Orphan’s Price

...if you enjoy YA fantasy, this is probably a series to follow if you enjoy the writing....

Ren is an orphan surviving in the Pearl Nation, a kingdom currently known for it’s lack of magic, but skill with technology. While the other children excel in those areas, Ren has some magical ability and dreams of passing the tests to become a sorcerer. Bullied for being different, Ren’s powers manifest unexpectedly injuring his attacker and placing his dreams in jeopardy. Seeking the advice of one of the few people in the Nation who have trained in magical arts to a degree, he finds that he has more ability than anyone expected, but that leaves him with some hard choices to make.

This is the first in a series following Ren on his journey to become a sorcerer. It introduces the world he lives in and helps to set some of the scene for later books. It has some interesting ideas that should be fleshed out well in later books, although in this short tale it cannot mention everything that is occurring. As a character, Ren is a bit of a blank slate, although yet to grow into any role, whereas some of the side characters are already more interesting to follow, or at least will be if they are included in the future. The plot for this first is fairly simple, buoyed out by filling in the background, and provides a good start to Ren’s adventures.

There are a couple of things that did strike me as odd. In the prologue, we get introduced to someone you would expect to be raising Ren, only to find that has completed changed by the first chapter. In some ways, you almost wonder why include it, other than to provide a little deus-ex for Ren’s start in life. It’s not the only discontinuity, but is actually odd if you think about Ren’s thoughts later on about who he remembers, but who is mentioned more often.

Overall, if you enjoy YA fantasy, this is probably a series to follow if you enjoy the writing and the setup of the world.

Rating: 3
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