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I picked this up simply due to the fact that I read an article about it getting a 7-figure movie deal already, therefore I am assuming it is going to be as big as Harry Potter and Hunger Games etc.
Story – 4/5
I thought the story was excellent to be honest. It grabbed hold, and wouldn’t let go. The story and prose are simple and concise, as befits a young adult story, but the story is rich with depth and characterisation. There is plenty of action, great character development and a good portion of romance that added to the story, rather than detracting like most tend to for me.
Telling the story from 2 first person viewpoints that alternate, even when the characters cross-over worked extremely well. There was a strong emotional connection with both characters. The setting is supposed to be an alternative fantasy Roman Empire, with familiar styled names, and the format of the soldier’s training/discipline, which also worked very well.
For a young adult story, it is full of brutality; like torture, violence and talk of rape (although no rape actually happens luckily). It seems too much for teenagers, but then the plot and story progression is definitely written with teenagers in mind, therefore probably doesn’t hit either audience properly. Not that it matters too much for big kids like me. I also didn’t find some of what the supporting cast did very realistic at times; but these are both minor issues on the scale of things – easily ironed out in later novels.
Although the novel, including the title, hint towards a spark of revolution, do not be fooled into thinking this is a hunger games rip-off. It is completely different, and clearly the first novel of a series as it barely touches the surface of the overall plot that Sabaa Tahir is clearly working towards. I’m surprised this hasn’t been made a bigger deal on audible to be honest. I only hope this review can spread the word and ensure the whole series gets added.
Performance – 4/5
I think the audiobook production was of a very high quality. Getting 2 narrators to do the story from the 2 viewpoints really helped add to the enjoyment overall. I think both were very good at portraying the strong emotions of their respective characters.
Jack Farrar’s character voice acting was very good, each having a distinctive, believable voice. Aysha Kala, although acted well, didn’t provide much distinction; using similar voices for all characters. It didn’t spoil the book at all, as the story/prose was easy to follow – so I always knew who was speaking anyway, but it could have been just that little bit better.
Overall – 4/5
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
It's difficult not to compare Jack Farrar and Aysha Kala when they are alternating chapters. She's good, but he's brilliant. Both suit their characters well. It can be a bit confusing until you work that out they don't seemed to have agreed pronunciation before they started so are talking about the same people.
I don't want to give any plot points away, but thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone - it has a bit of everything!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful