Friday, October 31, 2008

Review: _Fall of a Kingdom_ by Hilari Bell

Three young people from different social classes face trials and threats to their kingdom. Fall of a Kingdom by Hilari Bell is the first book of the “Farsala” trilogy. The cultures depicted, the characters and plot weave together to provide an entertaining first book.

First, the author creates different cultures that makes the book entertaining. Farsala is a kingdom of tribal clans ruled by one house at a time. The deghans have a cultures based on horses and is Middle Eastern in flavor. Another culture is made up of desert nomads called the Sud. They have a strange magic that relies on talking with the spirits of things. Then there are the Hrum made up of a great empire that conquers other nations, constantly expanding. Ms. bell’s cultures have neat interactions that make the story more powerful.

Next, the characters help the story to be entertaining by being realistic. The three main characters are in their late teens and early twenties. Kavi is a peasant peddler who has suffered at the hands of the deghans. His resentment spurs in making difficult decisions that threaten his soul. Jaain is the illegitimate son of the deghan Merahb. His father has him as an aid and teaches him tactics. He must shoulder a difficult borer in the story. Soraya is the deghan’s daughter. She is tough, but arrogant and must learn to temper the arrogance to succeed in her endeavors. Ms. Bell imbues the characters with realistic traits of growth and keeps readers interested in their exploits.

Ultimately, the plot makes the book entertaining by telling an interesting story. The plot begins in the city of Setasafon where the deghan Merahb is trying to stop a political rival who demands the sacrifice of Soraya. Her father needs to stop the rival to retain command of the army. He knows the Hrum are planning to attack Farsala. Soraya goes along with her father’s plan to help him. She is hidden away in the mountains where she meets the Suud who teach her their magic. Kavi crosses paths with the commander ad is coerced into checking on Soraya periodically. He comes into trouble when captured by the Hrum. Jaain follows his father into the battle with the invaders which changes his life dramatically. Ms. Bell’s vivid descriptions bring the story to life with action.

Fall of a Kingdom by Hilari Bell is the first book of the Farsala trilogy. This young adult fantasy follows the story of three young people whose lives are in upheaval. Jaain, Soraya and Kavi must save Farsala from the invading Hrum. Interesting cultures, characters and plot keeps the book entertaining until the end. The adventures of these three characters continue in Rise of a Hero and concludes with Forging the Sword.

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