You may have recently seen Chronicles of Irindia as one of the recent Feature Friday books–well, not only did I decide to feature this fantasy story, I also read it!
The first book of this series sets up both the protagonist (David) and the people in the world of Irindia with whom his fate will be intertwined. David is like any other 13 year-old; he enjoys video games, sometimes argues with his parents, and wants to just find a comfortable space to belong in. However, his life becomes rather uncomfortable when he’s transported to Irindia and the prophecy of a hero, the Gatherer, is foisted upon him.
David must learn to fight, to wield magic, and guard his mind. He must do these all the while escaping the evil clutches of the dark wizard Draga who will stop at nothing to gain ultimate power and dominance. All the more interesting is the fact that David’s appointed guardian and teacher is Draga’s estranged brother, Suma.
I enjoyed the characters Watson introduces, and he does a splendid job at constructing and describing a rich and detailed world with many races, traditions, and magic. The narration and introspection add to what I believe is a very solid story. There are even little moments along the way that I found humorous or endearing (I instantly liked Lazo, and the bartering Suma the wizard). Another character I liked was Gindu, and I was engrossed with the Empress Alassa and her predicament of being a prisoner of Draga’s. Would she yield control of the Gate and allow Draga’s demon master through? What possible threats could the dark wizard leverage against her and did she have the strength to stand it? Alassa is one brave young woman, and I think the author did an excellent job at portraying both her strengths and vulnerabilities.
With that said, I did feel that Alassa’s peril could have been more developed so that I as a reader would feel there was more of a danger or threat. Instead of her hearing Draga tell her about raided villages, maybe he should’ve lined up villagers in front of her and have them executed. That would’ve been much more hard-hitting and less abstract. Also, though Draga couldn’t kill Alassa because he needed her alive and to willingly relinquish the gate, he could’ve gotten more creative with his persuasion. For example, why not inflict Alassa with a spell that would make her ugly, or cause her to be in unbearable physical pain? Alassa has a younger brother who Draga imprisoned and threatened to harm, but since Draga (unbeknownst to Alassa) needs the young prince for another scheme, he’s not really intent on harming the boy (yet). So it seems Draga’s “threat cards” are really smoke, at least for the time being.
Something else I feel compelled to mention is that there were some missing words and misspellings which caused some stumbling, but this may have just been the version I received. Other than that, I did enjoy my ride through Irindia with David and his allies, and I must reiterate that I loved the characters as much as the mythical world Watson created.
This is the first book of a series, and I definitely want to read the second one because there’s no way I’m willing to let the story end for me 🙂 I want to see David grow and come into his own, I want to continue with characters like Suma and Alassa. There was some good intrigue too (I LOVE intrigue), and the world is so rich and vivid that I know there is more to explore. Chronicles of Irindia (Book 1) is a solid start to what promises to be a fun and engrossing fantasy read.