts, we are treated to life in the Pit and Eskara telling us about how she and Josef came to be in the Pit. We start from her childhood and find out how she came to be selected and how she first Josef. The author really gives us an in-depth look in to Eska and all that she holds dear. This is the first time that the author has used a first person perspective in the fantasy genre.
The majority of ATRE takes place in a subterranean hell hole wherein prisoners are abused physically and psychologically. Eskara and Josef are considered special prisoners as they are the last of the Orran Sourcerers and the Terrelans have grand plans for them. But for those plans to fruition, both Josef and Eskara have to be broken every which way. The main gist of the book’s plot is a about a jail break and it unfolds with all the thrills that one comes to expect from such plots. Eska and Josef have to find the strength within themselves and also find others who are crazy enough to believe them and bust out of the one place that’s virtually unescapable.
Eskara as a main narrator is an absolute a*****e of a character and brings to mind some spectacular ones such as Prince Jorg (Mark Lawrence) and Nyx (Kameron Hurley). She’s acerbic, vindictive and fatal to her enemies. To her friends, she’s loyal, protective and a person who will never back down from a fight. We get a strong sense of both sides within the story. She is a fascinating character that only plays out to extremes and from a psychological point of view, she’s very, very unique. What the author really explores is the concept of child soldiers or child sourcerers (if you will). These children with talents have been taken and indoctrinated and it’s very evident with the way Eska thinks and behaves.
The whole story has a structure that’s very similar to the Name Of The Wind in the sense that we have Kvothe narrating his past and similarly here we have Eskara narrating her past life as she contemplates the bleak life situation in the Pit. The way the story unfolds, we know somewhat of the future as Eska herself tell us but the journey is important too as we don’t really know how it all will happen.
How it all unfolds is wherein Rob J. Hayes really shows his special factor. As always with all of his titles, the characters are what this book so thrilling. Beginning with Eska but then we are introduced to several others: Josef, Tamura, Hardt, Isen, Prig and more. All of them are well-rounded and we are given clues by future Eska about their roles and destinies. This was really fun to read as we are given snippets about people and situations and then the fun is to see when they actually happen. This was an interesting tactic utilized by the author and I would like to see how the others find it to be.
Overall this book has a solid pace and that will have you rooted as you try to find out what happens next. The book’s main timeline is set in the present and the flashbacks as well as future snippets are well mixed in with the present timeline.
The world isn’t really explored much as the entire takes place in a subterranean setting. We get some clues about the general going on above the ground and those are pretty fantastic. I believe the author will explore more of the world (Ovaeris) in the coming sequels. There’s also a lot of non-humanoid races that get mentioned within this opening volume and I hope we get to know more of them. Lastly there’s the magic system which the author has very nicely explained over on his website and this magic system is purely based on ingestion of crystals. Rob lays out the specifics within the story and I thought there was a cool twist too.
The only negative for me about the story is Eska’s character, as she’s very abrasive and more than a bit unlikeable. For those who aren’t really into unlikeable characters, this book can be a struggle. I had my issues with Eska but I've to grant it to the author for making her a complete character. Who while being unlikeable is still so solidly written that you can't help but be completely engrossed by her sheer will to do whatever's necessary. This definitely helped me for my overall enjoyment. Plus the world building and magic system are distinct enough to help overcome any other perceivable deficiencies.
CONCLUSION: Along The Razor’s Edge is an exciting start to a new trilogy by one of my favourite writers. It has action mixed in with distinct characters who will make it hard for you to ignore them. Along The Razor’s Edge is a story as intriguing as they come and proves to be just as sharply distinct as any well honed razor would be.
Most of the story is being told to us from the main character. Retelling what happened while she was in The Pit. A brutal prison deep underground where inmates (also known as scabs) reside in the dark, mining tunnels, being tortured, eating gruel, and daydreaming about seeing sunlight once again.
I’ve never read a book where I felt like I was truly there with these characters suffering this nightmare. I felt the texture of the rock under my feet. The pangs of the pickaxe in my hands. Hayes has created an environment like no other and that is one hell of a feat for a novel under 300 pages. Even more impressive how fast it flew by. The pace reminded me of Myke Cole’s The Armored Saint.
This book almost feels like the introductory to a villains story. Like this is how villains are made. ESKA THE MAIN CHARACTER. A 15 year old very foolish girl. She will risk anything and everything for what she wants. You can feel the anger radiating off the pages as she speaks and as your reading the story, Haye’s lays out little breadcrumbs of backstory of her life before The Pit. How she was stripped of magic. Why she’s so angry. Her training at the Academy of Magic.
I aso want to make it clear that this book is bloody. It has artfully crafted, believable characters. It has relationships which feel real. Fraught, sweet, complicated, unpleasant, all of the above – but real. It has a vividly imagined world which blends the strange and the familiar in order to make something new, something that evokes the thrill of discovery as much as it does a justified fear of the unknown. The unknown being the dark, the abyss, The Pit.
- the realism
- the pragmatism
- the internal cohesion of the story; characters acting true to themselves and the plot making sense
I didn’t like
- the chopping back and forward in time. I felt it broke the flow.
- not a lot really happened in the book. Rather, a backstory is established
- I’m not a fan of magic systems based on ingesting things. Just seems silly (drugs maybe, but this is not that).
- the main character was a good looking young girl in an uncontrolled prison, but wandered around safe as houses from any sexual risk (just not realistic)
It’s still a 5 in contrast to most books, but among the top level books it’s not a standout for me.
That said I will read the next one because he is a very good author and earned the benefit of the doubt.
Top reviews from other countries
Look forward to the next instalment.