Hard to track
In 11th Century Europe a war between two factions, possibly a third and fourth, is brought to the door of a watermill keeper who prefers the solace of gardening and the company of chickens to people. Caught in the middle with no one with whom they can trust, the watermill keeper is dragged along for the ride they never wanted.
I had such a hard time keeping track of all the characters you get introduced to within the first chapter. I actually had to start the book again, writing them down as I went, in hopes it would help clear things up for me. It did help a bit, but I had to keep referring back to it, which I've never had to do before. This list I made only included the characters from the two main factions at war, and only the ones interacting with one another, not the ones also mentioned. My list didn't include anyone from the other groups introduced either, one of which had a decent role in this first book but I still don't know why.
Since these parties are at war, there are of course prejudices that each group assumes of the other. The author doesn't state this outright, but is clearly trying to convey this based on the interactions the main character has with the enemy, and that not all of them behave as they would have expected. The author also makes it a point to specify and keep reminding the reader of another group associated by their hair color, though I have yet to figure out what the author was trying to convey in the story other than that you can tell they are of that group because of their hair color. The author does state in the "author's notes" that mistreatment of individuals with this hair color is well known in our history, but she doesn't provide any references for her statement and there was no mistreatment of the individuals of that particular group in the book either, and therefore this information was irrelevant to the actual story and seemingly added in her notes because it's a buzz word.
The last thing that I struggled with was some interactions between the characters, some of the dialogue, the story not making sense sometimes, one implausibility in particular, redundancies, incorrect usage of words and some misspellings. I'll just provide a couple examples:
-Kindle (Location 503): "He's a homeless beggar straight from the streets!" - Homeless beggar already implies he's from the streets therefore you don't need to say it again.
-An individual is shot and hanging upside down for at least half a day, but doesn't have any medical issues despite the blood rushing to their brain, and is able to carry on conversations with ease, other than the occasional grunt of pain from someone striking them.
The book also ended abruptly. It would have been nice as the ending to a chapter but not a book. Just because you can split a book, doesn't mean you should.
Due to these issues I wasn't able to feel for the characters and it unfortunately doesn't make me want to read the next book. There were parts that did shine through and showed that this book has the potential to be a 4-star book if the author would be willing to have it edited more thoroughly.
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