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Muse (Tales of Silver Downs Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 402 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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I only "bought" this book because of odd circumstantial factors. Three things: one, in May of '17 the author had it listed as free. Two, the title "Muse" coincided with some research I was doing. And three, the cover art showed a raven and I've always been fascinated by them. Not great reasons, any of them, but I read a lot of self published authors and didn't mind throwing another one on the pile. Didn't expect much but turns out I was impressed by it after all.
The story is set in an idealized fantasy land based on ancient Ireland. It's possible the author intended it to refer to actual Irish history (with magic and The Fey both being real), but there are many details that aren't historically accurate so I chose to view it as an "inspired by" situation rather than a "poorly researched" one. The worldbuilding, though, is decent in spite of the inaccuracies.
The main character is a young (19) bard, hopelessly shy, and immature in other ways as well. And not a very good bard because he insists on telling grim stories that nobody likes to hear. Over the course of the book he grows a little, so it's sort of a coming of age tale. But it's also a quest tale, which is a more interesting way to think of it. Seems that he comes from a family where bards have a rare special ability to tell stories that come true, and before he understood that, as a small child, he told a tale that created an evil "muse" who later comes to life and terrorizes a nearby(ish) town. So now it's our hero's responsibility to fix his mistake. To do so he must travel to that town, picking up a few companions along the way, and unraveling a decent adventure in the process.
As it's a tale about a tale-teller, I kept expecting it to turn into an allegory about what makes stories good or bad. It comes close, but the author (wisely) avoids making value judgements like that.
There's a good bit of action, the characters are interesting and overall it's a pretty good tale. It's also complete, and even though it's a first of a series the quest ends with the book so there's no "left hanging" feeling at the end. And that's unfortunately rare from indie authors.
Overall I give it four and a half stars.
I mentioned that I read a lot of freebie books. And I always have plenty more downloaded and unread, so I rarely actually buy the rest of the series, but for this one I have now already bought the next book because it impressed me that much.
The premise of the book is interesting at first glance, and lives up to expectations. The journey is well paced, with a strong narrative switching between the perspectives of three major characters. The main company of characters are likable and compelling characters, with the most frustrating actually being Diarmuid. As an intelligent and educated bard,many instances shows off his cunning, while his complete lack of intuition ranges from humorous to cringe-worthy. Diarmuid is reliant on the help of his friends and brothers for nearly every task, and fails to correctly understand even the most obvious of clues. As the story progresses, his stubbornness and refusal to admit he was wrong leads to the expected drama with in the company. The conclusion gratefully shows Diarmuid maturing in many ways, in a satisfying ending for the stories characters.
The author, Kylie Quillinan, creates a very interesting world and plot, yet leaves many mysteries to be delved into with further installments. With multiple different groups appearing omniscient, it is a wonder the world ever has trouble. Further installments promise more focus on these groups, while "Muse" leaves them as background figures, vital to the story but not explained.
Overall, "Muse" is a thought provoking fantasy, asking the reader to examine how they view the world and treat it. Do your melancholy thoughts cloud the world, distorting and ruining your perception of reality? Or will you find the good and see the beauty of the world, and act accordingly.
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There is much magic, heroes and heroines and of course, evil.Read more