Book Review: Enchanters by K.F. Bradshaw
Enchanters is an epic YA fantasy novel. That... is about the only thing I can tell you for certain about it, since after reading all 534 pages, I'm still not sure exactly who the protagonist was. Nor do I really have a clue about the world of Damea and the rules of its magic, since the 'magic loss' which was basically the entire quest line of the novel was in the end resolved by such a blatant deus ex machina that I found myself turning back a few pages going "Wait, what the hell just happened? Why was the magic there in the first place? HUH???"
As is common in epic fantasy, there is a fairly huge cast of characters. Which is fine and to a degree expected; I liked the fact that they all had 'normal' sort of names, too, it made it easy to keep them straight. The big problem was that most of the time I never had a clue who was on which side. The Empress seemed to flip-flop from being the heroine (the letter at the beginning of the book made me think she was) to being a ruthless bitch who was happy to have people tortured, and back again.
Meredith was the worst; she spent most of the book being murderous and then saved the day in the most randomly annoying plot twist I could imagine. I literally rolled my eyes and said WHAT when that happened. It would have made so much more sense for Meredith to try and steal the magic for her own purposes, considering she'd spent the entirety of the book plotting to do just that.
I THINK the protagonist of the story was supposed to be Cassie, who basically gets dropped into Damea when a spell goes wrong. I also think that Cassie's meant to be from Earth, but this is never spelled out at all, which is a pretty glaring omission and would have been very easy to deal with. On being told she was in the Black Forest, she could so easily have said "Wait, isn't that in Germany?" Or there could have been a "We're not in Kansas anymore" line, or she could even have told Andrea the name of the city she came from. Leaving it up in the air just made it hard to empathize with her. She didn't seem to care too much about the place she came from, so really, why should we care about her? Especially when she spends most of the book acting like a sulky little brat. There were quite a few times I just wanted to smack her and tell her to get over herself.
Enchanters had its enjoyable moments. I liked Diana and Elisa, in particular, and in some ways I wish they'd been the couple at the heart of the story. Diana was too important a character to be introduced so late, though, and there were a lot of things about her story that didn't make much sense either. Why wait until after the land has been ruined by twenty years of succession war to point out that actually there IS a survivor of the royal house?
I'm giving this three stars, mainly because of the potential that this has to actually be a good story but I can't honestly say that I enjoyed the read all that much. I wanted to like this book, I really did, especially with the f/f romance between Andrea and Cassie at the heart of it. In fact, the slow-build to love between the pair was the best part of the story, and certainly the most believable. The rest of it is a muddle that needs RUTHLESSLY editing. There's a good story in here somewhere, but with that much stilted dialogue and a massively deus ex machina ending, there's no way I'll be back for Book 2 to try and figure out what the hell is going on.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through ReadingAlley.