The Bones of Prophecy by J. Rokusson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a debut novel that is the first of the Elder Blade trilogy. The jacket blurb promised great fight scenes, world-building, magic and mystery … and it delivers on all of those. The magic system is based on inked patterns on skin that is charged with power to enhance some human aspect (strength, vigil, et al) and is used to great effect in the captivating fight scenes. Then there is the mystery behind who exactly is the MC and what divine plan is he wrapped, when early on, he is set on a path that robs him of his past and set him on a veritable scavenger hunt designed by a dead god with a gift for future prophecy. There is a certain amount of hidden depth to the world that makes it real and interesting … and fits the dark nature of the protagonist. What’s more, the author uses the MC amnesia as a way to progressively introduce the world to the reader that is woven into the story … and does this very well.
Despite this potential, the author comes up short in one area … the ending … which frankly seemed like more of a messy dream sequence than anything else … still, it kept my attention all the way to the finish … which wasn’t really much of a finish actually. None of the open plot mysteries found any resolution, giving the ending a feel like this was only a chapter break for the next book to pick up and continue … not exactly a cliffhanger (no suspense here, just continued unanswered questions). Without something here, I just can’t justify adding another star, but I did enjoy it enough to continue the series.
I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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My Ratings Explained ...
- [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
- [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
- [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
- [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
- [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.