Some of the fun with the different stories I read comes in the form of the narration style. You can do so much with the different perspectives, tenses, prose style and sometimes the way the story is told strikes me more than what the story is about. Such was the case with Justin Fike’s first three books in his Farshore Chronicles series. (Though, the what was just as fun, I will admit.)
1. Thoughts on the plot
The first three books in the omnibus edition of the Farshore Chronicles follow Charity, a thief sentenced to transportation from Byzantia. She travels to the Farshore colony, a place on the opposite end of the world from her home, where she is set to work out her prison sentence in the arena. There, she meets magical creatures the likes of which she thought were legends: an elf, a dwarf, a feral halfling, an orc, more. But Charity quickly becomes more than just a fighter in the arena and that leads her on a magical adventure that may or may not hold the fate of the world in her hands.
I really like the way that the stories in each book are woven together with the next. Each book has its own adventures, its own complete plot, but the overarching story creates something larger, more significant, than the individual plots on their own. However, it is also nice to have each story because of all the little pieces that make up the larger plot. They give you an inisght into the caracters, the world, and they are just entertaining in their own right.
2. Thoughts on the characters
Charity is a fantastic narrator. The story is told in first person perspective, so we get to see all the inner workings of her head and we get to figure out the reliability of her thoughts. Her personality shines through spectacularly well in the form of snark, precise action and a fair bit of causing trouble. As a main character, she shines through very well.
She is also a great vessel through which to explore the world, as she is learning about this forgotten land for the first time, just as the readers are. We learn about the magical creatures, the beings that live in this land, and the way in which it is revealed works very well for the story.
Of the characters, I think Charity is probably my favourite, but Sheska, the angry halfling (a species completely unlike what you would expect, but perfect for the story) is definitely a close second.
3. Favourite part
I think the growing connection between each of the characters as they create this band or found family is probably one of the best elements of the story. It allows for the character development to shine through very well, and by the end of book three, you feel poignantly for all the characters’ actions and reactions. And, of course, they get to defy expectations in creating such a band, which I always enjoy.
If I have a critique, it’s mostly to do with the endings of the books. If you are reading these first three books not in omnibus form—individually, possibly with gaps between books—then the endings of books one and two are desperately dramatic. The cliffhanger leads right into the plot of the next book and you really want to know more. The end of book three ties things up nicely, so there’s not a huge cliffhanger before book four (sort of like television series), but one and two do have the cliffhanger.
However, if you’re reading these books as the omnibus, all you have to do is turn the page and your questions will be answered so…the point may be moot.
Overall, these three books were a pleasure to read. They were entertaining, fast-moving fantasy adventure books with a snarky narrator, a world that was both familiar and different, and characters that really tugged at the heart strings. I definitely enjoyed these and would say that they were very good.