Review: Arantur

"Arantur: Riothamus Book 1" by Rosemary Fryth

File Size: 536KB
Language: English
Purchase: Kindle

The lead character, Arantur, works as the apprentice to Master Cody in Leigh, a well known blacksmith. He doesn't see himself as having any other trade save that he's grown up to learn, and raised by a foster family including a troublemaking foster-brother named Sed. One day, however, a mage comes to Master Cody insisting Arantur must leave his apprenticeship early and go to Glaive - the home of the mages - at once. Arantur finds himself leaving the only home he can remember to be confronted with an unexpected new destiny.

The world definitely displays as well thought out, from the politics to the classes of magic - both key factors in the text. However, the book also has a few struggles. There's no real conflict or tension other than the lead being dragged along on a journey to a destiny that doesn't appeal to him; at no point is there any serious physical endangerment or impediment as they go from place to place. The characters feel like pawns at times when they are moved from one locale and discuss various world development points of conflict and history, then get moved somewhere else and repeat it; it's as if the author is using them as ciphers to explain her world development, versus seeing them as characters who happen to be in this magical, fantastical world. Arantur, for someone who is discovering so much about his past history and having his whole world turned upside down, doesn't get terriby emotional just rather analytical and distant about it all, which seems odd. Also, I could see the ending coming long before it actually did, save one particular element which despite multiple rereads seems unclear and pretty contrived (but I can't say what it is as that would be a major spoiler). If Arantur himself wasn't as interesting as he is, I'm not sure I would have read to the end of the book, as most of the characters are pretty flat in development.

Because of the strength in the world building, I would be interested in seeing the next book, with the hopes that the characters begin to show additional promise.

Reviewed by: Shannon Muir

A free copy of this book was furnished by the author for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.