You know those hyped authors you hear about but haven’t read? That was me and Victoria Aveyard. Well, actually me and a few more authors like Marissa Meyer, but no longer! I finished Realm Breaker and wow that book is a doozy! Longer than I thought, but a solid series starter.
A strange darkness grows in Allward.
Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.
She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:
A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.
Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
You know that scene in Thor where Valkyrie tells Thor that basically the world is tired of being victims in their family drama? That’s definitely the vibe I got from Realm Breaker. Sure there are these higher conflicts of power struggles, but so many things boil down to succession and family ambition. But doesn’t it always? This multiple perspective chunky fantasy was hard for me to get into at the beginning – mostly because there’s a lot of history we don’t know about plus there are like four or five different POVs – but once I did I warmed up to the story.
That being said, Realm Breaker, while an incredibly solid series starter, can feel extremely slow at times. I think that’s just one of the risks you take when you have multiple POV. At the beginning, you aren’t sure who your favorite is and who the people are. And then you run the risk of readers having a favorite and disliking having to read the other POVs to get to their favorite. And gosh do I love a good assassin. By the end, I think it came together for me, but it was kind of an uphill climb. In terms of plot structure, I also felt a bit like I was only reading half a story.
Which I get, because this seems to be a duology, but it very much felt like one book divided into two, not like a story and then a sequel. Does that make any sense? That being said, despite my objections, I did enjoy Realm Breaker. When it finally begins to pick up steam, Realm Breaker examines whether we let fate pass us by. And you begin to see behind the character’s function in the story to who they are. To the grumpy heroes, the cranky assassins, the naive heroines, and the cynical mysteries. There’s a sense of expansiveness which at the beginning is intimidating, but by the end I can see a distinct path into the sunset – even if I’m not sure where it’s going.
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Overall, if you are looking for a chunky fantasy with multiple POVs, a group crew dynamic, and a story which will only bloom into somewhat epic action (albeit towards the end), then pick up Realm Breaker. I haven’t read the sequel yet, so I can’t tell you yet if it will turn into a worthwhile investment, I can just tell you that this has potential. There are certainly paths to be found and strings to be pulled – we’ll just see to where. Find Realm Breaker on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.