Have you ever read a book and LOVED it but then something suddenly happened to dampen you’re enthusiasm… If you said yes, then you’ll totally identify with my experience! Come see…
Scion of the Fox
The Realms of Ancient #1
by S.M. Beiko
Published October 17th 2017
by ECW Press
Roan is an orphan that lives with her odd uncle and her loving aunt. After moving into her comatose grandmother’s house she has a crazy interaction due to her infect eyeball and meets a powerful fox spirit named Sil. Marked to be sacrificed to the snake-monster Zabor Roan must gather friends from each of the families before it’s too late and the flood waters unleash devastation on the world…
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This has not influenced my opinion.
I too struggled with my ARC copy (lines every couple paragraphs were cut off and missing) but I contacted the publisher’s marketing department and they sent me a beautiful correctly copy – THANK YOU!! I enjoyed the book!
The cover was decent and I didn’t hate the title, its serviceable… what totally drew me in was the blurb! I’m a total fangirl for animals and fantasy mixed… plus toss in an orphan and this book spoke to me!
What I Liked!
Beiko has a talent for creating worlds!!
I was totally captured by the beginning with Roan’s infected eye and meeting Sil… then we learn about the world that Roan didn’t know was such a MAJOR part of her parent’s lives. AND WHAT A WORLD! It’s supernatural, it’s all around Roan, hidden in plain sight and foxes are only the beginning!!
Diversity rocked the races!!
The world has 5 races and is connected to a set of garden statues that her grandmother gave to her mother… I love when a world within our own is developed and races for that hidden world are created. I loved the odd choice of animals to be those races and each character that represented one of the five was a great embodiment of their race. PLUS Barton was born with a birth defect and is in a wheelchair (loved him!) AND Natti is a large, boned (i.e. fat) girl (loved her!)
Think world killing monsters and supernatural beings!!
This is a subgenre that I enjoy… it verges on being gods and demons but in a more natural and approachable way. The premise of the world incorporates a sort of creation story that explains the mega monsters Roan will have to fight but allows the story to be set in contemporary times. It’s a neat back story and supported the plot well.
Family ups and downs!!
So yeah Roan’s mom and dad are dead but her grandmother is still alive albeit in a coma. Yet Roan still gets to know what her grandmother through some letters she found… and I actually found this part one if the shining moments in the book!! It was worked in so beautifully I only wish they had been spread through the entire book and not contained in that one spot. And there is some resolution with her grandmother which is surprising! Also there is some heart pounding plot with her aunt by marriage and her dad’s brother.
A relatable writing style that I could read again!!
When I realized my ARC was messed up I thought about just DNFing the book and not worrying about getting a new copy… but the WRITING totally caught my attention. It contained a lyrical bent that is the perfect balance of relatable and pretty words for me. When another POV came into the story it felt totally separate from Roans and that is a HARD thing to do! I really need more multiple POVs from Beiko!
Where I Struggled!!
Alternating languishing and hurried pacing…
I enjoyed the book all the way up until 75% and then the book took a left turn into a ditch. I suddenly felt as a writer that the book needed to be rewritten with the new ideas presented after that 75%. And that end was SOOO RUSHED! When a book spends the majority of its pages at a certain pace and then suddenly amps it up to 100 times faster it makes every challenge from that point feel like it a building block easily kicked over. So it was HARD to enjoy Roan’s successes. And you suddenly realize that not much relationship was developed with the other characters in that first 75% with all the changes and wins during the last 25%!!
Sudden romantic hints with a questionable character?!
I thought this was going to be a totally romance free book! AND I WAS SO EXCITED!! Then suddenly in the last 25% there it is… crammed into a cranny with the freakiest choice of love interests!! I just couldn’t buy it… not so quickly after that battle. The whole relationship felt obligatory because of the role she played in “freeing” him…
An epilogue that steals the ends thunder *facepalm*
So yeah, obviously I WAS NOT a fan of the final 25%… I wanted to like it as much as I loved the rest of the book! I thought it was okay and then I turned to the last couple of pages and we got another sudden and random POV and were told a TWIST! The said twist negates all of the events of the book… UMM WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?! Why would you do all that after spending your blood, sweat and tears writing this action packed story with a beautiful, compelling world?!?!?!?!
As a reader…
I enjoyed this book until the end! I don’t object to the love interest happening and I would LOVE to see the return of Roan’s circle of friends… I ADORE books where family is a mega part of the story. Dun, dun, dun… so I WOULD MOST DEFINITELY read the next book in this series… BEST 3 star book I’ve read!
Hidden Fantasy! Contemporary! Animals! Diversity! Family! World Building! World Killing Monsters!
Another problem I had with the book was the random POVs. Roan was the only consistent POV but she wasn’t THE only POV… I like multiple POVs and actually Beiko has skill in that area… BUT NOT RANDOM ones!! I really dislike it when we just get to read a character once and never again… its cheating as a writer!
Instead I would have the villainous owl Eli take a POV from the start and use him to create more tension and better pacing earlier in the book. We could have learned about Natti earlier through him and she wouldn’t have seemed such an after thought! This would have also given the reader an opportunity to understand the struggle Eli was going through and what kind of person he was internally…
As a writer who is writing with four POVs I can tell you right now that it increases your plotting creativity and forces you to fix story problems and inconsistencies, develop better plot, and deeper relationships!
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Premise & World Building
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Cover & Title
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Development & Storycraft
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing & Narrative
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Relationships
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Feelings
Animal centered world fighting world crushing monsters!
How do you feel about ends? Do you think they should decide the final star rating?
Are you interested in books with ZERO romance? Or would you prefer romance being a side part of the story?
Do you want to read Scion of the Fox now?
Thanks for reading XOXO