When Ben Taylor witnesses a murder during his vacation on another planet, he is thrust into a vicious game of hide-and-seek among rebels and criminals. Now, Ben must decide whether to involve himself in another world’s troubles and change his life forever.
Hello there! I have been very busy, but as my friend Brennan D.K. Corrigan is guest posting on linguistics in fiction next week (hooray for fifth Saturdays!), I thought I might review his debut novel this week. Winter’s Corruption is an independently published YA sci-fi/fantasy tale which you can read more about here: http://brennandkcorrigan.tumblr.com/. Okay. On to the review!
(Full disclaimer: I served as a beta reader for this novel before it was published. I shall try to review as objectively as possible.)
The Story: Sixteen-year-old Ben Taylor, from the only American family that knows about the interplanetary Daalronnan Alliance, witnesses a murder, picks up a blue device, and bam! runs off through the wilderness and straight into the freedom-fighting organization Sildial on the planet Andaros. Sildial is trying to stave off the flood of organized crime from other planets that has overwhelmed their country. When Ben’s friend Seren decides to stay with Sildial rather than return to her unwelcoming home planet, Ben decides to stay and help Andaros, too.
I really enjoyed this story. Ben’s adventures, first in the wilderness and then with Sildial, kept me engaged beginning to end. The plotting was somewhat lacking in the later part of the book (I felt that the real climax came too early, so that the events at the climax mark lacked oomph), but overall, it was a really good story.
The Characters: I really enjoyed many of the characters. Ben, Seren, Celer, Vuri, Javrel . . . okay, pretty much all the characters. 😉 They’re well-rounded, interesting, and fun to read about. My favorite was probably Vuri; I loved her depth and the way her backstory played into her character arc. Plus she’s kick-butt, which is cool.
I would also like to point out here how compelling one of the antagonists was. Kalar, leader of Sildial, has realistic motivations that cause real trouble for Ben and friends later on. I enjoyed reading about him.
The Writing: There are some spots of beautiful prose in this book. More numerous, unfortunately, are point-of-view issues, telling words, and some errors in spelling and punctuation. It is unfortunate that these are so numerous, as the story is so enjoyable.
The worldbuilding, however, is fantastic. Brennan put Andaros together with minute attention to detail: culture, history, and especially language. The frequently inserted bits of spoken Voleric really bring the reader into the fact that this is an alien world. I also enjoyed the unorthodox use of magic in a science-fiction world, with the political strife it causes as well. I particularly liked the concept of Messengers, intelligent magical beings created from cloth who can fly among the stars at great speeds. I thought the world was really original and well-crafted. I can’t wait to see where the second book goes!
Overall: Winter’s Corruption had an enjoyable story, great characters, and a beautifully crafted storyworld, with the regrettable detractions of some writing and plotting errors. Overall, it’s definitely worth a read!
Tell me what you think! Have you read Winter’s Corruption? Do you think you’ll give it a try? Are you excited for next week’s guest post? Share in the comments!