Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Review: Ill-Fated by Evelyn Ink
“The stars have aligned to make my life grim and loathsome,” fourteen year old Leila Edgewick stands on the brink of disaster, balancing the fate of Bainland and her father’s legacy against a vague, ill-fated prophecy. A meaningless number, a luckless red moon, and worst of all– a star that falls south– send Leila on a quest she does not expect to survive.
Simultaneously, an unknown boy wakes up in the sunken hull of a decrepit cargo ship. Captured and mind-locked, the boy– dubbed “Sam” by the ship’s crew– must escape the infamous Bonesplitter and the dark schemes of one Captain Erastacus Oren.
All the while, Leila journeys out of Bainland. Crossing the wall for the first time in her life, she finds a world where magic meets machine. Aeroskiffs, daguerreotypes, and automatons merge with the ‘earthdolven’ magic of the South, leaving her to question what is sorcery and what is science?
When Leila and Sam’s paths cross, fate ties them together and sends them deep into the Ramble in search of the Wasteland Witches and a healer named Atara Valatrix. Plagued by Sam’s erratic memory and Leila’s dubious rationale, they must outwit the southland drudge-hunters, and take on the dangers of the Ramble; sandwolves, bloodswamps, and the Kartivaus– the strange night creatures from the Shadowland.
The Wasteland Witches, the Kartivaus, a bloody family history, and a deranged Grandfather add up to a wicked mess of clues to detangle. Even worse, as Leila’s quest unravels, Sam’s past is pieced together, and Leila must face up to a family history that could rip their friendship apart.
I thought that Ill-Fated was an absolutely brilliant novel, and I would highly recommend it to just about anyone. Although it may be a little slow at the beginning, I found that the story picks up very quickly, and I became immensely immersed in the reading.
Both Leila and Sam are wonderful characters. Leila is strong, smart and funny, and makes for an excellent heroine. Sam, even with his memory lapses, proves to be a charming and clever character that you cannot help but love. Put the two of them together, and there is an unstoppable protagonist team.
Ill-Fated transports you into a world of magic and monsters, machinery and ships, prophecies and monarchy, that you will not be able to get enough of. Beautifully written, the novel captures your attention and refuses to let it go as you join the characters on their wild quest.
I especially liked the description that revolved around Sam's memory block. I thought that the mystery and intrigue that arose from his scrambled mind offered a great way to introduce the character, and add greatly to the plot. The "sappings" included some of my favorite quotes throughout the novel. The more that Sam was introduced throughout the story, the more that I liked him as a character.
If I have to complain about anything, the resolution of the story did happen a bit quickly. I think that I had grew so attached to the novel, that the ending seemed to come with little warning. Although it still worked over all, I think more could have been added. Needless to say, I would definitely not be opposed to reading more about Sam and Leila in the future!
If you are looking for a great fantasy read with action, witty dialogue, and a plot and characters that will keep you begging for more, Ill-Fated is a stunning find.