Sunday 23 November 2014

Review ~ Equinox by Dirk Strasser.

Title: Equinox (Ascension #2).
Author: Dirk Strasser.
Genre: Fantasy.
Publication Date: November 1, 2013.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon

Can you see the story breathing?

The Keep

The most beautiful city on the great Mountain
The pinnacle of Maelir culture
The home of the Inner Sanctum
The place where secrets hide

The fate of the Mountain hangs in balance at the time of Equinox, and even the Keep can no longer remain untouched. The Maelir are desperate to defend it, the Faemir to demolish it, the windriders to claim it. But unknown to them all, a dark force has already emerged from the chaos to seize power.

As Atreu and Verlinden strive to decipher the power of the Talisman that has defined Atreu’s Ascent, Teyth and Valkyra are locked in a desperate battle that neither of them can win. At a time when darkness and light are in perfect equilibrium, when Maelir and Faemir must find a way to break the deadlock and avoid annihilation, the world’s fate lies in the Book of Ascension.

Equinox is the second book in the Ascension trilogy – a vivid, creative series which has been packed so far with fantastic world building and fascinating stories. I had mixed feelings on the first book, Zenith, with it lacking in strong character development, and I also felt like its pacing was hit and miss. That being said, I thought Equinox was a much stronger novel and it had built on any of Zenith’s weaknesses. It was darker, tense and action-packed, and the growth of our main character Atreu was fulfilling to read. There wasn’t a dull moment in this epic world Dirk Strasser has built up and I was gripped throughout the whole journey and ultimately left eager to read the final book, Eclipse.

Equinox provides complex battles for both Atreu and his brother Teyth and where the action picks up and is completely absorbing throughout this war, hope lies in the Book of Ascension and Equinox takes us on another journey where it is unclear who, if anyone, can be trusted and how it will all eventually turn out. The world building is at such a high standard here that it makes the story so easy to follow. It’s bold and imaginative and the author creates a strong picture in your mind of the location, making the plot easy to buy into and follow. Unlike in Zenith, I thought the plot was consistently intriguing in Equinox and as tension was built, I was racing through it, spellbound by every step and every bit of knowledge and truth uncovered.

Development is where this book really stands out because although Zenith had an interesting, mysterious plot, in Equinox the plot and character development is stepped up a notch. I don’t particularly like any of the characters, and don’t think I ever will, but the changes in them have been delivered brilliantly. Atreu is so different from when we first met him, but realistically different too. I follow a character much better if I can see that they’re learning and being effected by the turn their life is taking and Atreu is an example of this. The author also works a lot on creating believable secondary characters too like Verlinden, who is accompanying Atreu, and I was fascinated by how the relationship between them would be developed. Equinox was an exciting middle instalment in a captivating trilogy and a satisfying read. There’s plenty of action and lots of little sub-plots to keep the interest going and I can’t wait to see what’s left to come.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon

Dirk Strasser has won multiple Australian Publisher Association Awards and a Ditmar for Best Professional Achievement. His mythic fantasy series, The Books of Ascension, has been republished by Macmillan Momentum, this time including Eclipse – The Lost Book of Ascension for the first time in English. His novels and short stories have been translated into a number of languages. He also founded the Aurealis Awards and has co-edited and co-published Aurealis magazine for over twenty years.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

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