Review: The Beginning
“The Beginning” from the newly started “Breath of war” series is a unique combination of sci-fi, horror and fantasy. Where world cataclysmic events is not by itself original, the setting in which this story is created, means that the theme becomes new and exciting. The darkness of the plot resonates throughout the story, that continues to tug at the heartstrings and create that uncomfortable dread, we love in good horror stories. At the same time it manages to blend the sci-fi and fantasy elements together seamlessly, which makes it an engaging read. It is definitely not romanticised, which becomes part of its appeal. The short introductions and flashbacks that occur in the beginning of each chapter, keeps the suspense alive and these bits continue to grow on you throughout the story.
Personally, I couldn’t help but being drawn into the story by the engaging characters and the depiction of their struggles. The protagonist is neither flawless, innocent or all powerful, which makes him truly relatable. The descriptions are beautiful and the emotions enticing – even the darker ones. The development of his character is harsh and in many ways joyless, but this ads a level of depth to the characters, that makes it so enjoyable to get to know him. Other characters, like Cora, are also well fleshed out and her emotions, for me, are easy to empathize with.
The parts of the book, that centered around the orcs, continued to be my absolute favorite parts throughout. Though, they are presented as the antagonists for the majority of the book, they are depicted as complex individuals with their own agendas and motivations. On some level I even found myself understanding certain motivations, without necessarily sympathizing with them. You get a true respect for the enemy, even as you are rooting for the humans, who face an adversary that seems invincible.
As in any good fantasy or sci-fi story you expect good worldbuilding. The author has managed to create a familiar and truly devastating world, that is beautifully described. As you are gradually introduced to the consequences of the orcs arrival, you can easily visualize the details and repercussions.
If you enjoy a darker fantasy with horror elements, this is definitely worth a read.