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The Soul and the Seed: The Kyrennei Series Book One Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Though the story is set in modern(ish) times, it is enough of an alternate world that some world building needed to be done for the story to make sense. With the story set in first person, the world building takes a while to develop enough to figure out what's going on. Especially with the protagonist caught up in events from the first page. There are multiple species (races?) that are in the mix, which muddles the world building even further, since they each have factions within the broader groups.
This is heavily biased by personal choice in how a book is written. With as much going on as this book has, I had trouble getting to know the secondary cast of characters. The main character has trust issues (well developed and explained early on), which makes it harder to believe, or get to know the others who help form the story group.
Also due to the first person perspective, the other characters didn't develop as much vibrancy as I think they could have. This is one of the downfalls of a first person perspective in writing. As such, there was a lot of potential that wound up getting lost through the main character's filter, which left many of the others feeling like holograms, or scenery, even when they had an important part to play. This is especially apparent in the latter part of the book when things become disjointed due to plans going awry.
I'm inclined to think that the pacing in this book is a touch rushed throughout. This may be because of the first person perspective, I am not sure. With motivations being hidden, trying to judge what's rushed or not is a bit harder. There are a few places where things definitely lagged because of the perspective.
If it appears I didn't like the book, that is completely wrong. It was well written, and I did rather enjoy the premise. I know I'm biased against first person perspective books - for most of the above noted reasons. However, the story itself is captivating enough to transcend my bias, and held me captive until the last page. Now I want to know what else happens!
Subtle yet apparent undertones surrounding issues of race, politics, language, geography, and urban vs rural culture all contribute to the rich, aromatic "stew" in which this story bubbles. Aranka and her teammates carry enormous burdens. Their struggles are epic, yet individual and very familiar. Readers will be seamlessly, effortlessly involved. Young adults will devour this book, and clamor for more.
I waited to get the paperback because I wanted to have the book on my shelf, so it took me a little longer to finish the book and write my review.
This book is not too long but it really brings you into the world created by the author and the characters' lives. I grew up in Eastern Oregon and I loved the setting of the book and the descriptions of the Grande Ronde valley and the little roads on the mountainsides where the characters lived.
One of my favorite things about it is that the story offers an explanation for our society's vast complacency in the face of real social justice problems. Of course it is a fictional, somewhat fantasy dystopian present (it's not set in the future, it's now) conspiracy theory kind of explanation! But still, I immediately felt a connection to the author (disclaimer - I've known her for many years) and to the characters when the topic of the Addin and keeping the world in line came up. People not rocking the boat, fitting in, and at the same time covering up historical atrocities and trying to control other people just really tugged at my sense of justice. I see many parallels in real society.
The main character is great - A lot of people have compared this book to YA fiction such as the Hunger Games and Divergent. I have read the Hunger Games trilogy and I would say that Aranka is similar but also very different from Katniss. She is a great character in part because of her vulnerability. People - adults and teens - will identify with her as she's an average kid in a little town in the country. But she is also special, and when she is dealt a huge blow by being forced into something she never imagined, and learning about her specialness that she never knew about before, she is strong enough to stay in the fight and stand up for other people - and especially children - like her. I'm excited to see what happens in the next two books in terms of her growing into her new "specialness" (you'll have to read the book to know what I'm referring to!).
Like the author says in the back of the book, the story doesn't fit well into any one genre. But that is completely fine with me. I love how it brings in a little fantasy (not exactly elves but tying in legends of elves with the "true" history in Aranka's world) and also some sci-fi mind-control conspiracy genre, if that is a genre.
I am an avid reader and I'm sure I'll finish the next two very quickly and be able to review them soon! I hope Arie keeps writing because I know I'll want more books when I'm done with these.
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