Review: Vincalis the Agitator by Holly Lisle

Vincalis the Agitator by Holly Lisle is the prequel to The Secret Texts trilogy, consisting of Diplomacy of Wolves, Vengeance of Dragons and Courage of Falcons. It’s been a while since I read the trilogy, but I remember I enjoyed it, and Vincalis the Agitator had been on my TBR list for a while.

Plot:

Two boys from very different backgrounds meet and become friends. Unbeknown to them, their friendship will change the very world they inhabit, which can be felt even 1000 years in the future. Their names? Wraith and Solander.  One is immune to magic, and one has the ambition to become the ruling authority on magic. Together they set forth to do good, but trigger something much bigger than themselves.

Opinion:

This book was an entertaining one; I was never forcing myself to read it, but there was something missing for me. Maybe it felt like that because the writing is a bit aloof, distant. Although we are always in the heads of the characters, good and bad, we aren’t in their hearts. We understand their feelings, but don’t feel their feelings. Still, it didn’t keep me from reading it.

Wraith and Solander are both compelling characters, and I like how Holly never forgets how they met and why Solander decides to let Wraith into his life. He has a use for him, and even when they forge their strong bond, that is always in the background. Solander is always studying Wraith, and Wraith lets him. Wraith has lofty dreams of freeing the Warreners, who are being kept as literal fuel for the magic of the Dragons. The ruling class of the Empire, to which Solander and egotistical Luercas both belong. Even when they were growing apart, I could still imagine them coming through for each other. And they did, in more ways than one.

Jess was….well…at first I disliked her infatuation with Wraith a lot. I mean, I never came around to her LOVE for him, but she did try, at least when she was older, to be a good friend to him. And I like that she had a period of growth, that she came to see his dream of saving the Warreners as not just a pipe dream, but a necessity. Velyn on the other hand, man. I liked her at first, but as soon as she showed more and more of her real self, I couldn’t help but want her to disappear of the stage. Not dying or something like that, because I did feel some empathy for her plight – suffering abuse in a marriage you can’t escape – but just going into hiding for all eternity or something. She got on my nerves the way she just kept blaming Wraith for all the bad things in her life when it’s literally all her own damn fault.

The Hars Empire was a good reflection of what would happen when society decides that comfort and security are more important than the lives of “undesirables”. To use not just innocent people’s bodies, but also their souls, to power magic to keep your subjects’ lives comfortable? It evoked the painful history of our world, in which certain peoples were seen as lesser, as subhuman, as not worthy of life itself. Hell, there are still people who believe that about others who don’t look, sound or think like them.

This prequel can be read as a standalone; you need no previous knowledge of The Secret Texts trilogy. But because I missed a certain spark, I don’t rate this book as highly as I might’ve otherwise. There were times where I almost didn’t dare read on, because I didn’t think there was going to be a good ending, but it kept calling me back. So it’s not a bad book. Just not as good as I hoped it would be. Either way, it was still an entertaining read.

Rating:

7.8/10 

Advertisements

Review: Uncharted – Thief’s End

I like the Uncharted games. I don’t necessarily love them as much as I love, for instance, The Witcher III or God of War, but I will happily devote some hours of my time playing as Nathan Drake. So it was only natural that I bought the final instalment (featuring Nate at least).

Continue reading

Review: Aquaman

I’ll be honest, I’m not really interested in DC content. Probably because I grew up with Marvel related things a lot more. I didn’t read the comics, but I did love the Animated X-men series and knew about more of the characters of the Marvel universe than I did about the DC universe. Sure I knew who Superman and Batman were, and I remember watching Smallville for a few episodes before I missed another few and didn’t know what the hell was going on when I got back to it. But the DC universe just never really had any pull on me. But the trailer for Aquaman caught my interest, so I decided, why not?

Continue reading

Review: Detroit: Become Human

Someone at my previous job who also played video games recommended Detroit: Become Human to me, and I put it on my list for further research. (I like to do research before I actually buy a game. Games are expensive. You don’t want to buy something that turns out not to be your kind of game.) The reviews for this game were good, and my favourite online retailer happened to have it as a Black Friday sale, so I decided to give it a chance. (Don’t get me started on how Black Friday really doesn’t need to be a thing here). I’m glad I made that particular decision.

Continue reading

Review: Horizon Zero Dawn

Though I’d heard the title Horizon Zero Dawn come up a few times here and there on the internet after the game was released, I hadn’t really thought about buying and playing it after I finished God of War and saw some pictures on the internet of Kratos, Atreus and Aloy, and also of Geralt of Rivia and Aloy. I was intrigued, read some reviews and purchased the game.

Continue reading

Review: Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch

Lies Sleeping is the seventh instalment of the PC Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch.

Plot:

The Faceless Man has been murdering, sacrificing, committing fraud, and done even more heinous things, but the police and the Folly know his identity now and they’ve got him on the run. Peter Grant, now Detective Constable, is one of the key figures in the operation to bring him down once and for all. But a cornered animal is at its most dangerous, and cornered magicians even more so. The Faceless Man isn’t going down without a fight and a show, and is in the midst of completing one final mission. If he were to succeed, London will be forever changed. It’s up to Peter, and his colleagues, to stop him before he does. If they can.

Continue reading