Penguin, May 2011
Book Source: I received an advanced reader's copy from LibraryThing.com. The expected release date is May 17, 2011.
Welcome to Anara, a world mysteriously crumbling to devastation, where nothing is what it seems: Ancient relics emit technologically advanced powers, members of the old Order are hunted by the governing Watch yet revered by the people, and the great energy that connects all seems to also be destroying all. The only hope for the world lies in Galen, a man of the old Order and a Keeper of relics, and his sixteen-year-old apprentice, Raffi. They know of a secret relic with great power that has been hidden for centuries. As they search for it, they will be tested beyond their limits. For there are monsters, some human, some not, that also want the relic's power and will stop at nothing to get it.
-- Summary from GoodReads.com
Judging by the cover...: The cover invokes feelings of Incarceron and Sapphique, leaving me with the feeling that whoever designed this cover is trying to capitalize on their success. So much more could have been done to set it apart from its predecessors.
- The Relics - No one knows how they got there or what they're for, but boy do they pack a punch!
- Spy Girl - It's not often that a girl in fantasy is the duplicitous spy, at least not in my experience. I like to see women get in on the double crossing fun.
- The Dark City - It has a tragic past that wounded and maimed it, but its people find some way to survive.
I keep telling myself that in the relationship between Catherine Fisher and me, I'm the one with the problem. So I continue to hope that her books and I will all of a sudden be compatible, two peas in a pod, and every time I get my hopes dashed to the ground. I'm beginning to realize that we just aren't meant to be. Her style, especially her endings, leave me saying, "WTF mate?"
The Dark City was too reminiscent of Incarceron, the same type of scenes, same language, same overall feeling. For some readers, this is a good thing, but a turn off for me, and left the plot too predictable.
Readers who are new to fantasy and need a starting point will find it here. But this is just that, the shallow pool in which all new swimmers must start.
Recommendation: One book in the series (four total) will be released each month, a scheme that just seems to be a ploy to get innocent families to fork out $40 and line the pockets of the author and publisher. Save your money and wait for your library to carry it, if you really want to read it.
Similar Authors: John Flanagan (The Ranger's Apprentice series), Angie Sage (Septimus Heap series), Elizabeth Haydon (The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme series).