Only one remains free.
So begins Siege of the Northland.
Ruth Rathband’s debut follows the story of a heroine destined to save her land, a young prince struggling to keep his kingdom free, and an unlikely band of warriors set against a greedy, corrupt king. Siege of the Northland delivers exactly what it promises: a fast-paced, intense adventure, featuring spiteful, short-tempered villains, sieges and skirmishes and a fight for freedom. It is a quick, easy read that offers a temporary reprieve from the challenges of real life, without particularly delving into heavy issues.
Simply put, it was fun.
However, there were some things that bothered me and tampered with my reading experience, the main of them being the constant head-hopping; the continuous view point shifts, aside from being confusing, prevented me from bonding with the characters, from caring and sympathizing with their misfortunes and their cause. I can’t shake the notion that this particular writing tactic does not leave much space for character development, for fleshing the heroes out, for giving them a solid backround, beliefs, emotions, and a unique voice; everything seemed superficial, their relationships were missing the depth I wanted and, in the end, I felt that I never knew them. All I got were glimpses of the persons they were supposed to be.
In addition, while the fast pace kept my attention, it also became a hindrance to the climax and the scenes intended to be powerful or meaningful; they were a tad unceremonious, they lacked the grandeur they ought to have had, since the book pertains to a desperate battle against an evil foe who has eliminated every opponent. In the same context, the world-building was feeble; even though it had the potential to explore the Tribe of Skea, the other races and cultures mentioned, even the back-story of the nations of the Great Crossland, all those subjects were barely touched.
Ruth Rathband orchestrated an intense race against time, but I believe there are many aspects to the story that could be filled, in order to present a well-rounded, intricate fantasy read. I wish her all the best in the competition and her future endeavors.