Not a review, because I didn’t like book 1 enough to finish it. It impressed me as was a fairly spirited attempt to try some Tolkienesque worldbuilding and blend it with Star Wars-style Farmboy to Hero arc. All fine, good stuff; even Farmboy was a decent character. However, the nebulous Ultimate Evil was more compelling, interesting, and sympathetic than the bumbling young heroes and their insufferable allies and I lost interest.
Insufferable, you ask?
1) The elves. The elves were utterly shameless Tolkien ripoffs: snooty, holier-than-thou environmentalists who are continually attempting to shame and lecture the hero. Par for the course, for most elves. What made it actually insufferable was actually their clinging to and ranting about the past noble glories of their doomed racial history, without–and this is important–the saving grace of actually having a noble, and glorious history.
Tolkienian elves strove against the darkness. They mostly failed, and this failure haunts, grieves, and dooms them; but they did try. They really were noble, relentless, striving, courageous even in the face of certain failure. Furthermore–worldbuilding–they weren’t a monolithic and simple culture. For example: think of Celegorm, Maeglin, and Thingol–brave warriors, cunning counselors, noble monarchs, total jackasses–all of whom represent differing political and personal perspectives. There’s a lot going on with the Tolkien elves; they are sad and despairing because they’ve been through hell, and it’s justified. They feel that the Earth is changing–because they’ve been there for milennia, struggling against the decay, and they’ve failed to prevent it, change it, and barely even to mitigate it.
The Sithi elves saw the darkness coming and didn’t lift a damn finger to stop it. And then have the gall to complain about it afterwards.
2) The villains. A deluded and semi-evil King who is destroying his realm? Fine; no problem. A loathsome magician/priest guy who literally stomps on puppies while making eye contact with and smiling sinisterly at the hero? (no, really)…is over the top, but I will at least applaud his downfall when it happens. The ultimate villain as a disembodied force of malice and dread who controls the action from a distance and also sends his minions versus the heroes on a quest for powerful artifacts? Who is this “Tolkien” fellow you’re talking about again?…except said ultimate villain (see point 1), was the only, ONLY, Sithi to try to protect his people against the human invasion.
By consorting with dark powers and turning himself into a god of death, but still.
It might be my own biases speaking, but–actually, on second thought, it’s not. The term is “Natural Selection.” Humans won. You lost. Fight, submit, or die. Don’t whine.
I will also admit that there might have been mitigating circumstances to the Sithi’s suckitude that I didn’t read about in book 1; but then, I didn’t read about them. Further analysis will be curtailed because I’m out of time again.
Tl;dr – I preferred Ineluki, because everyone else sucked.