A peaceful realm, a beloved royal family and a joyful occasion for a ball… What could go wrong? When the Second Prince of Tarn, Camryn Agelard, attends a formal ceremony with a group of his close friends, he is far from expecting betrayal from his older brother. Yet in the deep of night, the First Prince and his mercenaries take over the castle, chasing Camryn and his friends into exile.
Accompanied by a talented Gray Mage, a mysterious Ranger, a loyal captain and two berserkers, Camryn will have to journey across the empire of Tarn in order to survive. With his brother’s forces close on their tail, the band must fight and hide as they are forced further and further away from home. Along the way they face hostile villagers, vast forests and snow-capped mountains, and the constant threat of the First Prince’s soldiers.
Will Second Prince Camryn ever return to his home? Can he save the royal family and take back the throne from his treacherous brother? And as a future king, he will have to learn to keep his friends from turning on each other; he cannot save the realm on his own…
1. The characters were all well fleshed out and realistic, with shifting emotions, deep questioning and impressive development curves. Each and every member of Camryn’s small band of adventurers suffered and grew in their own way throughout their travels. Rather rapidly, the reader cares a great deal for the characters and their fates, sharing their fears, doubts and hopes. Also, every single character was witty and funny, making the dialogues and interactions interesting.
2. By writing likeable and relatable characters, the author also managed to create an enjoyable dynamic to the group of adventurers. The six members are all different in age and personality, making for exciting tensions between them. Throughout their travels, they grow closer and a real bond is formed as they survive various trials and challenges. This bond strengthens over time despite having two berserkers getting ‘nervous’ whenever they sit still for too long…
3. The pacing is most often quick and pleasant for the reader throughout the novel. Camryn and his friends travel across the country, and though there many ‘campfire’ scenes, there are also enough obstacles to keep the reader interested and turning pages. Tension rises gradually as the story comes to a conclusion and it is easy to keep reading until the end.
4. For a self-published novel, A House Divided, looks and feels professional. The cover design, e-book layout and formatting is top-notch work, making for a smooth read. It would be impossible to know that this novel is from an indie author just by looking at it (something important these days with the explosion of self-publishing).
5. Finally, though the plot is a linear, swords-and-sorcery fantasy quest, the final plot twists make the journey alongside Camryn worth it. Many questions arise throughout the novel regarding the First Prince’s betrayal and all of them are answered in the conclusion. The story reaches several peaks of tension before the end and the final climax and resolution. All are satisfactory to the reader, make sense and fulfill the promises sprinkled from the beginning by the author.
1. For fantasy lovers, A House Divided will as easily calm your cravings for swords, magic and kingdoms as leave you wanting for more… The worldbuilding, magic system and battle scenes are all there, but sometimes too brief to be thoroughly enjoyed. Any fantasy reader would love to know more about the Empire of Tarn and its inhabitants, to wonder more about magecraft and the various factions of mages and read stronger battle scenes. Too many good, creative and original ideas tease the reader, but are not developed enough and leave them wanting (Berserker rage… Tell us more!).
2. In the same sense as the point stated above, the reader is sometimes left wanting more… danger for the characters. Though Camryn and his friends face more than enough obstacles before arriving to the ultimate test of their young lives, none of these seem to truly put them in danger. The reader almost never (wink, wink Misogo!) fears for the lives of the characters. There are enough soldiers, mercenaries and villains in the story for there to be graver dangers.