I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Rucaern Orb” by Tyler Kalarchian! I got a free ebook copy from Voracious Readers Only in exchange for an honest review.
Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“A nightmare has taken hold of Arius Soulton’s mind. His escape from it comes at a great cost—his memory. Waking up far to the south, the name ‘Lunara’ is the only thing echoing in his head. By his side sits an ancient orb of power, capable of devastating magic. And it has bound itself with Arius, forming a pact of blood. Accompanying him is the orb’s guardian, Vafe, a specter who despises all living creatures, and Anaya Felore, a naive young woman who says she knows the path to the city of Lunara. If she could remember…”
POV (point of view) management and overall writing style: 3 out of 5 stars
Usually I’m fine with the overall writing style of a novel, but the errors in this book were quite jarring. Not only were there clear formatting issues with some statements and dialogue being italicized where it really shouldn’t be, but the change in point-of-view between protagonists was quite unclear at times, especially halfway through the book where the point of view might change between Arius and Anaya several times within one or two chapters. If there was at least a blank line break between those two points of views, I as a reader have time to properly establish that the point of view of the same chapter just changed from one person to another. This otherwise reads as confusing to me.
I also felt that dialogue between characters often took up large paragraphs. And sometimes, this is quite necessary to explain worldbuilding or backstories, which is fine. For example, I am perfectly fine with those quotes in the beginning of the chapters to explain the worldbuilding and magicbuilding of the world of the novel. However, it does slow down the pacing of the plot and the events going on at times.
Plotline: 3 out of 5 stars
Overall, I felt that the plotline was decently paced overall, and that the first half made for a good introduction into the chain of events that followed in the second half. I also enjoyed the use of flashbacks in the very beginning of the book before Arius wakes up in the first chapter or so. However, I did feel that the ending of the book was rather sudden, and though I understand it’s meant to be a cliffhanger, I felt that the conclusion could have been wrapped up smoother than just smashing it into the Epilogue chapter.
Character Development: 3 out of 5 stars
The main characters Anaya, Arius, Vafe do have interesting quirks. I especially liked the concept behind how Arius and Vafe are bonded together in the first place, and I enjoyed reading their banter between them. Anaya comes off as optimistic-to-the-point-of-unrealistic, and though this is fine at times to read to give some hope to the other characters (especially one of the secondary characters, Henry, when he reveals his backstory to her in one chapter), her constant complaining a lot about their journey (not having a comfy chair to sit in when they made it to an inn, etc.) did bring down the quality of her developing of her maturity throughout the book.
I also felt that the expressions of any of the characters being in shock, afraid, etc. were lacking. This may be possibly due to the overall writing style of this book doing more telling than showing of their emotions (and I recognize this because I also have to work on this same issue when writing my own short stories), but I think there could have been more depth to the strif Arius feels about his bond to Vafe, for instance, as well as Anaya’s slow descent into despair.
Overall, I’m rating this book 3 out of 5 stars! It’s a promising start, but with some improvements in both plotline and character development, as well as better establishing point-of-view changes, I think this could get better in future books of this series.