Review of “Refugees” by R.A. Denny

34853614I love good world-building in Fantasy, and this book is packed with it.  Many elements of the scenery, races, politics, and religions feel familiar but not directly copied from anything in particular, and it was a nice balance between originality and common elements of the genre.  I enjoyed how each of the main characters showed their different peoples and parts of the world (Mud, Rocks, and Trees), and we got deeper into each through their POVs.

The main characters are kids, but they are quickly forced to mature beyond their years. There’s a great sense of urgency throughout the book, a bit of mystery as the kids try to figure everything out, and you grow to care about each of them enough to keep you reading to find out what happens next.  The minor characters are also pretty well fleshed out, and I liked that the families of each were explained – a lot of child heroes seem to spring forth from no significant background.

Like I said, there is a LOT of world-building description in this lengthy read.  At times there’s maybe a little too much that gets in the way of the plot moving forward, but there are good bits of action as well.  Very early on this action gets pretty violent, so I’d be careful about suggesting this to readers that might be a little too young/sensitive for that kind of thing.

My biggest aggravation was that the story just stopped at the end. There was no sense that this was a story complete unto itself that resolved anything.  The book just stopped.  I suspect this is one of those series where the author chopped the series into divided books, so the first book “ended” here.   I guess you could look at this first book as “okay, this is how the adventure starts” and then expect it to pick right up in book 2, but it always bugs me when a book isn’t in at least some way a complete story.

That said, this is a very enjoyable read.  The writing is sharp, the characters are likeable, and it’s a good world to dive into.

4 Stars

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About Sunshine Somerville

Science Fantasy author.
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