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The War of Undoing by Alex Perry – SPFBO Review

The War of Undoing by Alex Perry – SPFBO Review
Book Name: The War of Undoing
Author: Alex Perry
Publisher(s): Self-published
Formatt: Paperback / Ebook
Genre(s): Fantasy
Release Date: April 8, 2015

“My name is Tay Raining, and this is my brother Ellstone. I wonder if you’ve heard of us . . . I have a birthmark shaped like a question mark on my hand, I think it might mean something but I’m not sure what. My brother is probably important too, though I can’t imagine how. I’m rambling now, sorry. The point is . . . the point is, we are the Rainings, and we’re here to save you.”

War is brewing in Kyland, as the shadowy, spell-weaving vumas rebel against the human government, but both sides have secret weapons at their disposal. The humans’ secret weapon: a plan that could be the undoing of the world. The vumas’ secret weapon: three young humans abandoned in the smog-shrouded town of Tarot – Tay, Ellstone, and Miller Raining. The Rainings could be the key to winning the war, but first they’ll need to work out whose side they are really on.

This book made it to the finals and that says it is a good book. It beat 30 other books in its group and reached the final 10. Well done, Alex Perry!

However, with so much of this process, the SPFBO, and books in general, it all comes down to taste. There are some books that you fall in love in with straight away and others that you just don’t click with. Sadly, our judges felt The War of Undoing fell into that last category – we just didn’t gel with it.

There are some positives to this book. The prose is fluent and functional – a style aimed at telling the story. It is also worth mentioning that there is a lot in this book to absorb. It unfolds at a slow pace, giving the reader lots of time to take it in. Some prefer faster paced novels, but there is a definite market for a slow burning story and this definitely fits the bill.

The main problem identified by our judges were the characters. The story would begin and the reader become interested, and then the characters would do something irritating, annoying, and the book would be put down for a few days. Picking it up again, recalling the interest in the story and the world, the same cycle would repeat. This made it difficult to sympathise, empathise or care for the characters.

Throughout the book there are some passages which aim for a humour, especially in the dialogue, but these moments do not always suit the scene. Where there should be edge-of-the-seat moments of suspense our judges rolled their eyes.

During the unfolding of the story, the three siblings watch out for each other but there is little that seems to join them together as a family. When one almost drowns, another does, as you’d expect, go to their aid, but there is a strange disconnect between the action and emotion that should go along with it. The older brother waves them off into a possible dangerous situation with nary a care.

There is enough in the worldbuilding, in the rise of conflict, to keep a reader interested and as the book progresses the story develops. As many of the other reviews mention, the second half is told at a faster pace than the first. Sadly, the book, for us, did not work as well as we hoped it would. I’m sure there are others out there that will have a different experience.


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