4 stars out of 5.
The book blurb:
Once they were a band of mercenaries who shook the pillars of the world through their cunning, their closely guarded alchemical brews and stone cold steel. Whoever met their price won. Now, their glory days behind them and their genius leader in hiding, the warriors known as the ‘Twenty’ are being hunted down and eliminated one by one. A lifetime of enemies has its own price.
I recieved a free e-ARC of this book to review through NetGalley.
I’ve found this review quite hard to write as I had a love/hate relationship with this book. After hating the start I found myself loving the later stages. The beginning is hard going, the first chapter was really tough to get through and the second not much easier, I don’t write this often but I really didn’t enjoy it, even considering giving up on the book and it left me questioning, is it worth my time?
Some books pull you in right from the start, after the first few pages you just know that your in for an engrossing and captivating time. While with others it takes time for you to be pulled into the story and connect with the characters. Being honest, that’s the only reason why I didn’t give up on this book as I’ve had previous experiences where the beginning of a book has been poor but somewhere along I found that I’d start to really enjoy it and so, I decided to keep reading and……..I’m glad I did!
Snakewood is an interesting book with both bad points and good.
Firstly the bad:
-The start is hard to get through, it’s a slog and I could really see it putting some people off finishing the book.
-The language created takes some getting used to, praise to the author for creating a language but the meanings of the words aren’t explained and you have to pick them up yourself as you progress through the book, alot of the meanings are easy to guess but a page at the back listing the words and there meanings would have been a nice touch.
-The magic system, the only complaint I have about it is that I feel ‘magic’ is the wrong word to use to describe the system, as to me the plants used are more like drugs than magic.
Secondly the good:
-After the lacklustre start, the book improves, given your time it does get better and you find yourself becoming invested in both the story and the characters turning it into an captivating read.
-The writing is of a high quality and the author easily adds touchs of humour and emotion into the story.
-The idea of the book is intriguing and having both past and present story arcs adds an extra dimension to the story being told.
-I found the addition of some past deeds by the Twenty to be really interesting, it helps to show the reader both why they were so feared and why there leader Kailen was a genius.
-The cast of characters are all well developed and have their own individual traits and personalities.
-The mercenaries of the Twenty have depth to them and aren’t all portrayed with the usual stereotype of being just ‘bad guys’. In particular Gant and Shale have a deep friendship and the author does a great job of bringing their bond, camaraderie and familiarity with each other to life.
-Having different main POV character chapters works really well to tell the story and helps keep the book moving along at a decent pace.
-The world building is of a high standard, the author has created what feels like a vast world rich in lore, history and mythology.
-Being a tale of revenge, the overarching tone of the book is dark and the fight scenes match this showing a brutal and gritty combat.
-The magic/plant system is really unique and both well thought out and richly developed by the author.
-During the book the use of different types of plant to make various brews, poisons and antidotes is very in depth. I also liked that the brews aren’t used with no side effects to the characters and that there is in fact a cost and a price to pay for their usage.
Overall, I’ve rated Snakewood at 4 stars out of 5. While my complaints are only minor, I really did struggle through the start, however by the end my opinion of the book had completely changed and I had really enjoyed reading it.
It’s slightly flawed in places but it turns into an engrossing read. I’ll definitely be interested to read more from this author in the future.
Well worth your time and recommended to all fantasy fans.