“Rose is a post-recession, struggling graduate, who is suddenly taken into a mirrored, shadowy world, where she learns she is the new queen of Iudex. She is rescued by the king of Ignusia, who she later discovers to be the boy who disappeared from their world ten years prior—Declan. With the fate of the kingdom lying in her hands, she must learn fast while avoiding the entanglements of war, escape, and love.”
Three out of five stars
Three stars is one of the most telling ratings there is about an author and their books: that the author is very creative and talented, but don’t yet possess the skills to craft a good book. Unfortunately, that is the case of the author of The Book of Iudex.
Rose is a lifeguard who stored away her dreams of a career in astronomy to cater to the reality of bills and student loans. What she believes to be a normal day on the job ends up turning her world upside down, as Rose is catapulted into an alternate world separated into kingdoms, and torn apart by an ongoing war.
I liked Rose as a character. She didn’t adhere to clichés, and the uniqueness of her character was portrayed quite well. While she is a strong, adaptable young woman, she embraces her befuddlement of her new life and circumstances, and this is a cornerstone for much of the book’s humour.
The book starts off strong, with seamless exposition, good introduction to Rose’s character and the right action to throw her into her story. But after the first two scenes, things start to get a little more dicey. Exposition is blocked together in dreams, memories and dialogue, and the imagery is so lacking that the “mirror world” of Tekra makes little impression when it is introduced to us.
The author has clearly given a lot of thought to the world she’s created, as the culture, behaviours, and dress across the four kingdoms are particularly detailed, and interesting. Additionally, she writes well, and creates a good flow, which gives me every confidence she has a great deal of writing talent.
The plot promised a lot of excitement: four kingdoms at war, once of which is run by a malicious dictator seeking to take the other kingdoms into his possession. The war is fought with magical powers, swords and shields, in a fantastic combination of magic and historical combat. The romantic elements of the book use the classic formula of two people in love who can’t be together for various reasons, and in this case, it’s magic. I loved this idea.
But while the plot is really enticing, The Book of Iudex has too many novice mistakes. Tense changes, overly casual dialogue (especially for the royal court) and incorrect use of words – “peaked” used instead of “peeked” as one example – could have been rectified with the help of a good editor.
I wanted to like this book more, and I feel like I want to read more by this author maybe in a few years time when her skills have strengthened. I can’t deny that the excitement of the plot and the main character was significantly dimmed by rookie mistakes.
Book one in the Paralleled series, The Book of Iudex is available on Amazon.
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