Mark of Fire (The Endarian Prophecy, #1)
Lorness Carol, coming of age in the kingdom of her warlord father, Lord Rafel, aspires to wield magic. But she’s also unknowingly become the obsession of Kragan, an avenging wielder as old as evil itself. He’s waited centuries to find and kill the female prophesied as the only human empowered to destroy him. However, dispatching the king’s assassin, Blade, to Rafel’s Keep, ends in treason. For Blade arrives not with a weapon but rather a warning for the woman he’s known and loved since he was a child. With a price on his head, Blade flees—as Carol and her family are urged away on their own desperate route of escape.
Now, traversing the lawless western borderlands, Carol struggles to understand the uncanny magic she possesses and must learn to master. Though separated, Carol and Blade are still united—not only by the darkness pursuing them both but by a quest toward destiny, revenge, and the revelations of an ancient prophecy that signal the ultimate war between good and evil.
Author: Richard Phillips
I downloaded this title as my Kindle First October Book. I enjoyed it, but I knew I was going to get myself into trouble reading the first of a series that isn't fully published yet!
My overall impression is that this book has a classic but compelling fantasy plot, but I wish everything had been more fully developed. There wasn't much world-building in the beginning and the characters are not very complex, but I can feel their potential. I hope that the second and third books in the series add to the world's depth more effectively and make the characters nice and round. However, the book's simplicity does make it a quick read.
I also felt like the "action" scenes were well-written and engaging, but the slower scenes that were meant to develop the plot were not. There was so much blase description of unimportant activity. For example, the main character, Carol, would wake up, eat something for breakfast, go wash up in the stream, chat with an acquaintance, take a nap, then have a four-sentence conversation with her mentor, say she'd be right back after she packed her wagon, go pack the wagon, return for six more sentences with her mentor, and then go to bed. I really didn't need any of that—could they not just have had the conversation? Do I care that she took a nap or had to pack her wagon? No, I do not.
When men try to write feminist lead characters, there's often something just slightly off about it, and this is no exception. Nothing seems wrong, per se, but maybe it's just because the characters are still so flat. I just felt like Carol's thoughts and emotions were stated to plainly and left for face-value. Sometimes Phillips felt the need to write her internal monologue in a way that reiterated important things that happened, almost as though he was afraid you hadn't caught them the first time. But...yeah...we got it, thanks.
All in all, I read this book quickly and did enjoy it. I'm intrigued by the story and certainly want to know what happens next, so I'll keep my eyes out for the next one. I just need to remember that it's going to be a quick and not-too-deep type of read.