Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Sacrifice by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Sacrifice: The First Book of the Fey
The Fey are a race of conquerors with fighting and battle in their blood. Thus far, they have conquered all the lands within their reach and to extend their empire even further, they will have to take Blue Isle. As the people of Blue Isle are peace loving traders, the Fey assume that it won’t take more than a morning’s work to overrun the isle and claim it for their own. When this proves impossible for them, they must come to terms with their shock and create new battle plans, for the Fey never lose and to do so now against such a weak opponent would be more than an extreme embarrassment. The Islanders, however, are far from willing to relinquish what is theirs and set out to do the impossible and defeat the Fey.

From the beginning, I struggled with this book. The idea was good but the story never really gripped me. There were two things that really bothered me about the story. The first was that both parties were introduced on an equal basis with the introduction to the Fey being the first. Then, just as the affinity for the main character, Jewel, starts to set in, you realize that her race is actually entirely reprehensible and you really don’t want to know her. I got the feeling that Rusch was trying to convey that the same situation can look very different from different perspectives, but the effect was off-putting. Jewel and her father were evil by modern standards, so it was hard for me to care about what happened to them. Nicholas and his father were much more sympathetic characters, but earned relatively little page time. The second thing that irritated me was the repetition and lack of much action. It felt like she kept covering the same ground time and time again and after having spent a lot of time listening, not much actually happened. Finally, after having many times considered whether or not to finish the book, the ending wasn’t actually an ending but a lead in to the next book, which left me with no satisfaction at knowing the outcome and little desire to read the next book.

There are many good things about this book, the setting is good, the idea is good, there are several intriguing ideas about religion and magic which I’d never run into before and some of the characters have real potential. I could also see the next book being better than this first one. However, I’m going to have to give this one a 3/5 because, as I mentioned, it just never grabbed me like I had hoped it would.

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