Title: Bringer of Light (Bringer Trilogy #1)
Author: J.R. Boles
Release Date: October 3, 2014
Acquired Via: Author
For generations, the kingdom of Arten has stood alone against the ancient dark mage Mercer, a man no longer bound by time. But when King Wern is kidnapped, Queen Arin will risk everything to get him back.
Lynden Trenadin is chosen to join the ranks of the elite Queen's Champions both for her prowess as a warrior and her remarkable resemblance to the queen. She has spent her life battling at Arten's borders, but now she must defend the queen with her life as they journey to their enemy's castle. When the tide of battle goes against them, Lynden unleashes a magical power she didn't know she possessed. Even though she saved hundreds of warriors, Lynden is forced to flee in shame for her use of forbidden magic.
Now on the run, Lynden must raise a rebellion to free her country from the tyranny of the enemy she thought she'd destroyed. A band of loyalists and an enclave of ancient mages aid her in her efforts, but with a dark mage bent on her destruction, Lynden must discover a way to harness her new magic before it is too late.
I decided to read Bringer of Light because the author described it as an epic fantasy with a strong female character. Bringer of Light started out strongly, but lost itself a little along the way. There were several elements I liked, some I disliked, but nothing that I hated or loved.
Lynden's role, both as a Champion and her larger role in the story, was one of the most interesting aspects of Bringer of Light. Arten is a seemingly matriarchal society ruled by a queen. As Champion, Lynden protects the queen as a warrior, but also as a doppelgänger. I found it really interesting that all of the queen's champions look like her, yet also are trained as warriors to protect her. I wish that this element would have been expanded in the story a bit more.
The beginning is full of action, as the king is kidnapped by the neighboring evil wizard, and the queen and her champions rush off to retrieve him (I never found out why the queen went to retrieve the king. Wouldn't they have wanted to avoid both sovereigns being in the hands of the enemy?). Because of said evil wizard, magic is strictly forbidden in Arten. So, of course, Lynden uses magic to save the queen, the king and hundred of others, but is still forced to flee.
While Lynden is exiled there is a lull to the story, because not much information is imparted to either Lynden or the reader. The story gets much better again toward the end when information starts to trickle in, and the reader learns more about the magic and the world. The strength of the story at the beginning and the end and the author's creative combination of a lot of fantasy tropes are what make me want to read the sequel.
Another issue I had with Bringer of Light was the romance. It just never felt right. First, there might have been a love triangle, but it's hard to tell. Lynden acts like friends with both Jonathen and Roan , and there's no sort of wooing or courtship. Then, there is suddenly, out of the blue, kissing. I would have much rather have been reading about the really cool champions or Seren, the healer mage.
Bringer of Light was a promising start to a new epic fantasy, with a lot of rough edges. I'm willing to stick around and read the next one to see if they get ironed out. I'm rating this 3 stars because I liked the story and there are some really interesting, strong female characters that I hope get a lot of character development in the sequel. The lull in the middle and the weird romance almost made this less than 3 stars.
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