I WAS SENT A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK IN RETURN FOR AN UNBIASED REVIEW
‘Tei tossed and turned, the damp sheet crumpling beneath her. She focused on the mediation her father had taught her, trying to distract herself from the comfort of the hot summer’s night’
The Assembly controls Kalaya. Originally set up to govern, they now persecute those with magic and exile them to the Turrak Mountains.
Tei, a tailor’s daughter, has always hidden her magic but when her father’s old friend visits and warns them to flee to the mountains she must leave her old life behind.
On the journey, an attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He entrusts her into the care of the exiles and on his deathbed makes a shocking confession.
Struggling with self-doubt, Tei joins the exiles search for their new Sentinel who is the only person capable of restoring the fading magic. But mysterious Masked Riders are hunting the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.
Against mounting odds it will take friendship, heartache and sacrifice for the exiles to succeed, but is Tei willing to risk everything to save the island magic?
What I thought
It would have been really easy for this book to fall into the traditional trope of the MC being the ‘chosen one’ which in this case would have meant Tei was the Lost Sentinel. Not that there’s anything wrong with the trope but it’s tired and has been done many times before, however this book subverted that trope and turned Tei into the only person who could contact the Sentinel and is meant to be the sentinel’s confidante, one of the most important positions available in the rebel/outcast society due to the close bond.
This inversion of the normal trope meant that I was off guard from very early on and I never knew quite what to expect and it meant I was unable to guess what was going to happen.
Tei’s link to the Sentinel is not her main magical ability, it’s a bonus one that exists because she is the confidante and adviser of the new sentinel. Her skill and magic lie in astral projection, when she is able to remove her conscious mind from her body and travel to the astral plane and see what else is happening around the island. It’s this ability that allows her to connect with the Sentinel and work out where she is hiding. However it also means she is able to see how much the magic of the island is failing with the current sentinel dying.
I love this ability, the idea of being able to be aware while she’s asleep. The idea of being able to travel while not leaving her bed is a great one. Although I’m aware of soul walking/astral plane travel it’s been a while since I’ve seen it in fiction as written as well it was here.
Like most fantasy stories there are multiple plots throughout, there are three in here but the other main one is the story of Ferrel and the traders of Stone Haven. Their island isn’t good enough to sustain their lives, they are unable to grow food and are dependent on what can be gathered by the constant sea explorations. You can really feel and understand their desperation, they are trying to do the best they can but when Ferrel starts having dreams telling him of an island that they should live on (Kalaya) he’s torn because it would mean taking Kalaya by force. When the council force his hand by telling the islanders that they are going to leave to a new home where they are able to live comfortably, it hurts. Ferrel is trying to do the right thing and stick to his father’s ethics of living in peace.
It allows for a needed breather from Tei and the hunt for the Sentinel to return magic to the island of Kayala.
The main issue I had with this book was the ‘romance’ story lines especially how Garrick literally fell in love with Tei within seconds and was willing to die for her. Literally within seconds, they go to help her and then that night he’s weeping about how she’ll never love him the way he loves her.
Urgh… I’m not a romance person normally but I love a good romance story line if it’s written properly and feels realistic. This one felt like the notes you write before you write the actual story and have forgotten to expand on it to make it into an actual thing. All the romances felt stereotypical and needed more growth and depth to them but Garrick’s one sided ‘love’ with Tei was definitely the worst.
My only other issue is less of an issue but something I definitely feel deserves a mention. After turning the final page on the kindle I found myself still unsure as to who the bad guy is. There are things going on in the government trying to get rid of magic which we know would mean the death of the island. There are questions happening in the Tarrack Mountains about what’s going to happen with a new Sentinel that had been lost and had only just been brought in. There are the Stone Haven-ers who are coming to the island because of a ‘voice’ telling Ferrel that they need to take over to save themselves. And then there are also Masked Riders roaming the wilds and killing exiles and trying to stop them finding the sentinel. At least with the Stone Haven lot I can understand their motives and why they are getting ready for war.
There’s nothing wrong with multiple villains and power plays but I couldn’t tell you what their motives are. I’m looking forward to finding out more about what is happening in the next book.
Why I read it
I’m a big fan of YA fantasy so when the opportunity came up to be part of the blog tour for this book and for the 2nd one I thought it looked interesting.
I struggled to write this review as I found ‘The Lost Sentintel’ a bit ‘meh’ at times and then something unexpected would happen and I’d find myself enraptured again and not wanting to put it down. I found it a bit temperamental but the highs were worth the lows.
It was a bit slow paced at times and the romance story lines felt way too fast paced and unrealistic. At the beginning I had to push myself to keep reading but it definitely picks up. I’m glad that I was given this opportunity to be part of the blog tour, if I hadn’t been I don’t think I’d have read it and that would have been a pity. I feel that with another edit and with a bit of tightening it could be a really good and solid fantasy story.
Am I glad I read it? I think so
Did I enjoy it? 2/3 of it, the romance felt extremely forced and unnecessary.
Would I read again? Unsure, but probably not.
Would I recommend? Um… it’s a good independent fantasy novel that twists and subverts normal tropes. I’d suggest it to some people but it’s not one I’d throw in the face of anyone who would listen.
PopSugar: Multiple POVs
Read Harder: Self Published
As always thanks to the author for allowing me to be part of their blog tour and to Rachel for organising it. I don’t think this is something I would have found and read on my own terms
PLEASE let me know if you’ve read this book and let me know what I was missing, I had a look on GoodReads and on Amazon and there are loads of raving reviews. I know not everyone can like the same thing and the world would be dull if that was the case. But I’d love to have someone try and explain what I missed and why they loved it.
P.S I had originally agreed to be part of the book tour for the 2nd book in this series as well ‘Sentinel’s Reign’ but I found reading it eben harder going than reading this one and ended up DNF-ing it about 25% of the way through. It’s nothing against the plot but I simply wasn’t enjoying reading it and was having to force myself to actually pick up my kindle and read.
Also this isn’t what my blog is for. There are many blogs out there for picking books apart and I much prefer to talk about what I loved and why I enjoyed reading it. Reading should be for pleasure it shouldn’t be forced and make you feel unhappy.