The Gift of Marmidon by Tiffany M. Rhys
4 stars – I liked it; it was good
I began reading this book on March 14, 2022, after the author reached out to me for an honest review. I’m hoping to get more into doing book reviews for indie authors, and this was an excellent book to start with.
Finished on March 19, 2022.
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A Rollercoaster of Emotions—Couldn’t Put it Down!
The year is 23,200, and the world has fallen back into the dark ages (albeit with indoor plumbing). The only plus side: magic, in the form of weaving, and the legendary Gift of Marmidon—a blessing of light to overpower the darkness. The continent of Marmidon is split back into monarchies, and the king of Marmeada has declared war on his neighbours as he searches for the next vessel of the Gift—to use or to destroy them. Enter Aeryn. He’s twenty-one and, according to a prophecy delivered before his birth, one of the two possible bearers of the Gift. Princess Kaley, the other possible bearer and a formidable warrior, has been sent to find the bearer or return to her father empty-handed. She and her father’s infuriating advisor, Maurrem, must work together to find the next Fire Heart, the bearer of Marmidon’s Gift, before the king’s patience runs out.
My first impression of this book was that it’s unique. The worldbuilding is deep and authentic, and the way the author tweaked the world makes it unique. It has aspects I’ve never seen done before—a post-apocalyptic world whose civilization has cycled back into the medieval era again. Amid the cast of characters, there are those that I immediately loved and some that I immediately hated. That’s usual for me, but the author did well in establishing each of them in their roles right away. They remained consistent in their words and actions, which is missing in other the self-published books I’ve read.
That’s not to say that this is the perfect book; I don’t believe in something like that. Every book has its flaws, and that’s because everyone sees different things as flaws. I, personally, found that there are far too many sentence fragments. Though they are used for style and pace, it was hard to follow, and they ignored the rules of grammar a bit too often for my taste.
Some people may also like knowing everything about a book, reading every detail to get the most vivid image in their heads, but I felt this abundance of description drew out the beginning a bit too long. The descriptions themselves were wonderful, and the author’s use of metaphor was unique and different, though there were times the meaning was lost on me or felt over the top; I think the metaphors would’ve been more powerful if the ratio of implicit and explicit was more balanced.
Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the book, even more so once the action got going.
Talking about the characters now, I think I’m most impressed with Kaley’s character, and Maurrem, by far, is the most ever-changing character.
Kaley is a strong, independent woman leading her father’s army, but she is also crippled by his lack of pride in her achievements. Her journey throughout the story is trying to fulfill her father’s orders by bringing him the Gift’s vessel or returning to him as the vessel, and to do so, she must work with someone she hates (and has every reason to). The immense pressure on her shoulders makes her a very relatable and lovable character, much like Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender. I’m actually hoping to see a redemption arc for her much like his (subjectively the best redemption arc in the history of storytelling).
Meanwhile, Maurrem has been cruel and malicious, calm and humble, prideful and authoritative, even submissive and fearful. His overall character is being the king’s advisor and torturer, and as such, he has a manipulative air to him, and he is greedy for both power and other people’s pain. He has also shown himself to be lecherous, which is a quality many of the other characters despise, but in moments when he believes no one is watching, he shows a more caring side.
We get these differing perspectives through the story itself, which mainly switches between the main character Aeryn, and Kaley, though there are some instances of Maurrem’s perspective being thrown in.
The use of magic in this book, called weaving, is thrilling and yet another unique take. I like how there is an elf-like race (the ethrea) who are naturally inclined to weaving, but regular humans can learn to use it as well. It makes me wonder how weaving came to be in this world.
This book is a must-read for lovers of medieval fantasy. It has the vibe of Eragon, with hints of darkness and magic, but also of Avatar: The Last Airbender, as the main character must learn how to use his Gift to save the world—all the while, he’s being hunted by the king of the invaders. I can’t wait to read book 2, Marmidon Ablaze!
Click here to read my review of book 2 (SPOILER WARNING!)
Click here to read my review of book 3 (SPOILER WARNING!)
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