A Star-Reckoner's Lot by Darrell Drake
Ebook. 316 pages.
If you enjoy reading some non-traditional fantasy settings, then A Star-Reckoner's Lot is a perfect book to pick up. Not only does this book have setting inspired by the Sassanian Empire in Iran, it also tells a unique, captivating story that felt very different from a lot of books.
A Star-Reckoner's Lot is one of the many self-published books I've read recently where I can't really tell that it's self-published, as it feels incredibly polished and carefully written. I loved the unique, refreshing setting that is what initially set this book apart, and since I have been loving fantasy books set in new and different areas, this book hit that note perfectly.
One area that I specifically want to mention is the magic system, which I loved. Magic users in this book essentially draw their power from stars and astronomical elements, such as from constellations and the various movements and motions of the planets. I thought that this was a fascinating system that was also developed extremely well. I really can't commend Drake enough for creating such a unique and intricate system that completely enraptured me. It was also nice that this system had, like many other magic systems, consequences for overusing magic and things of that nature which always add a level of severity and authenticity that I really appreciate.
The three main characters that I want to mention are Ashtadukht, Tirdad, and Waray. Ashtadukht is, indeed, a bit of a mouthful to say, but her character is a fascinating one. Her personality is not necessarily the most likable, but there is something really endearing about her that drew me in. I personally loved that she wasn't exactly all that great at using her magic, but that she was still incredibly tough and determined in her goals. Tirdad, Ashtadukht's cousin, was also a complex, well-written character to follow and I appreciated his humor and personality immensely. Ashtadukht and Tirdad meet Waray along their adventures, and Waray turns out to be a quirky and intriguing character. There were many times when I couldn't quite decide if I liked her or not, but reflecting back on the book I really do think I enjoyed every scene she was in. She brought some extra charm to the story and it really felt like she helped expand it as well in both theme and style. This book relied a lot on current character exploration and development, so I don't really want to go too in-depth with their descriptions since I personally had such a fun time exploring them on my own and feel that this is the best way to discover them.
This was a pretty quick read for me, both because the book itself is on the shorter side (only a little over 300 pages), and also because it is a book that really grabbed my attention and was a very approachable read. It starts off a little on the slow side, but once the story gets going it really takes off and its easy to get sucked into this multi-layered story. The main issues I had with the writing were the many different time period jumps, which often had rather sharp tone shifts as well. I enjoy getting a bit of variety, but it also sometimes made it hard for me to stay fully engaged and it would take a while to get back into the groove. Despite this, the writing itself is extremely well-done and Drake is clearly a gifted and intelligent writer.
Overall, I had a great time reading this book and would definitely recommend it to someone looking fora slightly more unique fantasy setting. I've given A Star-Reckoner's Lot four stars!
*I received a copy of A Star-Reckoner's Lot courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review. This book was part of TBRindr. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*
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