Author : Nick Marsden
Genre : Fantasy, Young Adult
Series : The Never-Born, Volume 1
Source : Free copy from the author for an honest review
A failed wizard's apprentice becomes the hope of two worlds. When the powerful Book of Nepharid is stolen, it is up to Gaelan No-Blood and his master, the Magus Ulrich, to bring the sorcerer Stormhand to justice under the guidance of the mysterious Never-Born. But the Never-Born has his own agenda and his manipulations lead the companions to pay a dear cost.
Trapped alone in a strange world devoid of magic but with wonders of its own, Gaelan will face the man even his master feared. Armed with a powerful weapon he doesn't know how to use, Gaelan must master the magic of the Book or witness the destruction of his entire world. An Epic Fantasy and an Unconventional Urban Fantasy
The Never-Born is a fantasy trilogy in the vein of the classics that mixes the elements of epic fantasy as well as a light take on urban fantasy. Expect the unexpected, while reading a story rooted in myth and legend. Experience the familiar wonders of legend in new ways. From the fiery rage of a unicorn to the shocking origin of a god-like being. The Never-Born aims to bring the fun and excitement back to fantasy story-telling.
My Musings :
The one thing I wondered about, on finishing the book was its ratings and reviews on Goodreads. Oh, I know what you are thinking. And no, I didn't mean it in a negative manner. I was surprised that it has very few reviews considering it's a good fantasy book to get lost in.
The book cover is eye catching and goes well with the plot. The way N in Nepharid is written as a sigil adds a little bit of character to the image. The blurb is very plain and tells us without any mystery what to expect in the story. Yet there are a few twists and turns which keep us engrossed in the tale.
The author has built a world based on common fantastical elements in an uncommon manner. The known creatures like unicorns and ogres are shown in a new light. The story begins in the usual high fantasy manner of an orphan being featured as the protagonist. My first reaction was - " Oh, no. Not another orphan centric fantasy story!" And then progresses to add in well developed side characters and more colourful entities. The only regret was that Geminus was not fully explored in this book. I am hoping there will be more of the world revealed in the following books.
Another point in favour of the book was the pace of the story. It didn't take much time to race through the chapters in spite of not being chock-full of action scenes. Though nearly half of the book was about the hero, Gaelan and his (non)journey to becoming a Magus, the description wasn't tedious and it set the scene for the adventure part of the book. The magic system was different and interesting with the use of symbols.
As to the characters, the only one I didn't like much was Gaelan himself with his self doubt and indecision. But he marginally gained respect at the end of the book. Everyone has a part to play in the overall scheme of things. I especially loved Ariel's duty consciousness and the camaraderie between Ulrich and Carbright. There is a mystery around Allison and I hope that the author would clear it up in the next book.
The way the author has bridged a story between a fantasy realm and the real world sets the tone of the book. As an avid reader of fantasy books, I would put this author on my watch list and look forward to the other books in the series. I recommend it to people who read YA fantasy for a fun filled quiet book adventure by the fire.
My one line review : Fantasy meets Real World in an intriguing new fantasy series by Nick Marsden!
My rating : 4/5
My reread factor : 4/5