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Posted November 18, 2012
I have to admit, I wasn't sure I wanted to read this book. I don't read a lot of high fantasy. Not because I have any particular problem with it, I'm just not drawn to it the way some people are. But I have been hearing a lot about this book, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Turns out, that was a good call!
For me, a good book is one that I can connect to emotionally. The book opens with a highly emotional scene where Derac, the Captain of an Elvin military unit called the Kinir Elite, loses his wife in a fire. The visual of this scene was so disturbing I immediately became emotionally connected with Derac.
The story picks up ten years later--Derac is still the successful Captain of the Elite, but he has never really been able to move on from his guilt over the loss of his wife. When he first begins to feel attraction to Kie, an archer in his unit, he is hesitant to act on his feelings. I found the love story that grew up around these two characters refreshing in its slowness. There was no insta-love. These were two adults who acted like adults. Their mission came first at all times. They might have wanted to rip each other's uniforms off, but they help off, prolonging the sexual and romantic tension.
While I am always sucked in the love story, the main plot of this novel was a military story, full of strategy, battles and intrigue. I loved the way the author described the battle communication among the members of the group, made up of a mixture of hand signals and whistles. Something about it felt so...elfish, maybe? Almost like how animals might communicate when coordinating an attack. Not that these characters are animalistic in any way, but it was a subtle reminder that they were not humans, dependent on speech and electronic devices to communicate. Very well done.
The characterization was also great. Each member of the Kinir Elite had a distinct personality and skill that added to the group. Derac, as Captain, is a natural leader. He is smart, strategic and brave. Rakan is the experienced veteran soldier in the group, rough around the edges, but trustworthy and tough. Tyn is Derac's best friend. Without him, I think Derac might have become so overcome in his grief after the loss of his wife, that it might have rendered his useless. Tyn prevents Derac from taking himself too seriously, constantly teasing him and drawing him out. I would love to see a future book which revolves around Tyn. Jardel is the young soldier, full of youth and spirit. While he is very good in a fight, he also is a bit like a naughty puppy. Too cute to really get angry at when he is bad. Aeli and Kie are the two women in the group and are opposite in every way. Aeli is vain and feminine, but also smart and loyal. She is easily under estimated. Kie is a tom-boy with a troubled past. I appreciated that the author did not make her too angsty or snarky. She doesn't have a chip on her shoulder. Instead, she bravely faces the things that frighten her most.
My only semi-criticism of the book is that a few times I felt like things worked out a little too easy. For example, when Aeli's loyalty is questioned, Derac decides to trust her right away, not really exercising the caution that I think he should have. Of course, it turned out that she was loyal to the group, but Derac didn't know that.
Cleanse Fire is the first book in the Kinir Elite series. It was very well written, and I will definitely be reading the next book when it releases.
Overall, I give Cleanse Fire...
Plot - 4 1/2 bookmarks
Character development - 5 bookmarks
Love Story - 4 1/2 bookmarks
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Henry Cavil (Derac), Keira Knightly (Kie), Sean Patrick Flanery (Tyn), Rosamund Pike (Aeli), Sean Bean (Rakan), Armie Hammer (Jardel)
Posted September 18, 2012
Ecopy provided by author
Captain Derac Vidor takes pride in leading his team of Elite Kinir warrior elves. Serving his country by protecting the weak and rescuing those in need fill his life—until an act of betrayal threatens not only himself but every member of his team. He will stop at nothing to discover who is trying to kill them and why.
Let me start by saying I enjoyed Cleanse Fire. As a debut author, Ms Pergakis is off to a great start. The main male protagonist, Derac Vidor, is an interesting character with internal conflict that is driven by his sense of integrity and honor. The right balance was struck between moral fiber and not overly stiff and prudish.
Several other members on the team are worth noting as well. Kie is a strong female with issues of her own. They are revealed through the course of the book and not all at once, and I liked learning about her in active scenes as the plot unfolded.
Tyn, as Derac’s best friend, is a very likeable character. He had his friend’s back no matter the situation and always looked for the positive from each team member. Rakan, Jardel and Aeli are all secondary characters with distinct personalities that added to the story as well.
With all the positive story aspects noted up front, it’s time to talk about what didn’t work for me. The book needed a final edit before going to print. Word misuse and grammatical issues pulled me out of the story. That’s a common issue for new authors, but I think the easiest to correct in the future.
One issue I had with the story was the somewhat two-dimensional writing. By this I mean senses. In many of the scenes, I had no real idea what the characters looked like or how things smelled or felt.
My biggest problem with Cleanse Fire is there was no real description of the world. I had no idea why there were elves, faeries and dwarves and why they were allies or enemies. Humans existed in this world, but the mention was so tenuous, for the most part I forgot they were part they existed in Kinir.
Some world description would have been helpful as well. I know Kinir is a fantasy world, but modern phrases occasionally crept into the writing. When comparing that with the dragon’s verbiage and some of the other vernacular, the world did not seem modern in the contemporary sense.
Did all of these issues detract from the book? They did a bit for me. Will they keep me from reading the next book in the Kinir Elite Chronicles? Not a chance. I have a feeling Ms Pergakis’ stories will get better with each telling, and I intend to enjoy the resulting novels!
Posted May 29, 2012
Cleanse Fire is the debut novel of Anastasia V. Pergakis. As can be expected from a first time author there are a few things that I thought could have been done better, but there is an almost unlimited amount of potential for this series and author.
The issues that I found with the book mostly revolve around the characters. There wasn't anything wrong with them, but each member of the Kinir Elite is important and shares the spotlight which leads to a little bit of a lack with all of them. The tragic past theme is a shared theme for several of the members and it seems a little improbable.
At the same time the characters are a true strength for this book. Anastasia has built a personality for each of the characters and has a webpage where you can ask each of them questions. That level of commitment really says something about where this series can go.
The story is well done and moves at a pretty good clip throughout the book. I was interested enough to read the book in two or three sittings. The idea of an elven elite fighting unit really worked for me. This is a series that I will be keeping an eye on to see what Anastasia does with all of her potential.
I won a copy of this book during a blog tour by the author.
Posted January 22, 2012
Fantasy like this is hard to write and hard to find. The characters come off the page really well. You can tell that the author spends a lot of time with her characters, understanding who they are, what drives them, how they came to be, because she's able to grasp all these little nuances that just make it easy to sync with them.
The characters themselves are pretty tough! I wasn't too excited over the "they're elves" aspect. LOL! Before vampires, I thought that elves were a little over done. I blame a certain friend of mine from my military days. He LOVED elves to point I was ready to throw up toe nails at the mention of them, but boy, Anastasia sure had a way of saying, "Frankie, you're dork! This isn't Dungeons and Dragons. This is my book!! Get over it and read it!" She just wrapped me up and sent me packing on a journey with the Elite.
If you need something different, pick this up. You will not be disappointed! Heck, even if you don't need something different, pick this up. This is the type of fantasy that is great if you're a huge fantasy fan and even if you're not. I think everyone will get a sense of satisfaction by reading this book.
Posted November 4, 2011
No text was provided for this review.
Posted January 28, 2012
No text was provided for this review.