About the book
When Kazari answers the Lady’s call to serve, she never expects to take the amethyst of the Hunter, one of the select few who defend Albatar from the gorgones – demons brought from Beyond by the Second King. After all, at fifteen, she’s short and stocky, and not made of the stuff of legends. But the Lady, (she who created Albatar as a sanctuary for the faithful following the Gorgone War) has other ideas. And now rumours of gorgone attacks herald another war. As a Hunter, a group whose exploits are legend within Albatar, Kazari is expected to play her part in the coming war. But as young and untrained as she is, and despite the gifts the Lady has given her, how can she live up to the legends of the past?When gorgones attack the Abbey and threaten her family, Kazari doesn’t have a choice. And with Albatar under attack, even the Hunters’ gifts may not be enough to defeat the evil that threatens them all.
In the land of Albatar, 15 year olds are required to announce their life plan – either to pledge allegiance to the Lady and disappear into one of her secretive clans, renounce the possibility of ever serving the Lady, or choose to abstain until some later time in their life when they decide which path they want to take.
15 year old Kazari has decided to pledge to the Lady, despite the protests of her parents and the fact that few in her village believe. Little does she know that her choice will see her learning magic and fighting monsters within only a few months, with perhaps the fate of the country resting in her hands.
I thought I would love this book. The description intrigued me, and the opening chapter had a strong hook. I loved that Kazari defied her parents and pledged to the Lady. It seemed to set up a strong conflict and introduce an idealistic character with solid belief.
Unfortunately, it went downhill from there.
Frequent readers of this blog know that I’ve recently enjoyed some great books exploring belief systems and religion in fantasy worlds. Amethyst Pledge had potential to be another such book. The Lady and her seven rainbow clans, formed to protect the people of Albatar from the hideous monsters that roam the surrounding lands, were a strong starting point for something epic.
However, the setting was underdeveloped and the world building was sorely lacking. The author used words that have a very definite meaning in Catholicism without defining how they worked in Albatar, as if calling something a chapel is sufficient to explain its meaning. The clan members who lived in an abbey (which had a priory attached), were overseen by an Abbot (but there was also a prior), who conferred with a Sacristan. They had a chapel, but no indication was given to what sacrifices were offered at the altar within the sanctuary. They read from the Lady’s writings at a lectern, but each clan had a different book that was kept secret to only them, and no one outside the orders got any information about what was going on. Where the Lady was or who wrote her writings was never explained, although she could make crystals glow and sometimes spoke in people’s heads. What the followers of the Lady believed in or what the precepts of their faith were was likewise never mentioned.
Sadly, the characters suffered from the same lack of development. Everything was kept secret from them, so they were all constantly surprised, none more so than Kazari. I don’t know why she pledged to the Lady, when she knew nothing about her and didn’t seem to believe she existed.
Despite the fact that the narrative focused closely on Kazari throughout the whole book, I learned very little about her. She was short and stocky – a fact that was repeated often, and which apparently made her unsuitable for running. She was, of course, amazingly talented at fighting and magic wielding (she could sniff out monsters!), and she disliked running. The other characters were even less well developed, although I was glad to learn that the abbot had muscular fingers.
The writing was very repetitive and focused on the mundane. Pages were devoted to how sore Kazari was from horse riding, running, and walking through snow. A lot of time was given to washing, with numerous scenes of Kazari bathing and thinking about bathing, or wondering if she was too tired to bathe before bed because of all her running. Even more puzzling, there were two long scenes devoted to Kazari helping her 16 year old male teammate to bathe.
Important information was relayed through long conversations. It was very disappointing, because the plot – which was essentially a nun fighting monsters – wasn’t too bad, and the action scenes, though few and far between, were interesting.
I award Amethyst Pledge…
About the author
Originally from Western Australia, Leonie now lives in NSW in the Upper Hunter. She is the author of the highly rating Frontier Trilogy, published by Hague Publishing, and works part time as a physiotherapist. Amethyst Pledge, is the first in a new series – The Albatar Chronicles. Book 2, Dark Days, has just been released (May 20, 2020). In a past life, Leonie was a volunteer firefighter and SES member and once trekked almost six hundred kilometres with eight camels and several other human beings. She is married with two adult children, two dogs and three cats, one of whom frequently handicaps her ability to use a laptop computer.
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