Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ring of Destiny by Eric Quinn Knowles

Title: Ring of Destiny
Series: Reynald
Author: Eric Quinn Knowles
Length: 2592 Kindle units
Rating: 4 stars

The Plot

After an accident ruins his dream of a wrestling career, Jared moves to the town of Reynald to make a new start. Unfortunately, he has a harder time fitting in than he did at his old school, at least until Sarah comes along. She’s the most beautiful girl that he’s ever seen, and he is strangely drawn to her. But then one night as he is going home from a date, Jared is attacked by an undead former classmate and rescued by cheerleader Charlotte and loner Sheridan. They have some surprising news for him – Vampires are real, and his new girlfriend Sarah is one of them.
The Good

I think that more books need more loner scientist types like Sheridan. (For most of the book I thought he was gay, and I thought that made him even more awesome – a gay character with traits other than being gay! But now that I look back, I think that was just a supposition his classmates had about him, which makes me kind of sad.) Nonetheless, Sheridan was an interesting flawed-and-sympathetic character who said one of the best things that I’ve read in a fantasy novel.

When Charlotte and Sheridan are describing the supernatural world to Jared, Charlotte remarks, “There’s more to it than science.” And Sheridan says, “There is only science.” And I (probably aloud) said, “Exactly.” I find it kind of maddening in books when the magic is described as beyond science, because that doesn’t make any sense. Science is not a kind of information; it is a method of understanding reality using empirical evidence. The reason that science is perceived as antithetical to the supernatural is that there is no evidence supporting the existence of ghosts, fairies, werewolves, etc. But if presented with hard evidence that there were such a thing as vampires, no scientist worth his or her salt would just say, “Oops, science is wrong.” He or she would take out the measuring device of his or her choice and try to find out everything there was to know about the blood-sucking fiends. Sheridan and Ring of Destiny understand this, and it makes me happy.

Okay, done now. Getting off high horse.

The Bad

I don’t feel like I really have a lot to say that was bad about Ring of Destiny. I mean, some of the plot was a little confusing, and I had a hard time following all the different factions. There seemed to be at least four or five small groups involved, and some of them did very little. I think there was supposed to be a moment at the end where I said, “Ah, of course. It is all clear now.” That didn’t happen, but that’s mostly okay.

Most of the reason I’m giving the book only four stars is that I felt mostly “Meh” about it. I read the first third of the novel without feeling at all invested with any of the characters. I think this was primarily because a lot of it was from Jared’s point of view, and he was having a hard time meaningfully interacting with the other characters in the book, and social interaction is what makes books interesting. When we got further in and saw more of the relationships – between Jared and his dad, between Sheridan and Charlotte – the book got a lot more interesting.

The Romance

So, really, the only romance going on was between evil vampire Sarah and once-jock Jared. But this relationship actually had a fair number of interesting nuances. Jared was attracted to Sarah for more than just her beauty, though if I tell you what the real reason is, that would definitely constitute a spoiler. And though Sarah was terrorizing the school in search of the ring of destiny, her goal was to become human again and have a nice normal life like she had with her fiancé before she became a vampire. I mean, it’s still kind of hard to root for these crazy kids working it out, but it is nonetheless an read-worthy relationship.

Will I read more?

I have no strong desire one way or the other about whether I read more in the series. I probably won’t seek it out on my own, but if I were asked to read it, I would probably agree.

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