Book Review: Fire Eyes Awakened
I was instantly drawn to Fire Eyes Awakened book when I saw the cover. I loved the art style, but the title and description really intrigued me. I hadn't read any other books that combined fantasy and super heroes, and I wanted to see how the author would mesh them together. I'm glad I did.
R.J. Batla has put together a really unique story placed in a super distant, post apocalyptic earth that has been totally transformed by cataclysmic events. It is a world that you will barely recognize for the most part, similar to how Mark Lawrence handled it. Wild, mutated creatures and a diverse race of humanoids with newly awakened powers inhabit this strange new world, and danger in all its forms is lurking at every corner.
Those newly awakened powers are the fun part. After all, it is what really made me read this book. RJ Batla has taken a generally elemental based approach with the super powers, but has put his own unique spin on how this magic system works. You can tell that he spent a great deal of time developing a well thought-out, hard magic system, because there are rules, limitations, and costs for wielding such power. It is the truism that for every action, there must be a reaction. Yet the interactions between the different types of powers is where it gets really interesting. I was actually surprised at his magic system, because it is eerily similar in some regards to the one that I have been developing for the past few years in my own writing—and it's awesome!
Another interesting aspect of the book was that it was all written in first person. This is rather uncommon, and it took me a little getting used to, but I think the author did a good job with it. It does limit how intimate you can get with the other characters, but it doesn't seem to be an issue.
The writing is good. I'm more accustomed to adult fantasy, and in my opinion this definitely has a YA feel to it. Many of the main characters are coming of age, and the language, and tone seem to match. Despite the gravity of the situations that the MC finds himself in, he often responds to it with humor and a there is a good deal of tongue-in-cheek at work. I think this could be problematic if not handled well, but I think the author has struck the right balance for this book.
The only negative that I had for the book is that I did not care for the way it ended. Every author has a different approach to how they write a series of books, and it is really just a matter of preference. Some authors have one large story arc, which is comprised of several smaller story arcs which represent each books in the series. Other authors really have just the one overarching story, and they break it up into pieces—much like how J.R.R. Tolkien did with The Lord of the Rings. Neither is right or wrong, again it's just a preference thing. Fire Eyes Awakened seems to follow the Tolkien model, and after reading the first book—I feel like I just got done reading the Fellowship of the Ring. Yes it was a good stopping point, but I feel like I've been left hanging. Needless to say, I am eagerly awaiting the next book in The Senturians of Terraunum Series.