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Sasha (Trial of Blood and Steel Series#1)

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    Strong Characters, Difficult Plot

    Sasha is a bit of an oddity, it is hard to place it in a specific genre. It is almost a young adult coming of age story, but not quite. it has the feel, setting and sound of a fantasy story, but there are no elements of magic and no fantastic creatures in sight.

    Sasha is the apprentice of great swordsman Kessligh, daughter of the King and a woman of her own making. She simply does not care what others thing, she follows her own heart and mind and thinks little of the consequences her actions bring. I thought Sasha was an exceptional character. She isn't perfect; she certainly has her faults, but that only makes her more intriguing. She does a great deal of growing up over the course of the story, mostly because she is forced to.

    I loved all of the characters, mainly Sasha and Jayrd; a young heir to the lordship of Tyree. I was a particular fan of their relationship; theirs was a great friendship to watch unfold. At the start of the book they are both weary of one another, but as time progresses, they begin to understand, respect and enjoy one another.

    I always struggle with high fantasy novels, trying to keep the names of different things straight. Now, like I said I always struggle a bit with these novels, but I thought my brain might explode while reading Sasha. There are an absolute plethora of characters and many of the names look and sound a lot of like. For example there is Terjellyn, Teriyan, Tarynt, Captain Tyrun, Lord Tymeth Pelyn, Tarryn, Lord Rashyd, Lord Rydysh, Lord Krayliss and Kessligh. I could keep going, but I think you get the idea. Do you see why I got a bit confused? To help with this, there is a series of maps and a complete list of characters with their nationality and brief description - a sort of cheat-sheet chart in the beginning of the book. I found myself flipping back to this a lot during the first half of the book, while I was still putting things together in my head. It got to be a bit distracting, but at least it helped me piece together exactly what was happening. I am not going to lie to you, I began to just keep reading through it, in hopes that I got the general idea. There are still parts, mainly dealing with the politics that I know went over my head. The characters and their relationships, on the other hand, are easy to follow and I wanted to understand them. But when the book went on a rampage about the intricate details of each territories' political standings and ambitions, I began to fog over. I understand that the author wanted to develop a complete world, but I think he went a bit overboard with the heavy things. For me, it definitely took away from the book - I enjoyed the characters enough to trudge through all the political mumbo-jumbo, but that might not be the case with every reader. This was a long book, I have no idea what the word count is, but there are 421 large pages (this is a huge paperback book) with tiny writing.

    Although I had a few issues with the book I did enjoy it. Honestly, the characters were fascinating, entertaining and well-developed. The overall storyline was also remarkably well done. A great deal happens throughout the first book, but a lot of plot line is also setup for the sequel. Most of the characters go through a game changing event - so I am eager to see how they all deal with their new circumstances and outlooks on the world.

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