Source: Bought from Books-A-Million
Book Description from Goodreads:
Indevan-Dal is the second son of the Prince and Princess of Choraed Elgaer, destined to become his elder brother Tanrid's Shield Arm-his military champion. Like all second sons, he is to be privately trained at home by Tanrid, the brother whose lands he will one day protect.
When the King's Voice comes to summon Inda to the Military Academy, he might well feel foreboding, or even fear-war is imminent-yet youthful Inda feels only excitement. But there are things that Tanrid hadn't prepared him for, and Inda will soon learn that the greatest threats to his safety will not come from foreign enemies, but from supposed allies within his own country.
Inda is a fantasy novel. This author's young adult novels are some of my favorite stories because they have an innocence and earnestness about them even when bad things are happening. This book is so different in writing style and tone from those stories that I wouldn't have even guessed it came from the same author if her name wasn't on the cover.
Each character had a nickname, a title, another title, and all of these frequently changed. The titles were often very similar, adding to my difficulty in keep straight who was being talked about. The author also switched viewpoints from character to character from one paragraph to the next, so it was even harder to keep track of what was going on. This also meant that I never really got to know any one of the huge cast of characters.
It also seemed like every time we got to a scene where Inda could have charmed us (like all the characters) with his natural leadership skills, the author jumped over the scene and had two adults talking over what a brilliant, natural leader he was. I wanted to see it, not just hear it.
Another problem I had was that the story was about teen boys beating up pre-teen boys and forcing them to badly beat each other up. Not surprising, due to all the verbal and physical abuse, Inda tended to show little emotion in most of his scenes. Honor is not rewarded. Inda isn't even given an explanation for how the adults treat him (referring to part 2 of this book) when they could have told him. It was not fun reading.
While the world was well-developed and unique, it was also a confusing one due to the writing style and a depressing one due to the content. I didn't even find the characters interesting. Since the action mostly occurred "off scene," there wasn't much suspense most of the time. Basically, I was very disappointed.
There was some explicit bad language. There were no sex scenes, but unmarried sex was encouraged and homosexual relationships were normal there. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book, especially not to those who enjoy Sherwood Smith's previous novels.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt from chapter one.