Review: Emissary

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Title: Emissary (Legends of the Realm #1)
Author: Thomas Locke
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company
Release Date: January 6, 2015

I received a copy of Emissary through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary (via Goodreads)
Hyam is a likeable lad who will make a fine farmer someday. But he carries a burden few can fathom. As his mother slips toward death, she implores him to return to Long Hall, where he spent five years as an apprentice. It was there that Hyam's extraordinary capacity for mastering languages came to light--and soon cast him into the shadows of suspicion. How could any human learn the forbidden tongues with such ease? When Hyam dares to seek out the Mistress of the Sorceries, her revelation tears his world asunder. 
He has no choice but to set out on the foreboding path--which beckons him to either his destiny or his doom. An encounter with an enchanting stranger reminds him that he is part hero and part captive. As Hyam struggles to interpret the omens and symbols, he is swept up by a great current of possibilities--and dangers.

Emissary is was a good fantasy read. It didn't exactly blow me away, but I did enjoy it. The beginning was incredibly rushed, and information was sort of just thrown at me. But once I got into the story, it was flowed fairly well and was entertaining. Hyam's world is a fascinating world of different races, kingdoms, and forms of magic. The descriptions of the settings were gorgeous, especially the elf kingdom. Seriously, I want to live there. The world was probably my favorite part. Locke does an amazing job of building an in depth world with interesting magic systems and complex kingdoms.

However, there were times when I just got so lost in the plot. There were some details that just didn't make sense or were not fully developed. After Hyam's first battle, I got really confused by what happened actually happened. So I actually reread the entire chapter over just to see if I missed some explanation. I didn't. It just wasn't there. Later, it was sort of explained but it just wasn't enough. And that is how I feel about a lot of the plot: sort of explained but just wasn't enough. Plot details are introduced and dealt with, without any aftermath or something to make it feel resolved. Even now, I am a bit frustrated remembering all the points.

Hyam is a honest but incredibly intelligent farmer, but of course that isn't all he is. As he discovers his powers and his hidden ancestry, Hyam still keeps his honest and hardworking spirit, always treating people fairly and testing the boundaries of his power to understand it. I really loved how Hyam showed so much respect toward other people and brought them into his group. I especially loved his interactions with Trace, a wise but hilarious mage, and Meda, a tough female soldier.

Originally, I loved Hyam and Joelle, and I thought they would be great together. During the first part of the book, Hyam and Joelle switched off as narrators for each chapter, telling their own stories while separated. Once they met, however, Joelle's narration was phased out. I loved reading Joelle's sections and thought she was so amazing and strong, trying to build up her powers to escape the long hall. But once Hyam and Joelle actually met, I didn't understand their dynamic and saw less of the Joelle I saw in earlier chapters. All of a sudden, she is whining and chasing after Hyam, and then just constantly reduced to a love interest role. Who is this person? There were times when she was training and I could see the original character that I saw shining out a little, but then POOF she was gone. Add that to how their entire relationship is treated in the book. Ugh. It was just disappointing.

On a final good note, Dama! Dama is Hyam's wolfhound in the story, and she was amazing. But that might be my extreme love of the giant, gorgeous animals showing.

Rating: 3/5 Overall, Emissary was a good read. I wasn't a huge fan of the plot problems and Joelle's vanishing personality, but the world was intricate and the story was engaging. Plus wolfhounds.

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