Title: Heart of the Mirage (Book 1 of The Mirage Makers)
Author: Glenda Larke
The Exaltarch rules the Tyranian Empire through force and a network of spies known as the Brotherhood. In KArdiastan, Tyrans have forced out the Magor ruling class and imposed their own leaders.
Ligea Gayea, one of the top agents of the Brotherhood, is ordered to find a Kardiastan rebel leader and bring him to justice. A Straightforward enough assignment for her, but all Ligea finds is mystery upon mystery. The rebels seem able to come and go at will, and any attempt to pursue them across the desert ends in disaster.
Ligea has to face her own demons and her own violent past to discover the secrets of Kardiastan...
What I liked:
- Some cool scenarios, like crossing The Mirage
- Even has some social commentary that got to me a little
- The ending sets up an intriguing follow-up
What I didn't like:
- Plot and characters seem a little TOO predictable
- A little too slow in the beginning
- Too much mushy mushy bits! Gah!
- Somehow, I didn't really like Ligea as a main character. A bit too 'uppity' for my liking.
- The first person perspective makes it too convenient for the main character to just 'wonder aloud' her thoughts, as if she is INFORMING the reader.
The pace of the book, while a little slow in the beginning, does pick up halfway through the book, and by the end of the book, it does get interesting. However, somehow while reading the book, I kinda felt a little bit of deja vu, like I've read some of it here and there before.
In some parts, this book reminded me of a RPG-based fantasy books I've read before, what with all the romance, the sex, and the somewhat predictable characters and plot twists.
Of course, this is a rather straightforward fantasy novel. A rather linear plot (with a few deviations here and there), a rather er.. predictable heroine and supporting characters, some required magic, flashbacks, history and all... it does seem a little been there done that at times, unfortunately. There ARE bits and a few nice touches here and there that I really liked in the book, but overall, I'd have to reserve judgement on the series until the other books come out. Because IMHO, the first book unfortunately just does not have the strength to stand alone on its own.