Thursday, August 23, 2012

Darkshore by Megan Jendrink & Nathan Jendrick

Title: Darkshore
Series: The Icia Epic
Author: Megan Jendrick & Nathan Jendrick
Length: 3331 Kindle units
Rating: 3.5 stars

The Plot

Noelle’s people live in fear of the Icia, strange fog spirits who live in the forest that surrounds their land. Anyone who sets food in the woods during the cold season never returns, and all are forbidden from entering the trees for fear of bringing the Icia’s wrath upon the entire village. One day, fearing that her father has already been killed by the Icia, Noelle runs into the forest in a rage. The Icia capture her and force her into a lake, but instead of drowning as she should, she survives. Thus begins the tenuous relationship between Noelle and the Icia, the first person in Darkshore in generations to learn that there are two sides to this conflict between their races. But if people on both sides believe that war is inevitable, how can one thirteen-year-old girl change their minds?

The Good

Darkshore had an interesting environment and mythology. We all like a good tale of peoples who live in a desolate and forbidding landscape in which less hardy folk would not survive. We get a particularly noteworthy viewpoint when Noelle goes to school in a larger town. Though she is at odds with her own people, she still identifies with them, and other people view her as part of the Darkshore community.

The Icia are a unique race of enemies/supernatural folk. They are not elves or faeries in the traditional sense, though that’s probably how I’m tagging this post. They are spirits of nature who seem to be made of water but can switch forms and have supernatural powers of death to humans when they want to. To some degree they are at the mercy of the weather, and they cannot survive without the forest, but they are unable to explain their nature to Noelle, as it is totally alien to humanity.

The Bad

So mostly what I have to say about this book was that it was boring. Sometimes I can’t tell if a book is truly boring or if I just find it boring because of my personal tastes. I feel that Darkshore was empirically uninteresting. From page 1, I failed to have any interest in the characters or their problems.

I think part of this was the setting. The book took place in a super-cold climate where people were freezing to death and getting killed by ice people, and as I pictured this I felt frozen out of the people’s heads as well.

The second factor is that I think most interesting things in novels come from people interacting with each other, and there were large sections where Noelle was acting alone without other people. Even when she was with others, they were mostly ignoring her or trying to kill her, so there wasn’t too much actual communication.

Also, I was disappointed that there were no Night Elves.

The Romance

Noelle was only 13, so she was sadly a little young for romance. Perhaps in future installments.

Will I read more?

There was nothing glaringly awful about Darkshore, other than the authors’ over-fondness for participles, a crime of which I too am guilty enough not to throw stones. But I also really couldn’t get into Darkshore. I don’t really care about the characters, so I don’t have much motivation to find out what happens to them next.

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