The Lost Children of Managrail: The Rising #1
by Aron Joice
6th May 2012
Managrail has been at peace for one hundred years, but things are about to change. After a near-fatal fall, Prince Simian and his sister, Lila, find themselves lost in an unknown land, forced to embark on a dangerous journey. Far away, another brother and sister return home, only to find their village of Dirth plundered and their family murdered. Two brother and sisters, different in every way, are brought together by tragedy. As the queen’s champion leads a search for the heirs, a colorful cast of allies joins them. Can the powers of the enchanted Light Bringers help them escape from ancient beasts that hunger for the taste of human flesh, and save their lands and people from the dark powers of an evil sorceress? Love-ambivalence-betrayal. Who will live and who is to be trusted?
I enjoyed this book but not as much as I wanted too. I can't fault Joice's writing, the descriptions of the characters and the scenery were so well written that I could picture myself in the city of Managrail and I could see the characters in my minds eye however I did have a few issues with the structure of the book. I often felt confused in regards as to where I was in the story, there weren't proper breaks within the chapters or paragraphs to signify the different points in the story. The characters are often not together but this isn't made obvious in the writing, everything blends together and I often found myself re reading parts to get my bearings.
The only real problem for me was the character development or more precisely the lack of it. I was really disappointed by the end of the book when I realised I still didn't have a clue who any of them were. For starters how old are all of the characters? I don't have a clue.
The worst aspect of the story is the love interests/relationships. Lila loves Medack. Medack loves Lila's mother, Raina (which again makes me ask, how old is he?) Bramon loves Cayda, Cayda loves Bramon. Simian loves Hafina and then Lila loves Locknair. All of the relationships are completely unrealistic and unbelievable. There is no evidence of growth in the relationships between any of these people which made them seem false. It took less than a chapter for these feelings to be realised in each of the characters and honestly that's ridiculous.
It seems that Joice has fallen into a style of writing that involves telling us all aspects of the story rather than showing us the story. We are told everything that happens and expected to believe it as true rather than being shown things and forming our own opinions of the events.
This is in no way a bad story, I really like the plot but the characters let the story down. I feel that they were overlooked so that the plot could be fast paced and reach the climax quickly.
Characters and character development are important to me and should be the key aspect in a story because if I can't connect with a character then I can't connect with a story.
I know I'll read the next in the series because I really did enjoy the plot and I really want to know what's in store for the children of Managrail, my only concern is that I'll be left feeling the same disappointment in regards to the characters.
Check out Aron Joice's blog here
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