Banebringer is a book that was on my radar for quite a while, especially with such a cool cover and a few good reviews from trustworthy sources. Here are just some of the ways in which I think the book shined:
- Well-written characters that are flawed, are willing to explore their motives and biases, and who ultimately land on the side of a code of morality.
- A world that is both well outside of what could be humanly possible, and yet strangely comfortable and plausible.
- A multi-layered, multi-faceted plot that has plenty of unpredictable moments, and is full of political and familial involvement.
While the best books will need to hold up in all those areas, I will always be drawn most to books that handle its characters best. This book did that extremely well, most notably in its main characters. I was especially compelled by Ivana. She was written with such a complex backstory that was revealed in small tantalizing glimpses as the story progressed, and by the end, her motives that were shown throughout became not only clear, but filled me with so much respect for her. She has flaws, and she does not let many people get close to her, and that makes her very relatable. I found myself running the gamut of emotions around her arc from frustrated to disappointed to simpathetic.
The world was full of texture, nuance and depth. Just one example was the magic system. It felt somewhat fresh and new, authentic and viable. I especially loved the twist that demonic creatures would be unleashed into the world if certain individuals were killed. This added a layer of consequence to every action, and prevented fight scenes from simply becoming a bloodbath. Speaking of the creatures, there were so many unique and interesting monsters that were a treat to read.
Finally, I loved the tone of this book. This a world with its share of darkness and struggle, but it wasn’t grim. (After a run of several grim books I have recently read, this struck a perfect balance between morality and a broken world.) I loved that there was a little hope interwoven through this book, a willingness to stand up for those who are disadvantaged, and a commitment to what is right.
This is a book that I easily recommend, easily giving it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I am very curious to see where the series goes from here. I would like to thank the author for the copy in exchange for my honest review.