Aegis Rising is the first book in The Aegis League series by S.S. Segran. It starts to tell the story of five teenagers who crash land in Dema-Ki, the hidden valley where there are a group of natives. Unbeknownst to the teenagers, their arrival fulfills a prophecy that was foretold many years beforehand. The natives aid them in finding inner supernatural powers and, together, they try to help save their area from the poison that a corporation is spewing into a local river.
I was really intrigued by this book at first. The prologue was fascinating to me and really drew me in. I really enjoyed the story of Mokun and the perils he, and his comrades, endured in the natural disaster. However, it was to my disappointed that the story was not continued in the rest of the book. The plot was definitely cliché and essentially the stereotypical "main characters save the place from the evil corporation" story, with the added "we've found out we have super powers and it has only taken us a few weeks to harness them" bit. I think these reasons are why I didn't particularly enjoy the overall story very much. I've read and watched a lot of books or programs/ movies with very similar things. I don't mind having cliché plots, sometimes, but the author does nothing to make it at all unique.
In the book, there are just far too many characters. We have five of the crash survivors (and the father of one of them), their two guides, five elders, and it just keeps on going... At the end of the book, I counted the list and there are thirty-eight human characters, plus Samuel Tyler who was not included on it and there are also several animal characters as well. There are just far too many. Having so many of them just over-complicates matters. I think that the most annoying thing about having so many is that I don't really care much for any of them. There's no-one in the main book which stands out to me and there is no-one that I would consider to be even slightly unique. Every single character in the main story is generic. The author has essentially two types of characters; the "good" characters and the "bad/ evil" characters. Essentially, the author has made all the "good" characters to be kind, generous, modest and with interests that the author feels we might empathise with. All of the "bad/ evil" characters are just your stereotypical bad people, those who try and ruin what the "good" characters are doing and often try to harm them. These "bad/ evil" characters are also jealous and generally hateful people; it feels like the entire world is against them, when really they're just over-exaggerating. With the five crash survivors, there is no unique thought or trait amongst them. It's pretty much just the one character, but copied a few times over. Of course they look different, but there personalities are what bother me. The author uses the fact that they've known each other so long to be a reasonable explanation as to why they're all the same. However, I just think it's lack of interest (on their part) to have such similar characters. Even the villagers all seem to be the same. I just found no interesting characters in the main story. The only character I enjoyed was Mokun, though unfortunately we didn't get to read more about that.
One of the bigger problems I had with this book is how the author tries to simplify things when doing so makes it just look somewhat silly. For example, the fact that so many villagers and omni-linguistic because of their natural powers. It's more than silly; it just makes it completely unbelievable that these people are able to completely know a language before you even know the words. I would be able to accept this ability if they only learned the language once they learned the words. However, the fact that every single person with this ability knew English automatically was absurd. Another thing that bothers me is the way everything comes so easily for the five. I see that the majority of the book tries to be fairly happy and thus the author chooses not to have much go wrong for the five in their recovery (from the crash) or their training. However, it just makes it seem so one-sided and the book is set up for their success, which makes it anti-climactic because we already know how it's going to turn out. The training coming so easily is unfortunate because, though one might argue that it's their natural powers, they don't have to work very hard to master their powers. Other ways that the author makes it easier and a little too convenient for the plot: going back to the omni-linguistic people, their living circumstances aren't much different then they would experience at home (hot water piped to their quarters, cooking areas similar, etc) and the five being so welcome in the village (only the "bad" characters reject them, but otherwise no-one really has a problem with them being there). I reckon that the supernatural portions of the book were unnecessary. Ultimately, the five and other villagers would have been fine without them, even accomplishing their goal of saving themselves from the corporation. I didn't find any of the powers to be interesting as they're generic for this type of plot. Plus, they add to the convenience of plot that they always have some sort of power that saves their lives at each point. An example is when their drinks are poisoned and Kody is able to smell it to save them.
Overall, the book has an unoriginal plot with cliché scenes and lackluster characters. I will say this though: I think that the author has an interesting writing style and a good way with words. It's quite a pity that they couldn't write any original characters or develop a unique plot to go with it. I'm pretty disappointed because when I first started reading it, I really liked the prologue and thought it was brilliant. It's a pity that it went all downhill from there. My first idea for rating is two stars, but I think that the author's writing brings it back up to three.
I "bought" a copy of this from Amazon.com.au when it was free. These are just my honest thoughts.