Ahoy there me mateys! I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
the sieve (C.A. Caskabel)
Title: the sieve
Author: C.A. Caskabel
Publication Date: September 13, 2016 (paperback/e-book)
This was one of those fantasy novels where the cover caught me eye:
Not only was the face on the cover odd but the “Drakon” made me wonder if there were dragons in it. I have a soft spot for dragons. The synopsis sounded interesting so I requested it. Of course by the time I read the book I had forgotten what it was about. I actually think that contributed to me enjoyment of the story.
The story is of a “hero” Da-Ren who has fled to a monastery asking for redemption for his wife and daughter. The monks there require that he tell his story in detail and assign a young monk to transcribe the tale. The author has chosen to split this epic fantasy in four parts. This novel was part one and deals with Da-Ren’s training in the Sieve.
I enjoyed this setup from the monk’s point of view. We approach Da-Ren’s story from the end point knowing that he has been labeled the “First Blade of the Devil.” The monk’s insight into Da-Ren’s character set the tone for the reader learning Da-Ren’s tale. While most of the story is told from Da-Ren’s point of view, the author does returns to the monk’s viewpoint. I didn’t always enjoy the interruption.
The Sieve is a coming-of-age trial for children of the tribe. Da-Ren is an orphan raised in the dregs of society. It is a warrior based society where both men and woman can have high roles if they earn it. The spiritual side of the tribe is controlled by women who are witches (though men play a part as well). I enjoyed that there were some strong female characters. Da-Ren being an orphan, in this culture meaning his mother has died, is placed outside the usual structures. He is uneducated, mistreated, and considered worthless to the tribe.
I found Da-Ren to be a compelling character and narrator. The society was rich with tradition and detail. The myths in particular were compelling and enriched the narration. The trial itself was very unusual in its composition. I found this novel overall to be highly enjoyable and read it in one sitting. While there were some inconsistancies in the story, I am not sure if they were part of the overall larger picture or just mistakes. In any case, I thought it was a great introduction to a fun character and worldview and I certainly want to know what’s coming next.
So lastly . . .
Thank you AuthorBuzz!
Netgalley has this to say about the novel:
“I am here to redeem the lives of my wife and daughter. I’ve brought the offering.”
Da-Ren, an infidel barbarian, arrives at the Castlemonastery, his only offering a jar of honey. Baagh, the Cross Sorcerer, follows him there under orders of the Emperor, demanding from the monks to transcribe the warrior’s story.
Book I chronicles Da-Ren’s early years, growing up in a tribe of archer riders and pagan witches, camped north of the Blackvein River. He enters the Sieve, the forty-day initiation trial that determines the fate of every boy and girl. Many of his comrades will fall, the strong will join the warriors, and an elite few will be marked for leadership. Da-Ren learns to endure the elements, to obey the Truths, to keep standing when all hope is lost. He swallows the legends of the Ouna-Ma witches, learns to hate all other tribes, and conquers fear.
And yet there is one trial that will bring him to his knees. The Goddess’s favorite daughter. “Brown-haired, brown-eyed. Brown was the first color of the day.”
The journey begins for the man who will become the First Blade of the Devil.
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