Sunday, March 29, 2020

Review: Along the Razor's Edge by Rob J. Hayes

Along the Razor's Edge (The War Eternal #1)
Along the Razor's Edge by Rob J. Hayes
Publication Date: March 30th, 2020
Ebook. 281 pages

About Along the Razor's Edge:

"No one escapes the Pit. 

At just fifteen Eskara Helsene fought in the greatest war mankind has ever known. Fought and lost. There is only one place her enemies would send a Sourcerer as powerful as her, the Pit, a prison sunk so deep into the earth the sun is a distant memory. Now she finds herself stripped of her magic; a young girl surrounded by thieves, murderers, and worse. In order to survive she will need to find new allies, play the inmates against each other, and find a way out. Her enemies will soon find Eskara is not so easily broken."

If I'm not mistaken, this is the third book that I've read and reviewed from Rob J. Hayes and I once again am very pleased I did! Hayes continues to deliver fantasy that stands out from others due to his strong characters, unique settings, and captivating premises.

Along the Razor's Edge follows Eskara Helsene, a fifteen year-old girl who is currently imprisoned in what is called The Pit along with other Orrans who were all captured after their people lost a major war. The prisoner are made to do daily back-breaking work and it really leaves little in the way of hope for every achieving a better life.

Eskara has a strong personality that comes through extremely well in Hayes' narrative, and I was glad to be able to have such a distinct sense of who she is and what her motivations were. She's not perfect by any means and I appreciate that she made and owned up to a lot of mistakes, especially since she's only fifteen and it's entirely expected. I also really liked how Hayes portrayed the various relationship dynamics between Eskara and many of the other prisoners and guards that are also down in The Pit, since it provided a more nuanced and well-developed look at this world and situation. I also felt invested in all of the characters that we gt to learn about because of how well Hayes developed their own personalities and fleshed-out motivations.

What first captured my attention was Hayes' narrative style, which, as mentioned, is told from Eskara's POV. Because of her personality and manner of storytelling, it really made for an enjoyable story because I was able to feel and empathize with everything happening. The way she tells her story is as if relaying what has happened in the past, so it is sprinkled with little insights from where she currently is when telling this story.

There are also flashbacks interwoven throughout the story that follow Eskara's childhood and training before being taken captive in war. Flashbacks can often be hit or miss for me in fantasy, and I'm happy to say that they were a big hit for me this time. I really loved how much the flashbacks offered in the way of world-building and background on both Eskara's life and the magic system that is part of this world.

Lastly, I'd like to touch on the world-building, which was dark and detailed and full of elements that contributed to both the atmosphere and plot in strong ways. I think my favorite thing about the world, though, is how Hayes introduces us to it and slowly reveals more and more about it. There weren't really any big moments of info-dumping that messed with the pacing or drew me out of the story. Instead, he revealed it all in ways that fit according to the actions of the plot in a really cohesive manner.

Overall, I've given Along the Razor's Edge four stars! If you're looking for a not-super-long fantasy with an immersive world, strong characters, and an interesting plot, then definitely give this one a read.

*I received a copy of Along the Razor's edge courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

1 comment:

  1. One of these days I'm going to try Hayes! I'm glad you enjoyed this, and I love the idea of a story centered around a pit, so terrifying.