Saturday, January 30, 2016

Review: When They Shine Brightest

When They Shine BrightestTitle: When They Shine Brightest
Author: Yordan Zhelyazkov
Publisher: self-pub in U.S.
Release Date: January 1, 2015

A character-driven fantasy novel, exploring the theme of loss and how we try to deal with it even when there is no way to do so.

Korsak Dryshore, a middle-aged war veteran, is being held directly responsible for the invasion of his home town of Seten. Everyone in Seten, including his family, blames him for losing the last ditch defense against the aggressors. Utterly defeated, and mourning the loss of his eldest son in the conflict, he has spent the last months following the battle away from home. Upon his return, he has to confront the animosity of the populace, made even worse by his bringing a heathen girl back with him.
Beaten, downcast and in despair, he is resigned to merely spending the remainder of his days in meek quietude. That would prove impossible, however, as he's soon implicated in an escalating political and religious conflict within the city. To make matters worse, his youngest son and the foreign girl are dragged deep into the whirlwind of the crisis.

And in the meantime, They are about to set over Seten."

While a standalone, “When They Shine Brightest” is also a first book in a new and vast fantasy world and gives the start of events that are yet to reach all of its corners.

Oh God I have seriously procrastinated this one.  

This book is pretty different.  It's originally written in Bulgarian.  The author had it translated to English, because why not?  I haven't read many books from different cultures, so I was really excited about this.

I will start with the awesome.  The world building is fantastic and vivid.  It's such a different world from any others I've ever read about.  The writing was beautiful and the translation was seamless.  I really wanted to love this book.

So I will move on to the not-so-good.  I'm going to compare this one to Truthwitch right now.  I honestly have no idea why, but it just didn't meld with me.  The story was good, the world building awesome.  There were interesting characters.  But for some reason I just could not get into it.  So many people love Truthwitch, and I just couldn't get into it.  The same thing happened with this book.

I recognize that this is a book a lot of people would enjoy.  I thought I would enjoy it.  And I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out why I couldn't get through it.  But since it took me two months to get 15% through, I'm putting it aside indefinitely.  Maybe another day I will look at it and say, "Hey you!  Yes you!  I want to read you now."  And maybe not.

I loved the premise and the world building and the characters.  I just couldn't get into it.  But I cannot stress this enough: You really should give it a shot.  I'm like 98% certain the problem was me.

Note: I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and that in no way sways my opinion of this book.

Update: Fail. I forgot to add the book cover.

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