The Falcon's Eye 2nd Edition
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I did have one detraction that stayed with me throughout the story, but it was not a deal breaker.
Spoiler Alert (Just in case)
As readers, we all have ideas about where we think or hope the story will progress as we are flipping through the pages. For me, Ava was the engaging protagonist I wanted to know more about from the beginning. She had spunk, smarts, and a no nonsense way about her that I liked. I wanted to see the character grow and develop in time. Initially in the story, Ava seemed more mature for her age. In the end however, her immaturity towards supporting characters made me not like Ava as much as I thought I might.
I felt Ava was so overly distrustful of everyone for so long in the story that I ultimately didn’t care as much for her as I wanted to as the story progressed. I understood early on her reasons for being distrustful of everyone and naturally being suspicious. However, I felt as the story progressed chapter after chapter that her distrust of the people trying to help her was so great and her actions to certain circumstances (i.e., running away, accusing people of lying or breaking promises) were overly disproportionate and repetitive. It was really frustrating (e.g., when Arne was immobilized at the inn, but all Ava could focus on was he broke his promise). This scenario was repeated throughout. As a result, I ended up caring less for her and her plight as the story progressed because of the way she treated the people that were ultimately trying to help her. One could argue, she didn’t know that at the time, but if she stood still for one minute and listened, she would have. Her character seemed very immature in that regard in my eyes. Her maturity came a little too late in the story for my liking.
I was conflicted because I cared for her character because of how she cared for certain people, but then later I had some disdain for her for how completely blind and stubborn she was to those helping her. The trouble she got herself into in my opinion was a result of her own inability to stop for a second and listen. I thought Nisunra could have been utilized better in the story as Ava’s other conscience, especially when Ava would refuse to listen to others. I felt that Nisunra could have channeled more common sense into Ava instead of comforting her. I thought Carlyn’s analysis of her was spot on and I sympathized more with Rys, Arne, and Ardryan than for her. Some characters died before Ava forgave them and that bothered me, when if she only listened earlier on in the story there would be nothing to forgive and no one to blame. I thought it was needless, but then maybe there wouldn’t be a story, so what do I know.
Despite that one issue, I actually did quite enjoy the book. The author is a very good writer and story teller. Her writing style is descriptive, but not overly so. She has a writing style that gets you right into the character’s point of view very seamlessly and keeps you engaged in the story. It looks like a sequel might be in the works, which is a good thing. I definitely would recommend giving “The Falcon’s Eye” a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
That said, I found this to be a highly original and fresh addition to the genre. The book is steeped in culture, and none of it the usual staid medieval European kind. Here, you will encounter the exotic in all manner of settings; and it is recounted in scrupulous detail.
There's some strong dialogue throughout, intense characterization, political intrigue, and vast amounts of magic and combat.
For me, though, the star of the show is the prose in a few astonishing scenes (dreams, dances, transformative magic). It is here that the author shines. The same could be said of the incredible depths of backstory seamlessly woven into the tale, seldom interfering with the momentum of the plot, but always bubbling just below the surface.
I'm not normally one for epic and high fantasy (more of a Sword and Sorcery dude), but Falcon's had enough originality and high-caliber prose to keep me interested throughout.
It's a mammoth book, and I had the sense throughout that the author really knew the material inside out. Here, we encounter a fully realized world inhabited by flesh and blood characters who are anything but two-dimensional.
An impressive debut.
In the realm of fantasy it's very easy to step on old toes, and even get in the way of some of your contemporaries. Thankfully, Nathan does not do that. While there are salutes to Tolkien and Martin, and even a little bit of Herbert (yes, I know his work is sci-fi, not fantasy), it is undoubtedly a S. Nathan novel.
The prose is clean and flows easily on the page, taking you away into another world, but it has frighteningly accurate similarities to our own world, such as political sabotage (the assassination) and absentee parents/abandonment. Many people can relate to Ava, and many will be fascinated for hours with trying to see said similarities and analyze them.
But this is not a story to be analyzed. This is a story intended to take you away from the real world for a few hours and it certainly does it's job. Nathan's brilliant mind shines as you read page after page.
I think my only problem is Ava's character development. I thought she could have grown up a bit more during her ordeals in the story, but she didn't quite live up to her potential.
Other than that, this was one of the best fantasy novels from this generation I have read. Fans of the genre and newbies alike will devour it!