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Wednesday 17 June 2015

✍ Hope: The Knights of Av'lor [1] - Sam Rook

Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Number of pages: 329
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★  I really liked it 

About the author
Review: Gate [2] | Gate Teaser | The Series |
"The winged knights—magically altered humans—are the only ones defending the portal from Av'lor to Earth. With defeat imminent, they find an unlikely source of hope in software engineer, Kathryn.

Kathryn doubts her life could get any worse after the death of her mother and daughter. She realizes her mistake after she arrives on Av'lor with only part of her house and hungry creatures looking for their next meal. Once the knights bring her under their protection, she discovers their angry commander is far from welcoming.

Sir Lanclor, Commander of the Knighthood, lives with the curse of betrayal. While the treachery occurred lifetimes before, few see past his guarded shell to the grim man beneath. Barely holding the Knighthood together, his grip tightens when Kathryn joins their ranks. Her stubbornness and surprising strength not only energizes the knights, but also makes Sir Lanclor question his self-imposed isolation.

With the approach of an invading army, Kathryn and Sir Lanclor must find a way to end centuries of war and save two worlds. "

"Hope" is the first book in the Knights of Av'lor trilogy by author Sam Rook. Mythical monsters and winged human protectors clash in this epic fantasy set in a parallel world to earth where life is very medieval. Av'lor has honour, valour and magic at its core.

Sam Rook paints her worlds with just enough detail to let the reader's imagination build up the full picture. You will not find long detailed descriptive passages in this work.

The writing style is mostly simple, flowing and clear. The names used are consistent with fantasy writing but they are not over complicated and I did manage to get used to them fairly quickly. I also liked the language used for the incantations.

The author also builds mystery and suspense very effectively, keeping the reader hooked and wanting more. Events are mainly revealed through the eyes of the main protagonists using third person narration. It is also clear that much will unfold beyond this novel as a complex weave of unresolved sub-plots is introduced within it, in snippets via secondary players. Furthermore, various occurrences are not fully explained here - we know what happened but we have no idea about who was responsible or their motivations.

There is a wide cast of characters, some (Lanclor, Kathryn, Hal, Mikael) are explored more than others and many questions are raised that will hopefully be expanded upon later in the series.

The story moves at a quick pace, with lots of action and epic battles, and I did have to read some sections twice to take everything in. Some romance is present with a couple of steamy sections - definitely for an adult audience. I found some passages towards the end of the book very emotional and moving.

This was overall a very good read and I could not wait to move straight to its sequel, "Gate". I would have loved to have seen a map of Av'lor.

[ARC received from Author]

About the Author

Sam Rook lives in Vermont with her husband and two children. Her passion for fantasy novels began in high school with her desire to write following shortly thereafter. Software engineer by day, fantasy author by night, she strives to give her readers a chance to enjoy worlds that transport them away from the stress of everyday life.

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