A few months back, I had the honor of getting a free ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review. Admittedly, it's taken me a while (since May) to read, because I've been somewhat busy due to real life. However, the entire book took me about 6 hours of very enjoyable actual reading. My first thoughts after completing it is that I think many kids and young adults will enjoy this. Though, admittedly it has some aspects which might be a little worrying for them. (Though telling you what they are might be a little spoilerish.)
To explain a little bit about the book: basically, Ion is taken away from his family at a young age and forced to do the bidding of a master, his owner, Master Dread. He is then discovered as a caller, that he has (in simple terms) powers and is a new reincarnation of a god. He is then put into training to harness his powers in the ideal that he will later fight in the war.
It was a pretty good book and well written, though I do have some notes (well... opinions) on some of the matters. My first thought is that arguments between Spike and Ion were a little bit forced; when they originally met, I didn't really think that they needed to be enemies. The same with Spike's sister, Solara. I didn't think that those siblings needed to be against Ion and Oceanus. Yet, after finishing it, I can sort of see why they were. Though, I guess another simple explanation is that there's a lot of old history that isn't explained and their automatic hatred for each other might be more than just an instant dislike; that there's things in their past lives that have a bearing on how their new selves might act.
My favourite character is Theo, right from the moment he's introduced. I like him from the top of his head to the tips of his foot fingers. He's sassy and funny. Though, my complaint is that he's not in enough of the novel, as is the other problem with his companion, Lillian. Actually, that's another point I'd like to touch on. A lot of people in the book have odd names, like Othum, Vanya, Solara, etc. Yet other characters then come along with almost ordinary names like Lillian and Theodore. It seems kind of odd, even if they did mostly grow up in normal society, Ion and Oceanus had several years in normal society, but they still have wacky names. Another favourite character is Othum. I like the whimsy surrounding him and that he's sort of a quirky character.
I didn't get the feeling that it was really a school. Classes seem awkwardly short and I didn't get the idea that the students were learning much, other than a few lessons that we were invited to oversee as a reader. I also got the feeling that Ion wasn't particularly interested in helping his father. Oceanus asks Ion whether he'd like to join her for a "quick study session" in the Borean Study. Yet he declines. It would have been smart on his part to take up her offer as he would have learnt more. His intention was to graduate, yet he doesn't seem particularly interested in such a thing.
Spoilors coming up.
On that similar note, I know it's a school and not some sort of prison, but it was a little bit weird for students to be able to walk around at night with no-one caring. Ion is able to go and see his "mother" every single night without anyone noticing, save for Oceanus and Lillian. It was also mighty easy for Ion to steal the book, the staff and then the key. You would think that if they were such important things, that they would be kept under better security. The same with the emerald necklace in the end. Othum suggests that Ion should keep it until he has decided on what to do with the traitor. However, surely it would be much more intelligent to keep it under lock and key... Or with an adult, in the very least.
I liked the various parts of history in the novel. It was interesting to read about the gods and portions about the war, though of course there's still a lot of it that we haven't been introduced to. I'm hoping there's more of that introduced in the other novels. Another thing I was very interested in are the other students at the school and what their histories are. I'd love to know more about all the dwarves and elves. I'd like to know more about Theo and Lillian. I'd love to know more about the relics that were introduced and what each of the other students' relics meant to them and what sort of spells/ powers they've given their objects.
I do intend to read the next book in the series. the first book was quite enjoyable. I think it is well deserving of 5 stars.