Saturday, 27 September 2014

Armenia Fallen #1: Sins of a Sovereignty by Plague Jack

*Copy provided by the author in exchange of a honest review*

Published: June 13th 2014 by Create Space

Goodreads Summary: Ten years ago a terrifying superweapon left one of Amernia’s most illustrious cities permanently shrouded in poisoned fog. Over the past decade, three great evils have haunted the Amernian people. First is the elusive Blood Queen, who holds Amernia in an iron grip. Second, are the entombed old gods, who speak only to a chosen few. Third is the nation's scar, a seemingly endless expanse of green miasma that has claimed the north. The rift between rich and poor, human and nonhuman, divides the kingdom more every day. As a spectral rider streaks across the sky, heralding the death of kings, foreign nations circle like vultures hungry for a feast. Legendary veteran of two wars, Sir Clark Pendragon, is sent north to quell the rising chaos. New alliances will be forged and broken as a Wild War threatens to tear Amernia asunder.

-MY THOUGHTS-

I actually hadn’t originally intended to read Sins of a Sovereignty, the first book in the Armenia Fallen series. When one morning as I checked my gmail account, I saw its author email in my inbox, I didn’t send it in the trash bin, but I disregarded it nonetheless. 

Why, you asked me? Well, the guy who wrote Sins of A Sovereignty is called or name himself Plague Jack (I’m not joking) and on his Goodreads profile is written a weird story about how he was an orphan and joined a librarian street gang and fought many battle in the name of Dewey Decimal reform  O_O.

I know that some people would have applauded Mr Jack’s creativity? Humour? Whatever you call that, but being the traditionalist that I am, I wondered what kind of joke Jack was trying to crack. Besides, at the time I received his mail, I was really busy.

Thanks God, in some of my quieter moment, I eventually accepted Jack’s review request, because Sins of a Sovereignty turned out to one of the most exciting book I had read in a while. 

I was especially impressed because Jack isn’t among the group of must read dark fantasy author usually recommended between readers.

Armenia is a country whose history is drenched in blood, first there was the Rose Rebellion, then the Green War and now a new racial war is creeping up.

Relationship between human and non human (elves, dwarves, fairies and gilnoid) or subhuman as the Blood Queen loves to call them have always been contentious at best. But non human have reached a point where they can’t tolerate any more abuse and the Wild Hunt is there to offer them justice. 

First and foremost, I’d like to say that if you turn into jelly at the first sight of violence, if incest and other immoral actions set you on edge, well, Sins of a Sovereignty isn’t for you, though you’ll miss a very good story. Bloodsheds, incest, betrayal, torture, racism, Plague Jack doesn’t shy away from anything.

The world building isn’t similar, the elements that drive the story forward have nothing in common and the premises are different. But, somehow, I can’t help comparing Jack’s book to A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.

The story is bittersweet. There are flickers of hopes here and there, moments where you feel, think and expect the characters to solve their problems and perhaps achieve a form of happiness or at least reach some sort of inner peace. However, this hope is always ultimately dashed.

Besides, just like in Martin’s books, heroes and villains archetypes are deconstructed, both concepts are befuddled. 

A good example of this are Minerva and Calcifer. Minerva is the Blood Queen, during her reign the Nixus, a extremely toxic gas was unleashed on non-human, she’s the one that brand them sub-human as if there were creature and not fully developed being.

I was ready to hate her. I truly was, but in the end I couldn’t. I pitied her instead. 

Minerva was a ruthless and stubborn monarch. I couldn’t agree with any of her decisions. But, she was also a very lonely woman who had to hold her country all by herself. 

As for my boo, the elf Calcifer, he’s among the few person that the god Cambrian selected to use as instrument of his will and power. Because of this god’s “blessing”, he’s able to wield magic. In Armenia, he’s known as THAT legendary sorcerer, especially among the elves, dwarves and co.

However, truth be told Calcifer is a selfish, slightly angsty twenty year old prone to self-destruction who bears an unnatural love for his twin sister.

Despite his impressive power, his past and the fact that he’s an elf, he couldn’t give less of a damn about the non-human cause. That being said, I couldn’t despise him because I could tell he was a good guy. Perhaps, it was his naivety or maybe his good-heartedness, I don’t know which, but there was something truly endearing about him. He just needed a little growing up. 

Even though Sins of Sovereignty possess a strong cast of characters, Shrike and Calcifer being among my favourite, I think what truly makes it stand out is the unique world building and the fact that the author was able to maintain the suspense from the first page till the last.

The book takes place in a magical medieval world starting to develop some forms of technology. It’s something I hadn’t yet encountered in a high fantasy/dark fantasy book. 
Furthermore, I was intrigued by Armenia’s history and the role that the gods might have played in it.

In this book, there is no certainty. It impossible to be absolutely sure of how things would turn out for the characters, I couldn’t truly guess if so and so would win in the end or not and that made me want to turn the pages. It was also pretty hard to gauge some of the character’s nature. 

I would rate the earlier part of the book from good to very good but the last 15-20% were excellent.

There was one scene in particular that made me gape in amazement. I can’t tell you which it was because I would spoil you if I did.

I was also very satisfied by the ending. Many questions are left to be answered and there are a great amount of possibilities and that’s what makes me want to read the next book.

I might have loved Sins of Soveignty, but that doesn’t me I thought it was flawless.  Every now and then some of the characters actions were a bit simplistic. I’m mostly talking about the Duchess Veronica Evrill there, I know she was a good woman who wanted to right her wrongs and make the world a better place. But I couldn’t help wanting to slap some sense into her.

In any case, for a debut novel, Plague Jack did a job worth applauding. I’m truly glad I got the chance to read his book and I’m very eager to see where he will lead his story.




4 comments:

  1. Pahaha, a street Librarian gang? XDD I'm glad you decided to give this one a go. It sounds really interesting and I'm also happy to hear that you ended up enjoying it so much. :)

    Jules @ The Book of Jules

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  2. Lol yeah a Librarian gang. The author is full of imagination, XD. It was definitely an interesting book.

    Since you enjoy ASOIAF, I'm about 80% sure you would enjoy this book as well, lol.

    I know the author is looking for reviewers at the moment. So if you've got some free time and if Sins of Sovereignty really caught your interest, you could ask the author for a free copy in exchange of a honest review.

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  3. This looks amazing!!! I admit I kind of skim-read it because the blurb had me, so hopefully I can read it soon. Then I'll be back!!!

    "I can’t help comparing Jack’s book to A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin."
    It's hard not to compare a LOT of things with George R.R. Martin... (lol! It honestly is! I feel like it's the epic fantasy standard and most other books fit on or below the bar.)

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  4. Thanks for commenting! I definitely recommand this book to you. The story gets better and better as you turn the page. If you manage to read the book, I'd really like hear your feeling about it!

    ReplyDelete

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