"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R Martin

19 March 2012

Review: Pool of Souls - Cheryl Landmark

I received this fantasy book as an ARC and was really looking forward to it. I did enjoy it and I hope my review doesn't detract from that. It was a good, fun read and I really do encourage people to read it especially lovers of YA fantasy or newcomers to the genre. To an individual like myself who loves such epic fantasy like The Lord of the Rings and George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, it was a little light but completely enjoyable and I couldn't stop reading. Cheryl Landmark has done a great job :)

Here's my review of A Pool of Souls:

3.5/5 stars - A fun read, I enjoyed it. 

This was a fast paced fantasy story, jam packed with exciting events. From the first chapter I was thrown straight into the story and personally I do enjoy a good little build up before the main part of the story begins. But I can barely complain because all of the story was laid out for you and you were aware of what had happened and what was going on. You really couldn’t get bored with this story, there was constantly something going on keeping you excited and on your toes. Sometimes I did feel as if things were just happening too quickly but I do believe that the book was laid out as a fast moving story and maybe stopping and starting again would detract from the story itself.

We are introduced to the main protagonist as soon as the story begins. Cazlina a feisty young woman is travelling with her mare, Miris to reunite with her brother Gareth and possibly join General Viadon’s army to defend the realm against the monstrous armies of Queen Saranor. To be honest, I had mixed feelings about her. I couldn’t understand why she seemed to dislike Jorin so much. Yes, he tried to steal her horse and because of the strong bond between them it would have been a heart breaking separation but she was too harsh to him at times and this slightly annoyed/confused me. I’m not quite sure if I was suppose to read it as one of those love/hate relationships or if it was more evidence of her independence. I just felt like she should lighten up a little at times and realise that there was a lot more important things going on other than her dislike of Jorin and what he had tried to accomplish (and failed at). But other than that I did actually like Cazlina. She is a brave individual who won’t take no for an answer and wants to do all that she can to help free the realm from the evil grip of the demented Queen Saranor. She was constantly proclaiming that she was a fiercely independent young woman who didn’t need to be molly-coddled by men such as her brother and Jorin and in the end shows how much of a strong individual she is.

I especially loved the relationship between her and Miris, her faithful mare. Her special ability means that they have such a strong bond and I really thought Maris depicted another side of Cazlina’s personality, as if she was another part of her. She teased her and reproached her when she was acting out of line and acted as if she was Cazlina’s conscious telling her what was right and wrong. I must admit I was a little sad at one point in the book when they are separated and it really emphasised the depth of their special relationship. I also have a soft spot for the little Niko and his faithful companion Tor, who are invaluable to Cazlina at one point in the story. He is depicted as a brave little boy who just wants someone to take notice of him. Such a cutie. Jorin was also a good character. He is a multi layered character; he is a fun and witty individual but is also serious when needs to be. I thought his constant amusement with Cazlina was quite funny and I really thought he was being sweet at times and that is why she slightly annoyed me. I really liked him and wanted her just to see him for the person he really was.

There are strong, protective men in the book but the two main individuals are women; Queen Saranor and Cazlina. We don’t really meet Queen Saranor until the climax of the story but her presence is always felt within the story. Her tyrannical desire for dominion is constantly present within the book and is obviously the main thing that spurs all of the good guys on towards destroying her. Cazlina is not your usual damsel in distress and constantly turns her back on help from the protective men in her life. Both women, although completely different, are strong feminine individuals with their own desires.

I think my favourite part of the whole book was the storyline itself. It was faced paced and exciting and draws you in before you know it. There was always something happening and I wasn’t bored at all but completely caught up in everything that was happening. It also kept you wondering what was going to happen next and on a few occasions I thought something was going to occur and then something completely different happened, surprising me completely.

This was an enjoyable short fantasy story where the story began and finished in one book. I am used to reading fantasy series and I can’t really decide if I liked the fact that it happened all in one book or if it was too rushed. I would recommend this book to new readers of fantasy or YA readers. For a lover of epic fantasy like myself this book was too light and too short with not enough depth in the story or characters. The characters and story is great but it just doesn’t have the depth that some fantasy stories do. But that is what I personally prefer but others will surely enjoy it a lot more. Not that I didn’t enjoy it. I did, and was up until 2am wanting to finish it and see where the story took me. And I wasn’t disappointed. The story was exciting especially the last part where there was a lot of suspense and you were kept on your toes just like the characters, scared of what might be around the next corner. It was a good read and completely worth it!


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