Author: Erin Summerill
Series: Clash of Kingdoms #1
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 27th, 2016
Edition: Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Purchase: Amazon US | Kobo | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | iBooks | BAM
Seventeen-year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.
However, it’s not so simple.
The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
This book was a really enjoyable read. That being said, I'm not convinced that this book knew what it wanted to be.
The romance is nicely woven through the story and doesn't take too much of a front seat, even though it is a larger part of the story than the magic aspect. Something that I really hope gets more explaining. I understand that we are supposed to be reading this story from Britta's perspective and she doesn't know anything about Channelers. But this is supposed to be a two-book series, and I think there could have been more explanation from someone and less faffing about and angsting over stuff. There was an annoying amount of it. It wasn't so much romanced based but more of a "You left me alone for over a year, and I had nothing and almost died." kind of deal. Which is understandable that she would be angry at the person who was her only friend for doing something like that, but she took more than half the book to confront him on that, and it just bothered me.
This book tried to focus on too many things with not enough time to do it in. There was a war they were trying to stop, a king they were trying to save, a killer they were trying to expose, and magic that Britta was trying to learn and understand. Some things felt a little rushed and glossed over. It needed better back story than we got too. It's never really fully explained why the previous king banned Channelers. At least not that I noticed, though it's likely I missed it.
As for the characters, they were actually pretty good. Britta is a very well balanced character. She knows how to protect and take care of herself, she can hunt, knows how to fight fairly well. But unlike a lot of characters that have these same skills, she doesn't have an "I can do everything on my own and don't need anybody." mentality. She can take care of herself and do most things on her own but doesn't exactly mean she wants to. I think too many authors focus too much on making their female characters 'strong' and neglect on making them human and relatable.
Cohen was kind of bland. And I never got a clear picture of what he looks like, how tall he is, his hair, eye, and skin color. Britta often explains him being big and muscular. But I don't recall if it's ever mentioned what his coloring is. I'm going to assume he's caucasian because all the other characters in their country are, but beyond that, I can't picture him. He also has a very predictable personality. He filled the trope of the assumingly unattainable love interest.
The rest of the characters were mostly guards, and they were mostly throwaway characters that were also not really described but filled a role/trope. The head guard; tough, down to business type, Leif; the kind one, Thomas(I think that's his name I already forgot); the cold-hearted mean one. And a handful of guards that were never really given names or personalities.
The book was an enjoyable read, I didn't hate my time reading it, but it was predictable and a little bland at times. The world wasn't really that developed and it needed more than was given. And I don't think that this story she is trying to tell can be told on only two books without feeling like there are missing parts.