Saturday, August 23, 2014

Brush with Darkness by Jamie Maltman

Brush with Darkness
Author:  Jamie Maltman
Publisher:  Testudo Press
Pages: 350
Release Date: March 18th, 2014
Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book I of Arts Reborn 

Creativity is magic, with imagination the only limit to its power. Yet others choose instead to channel the power of destruction. Or so the myths say. Neither has been seen in centuries—until now. 

Simon Baroba joined the Pazian legions to make a name for himself, rejecting his father’s failing business, and his late mother's faith. 

Shadush leads the Scentari and lusts for revenge on the Pazian Republic that stole his people’s land. And he will have it—through his mastery of the power of dark flames. 

In the aftermath of Shadush’s slaughter of the legion, Simon stumbles across his own buried creative abilities. As he explores the potential of his Talent with Elysia, the intriguing young woman who secretly creates sculptures of incredible beauty, Simon discovers much more about the evil magic he faces. 

In order to save his friends, himself, and the entire Republic, Simon must navigate a treacherous maelstrom of political intrigue and shifting allegiances, torn between ambition and curiosity, duty and love. 

ARTS REBORN is a new fantasy series set in the Republic of Pazh, home to diverse peoples and cultures, reminiscent of ancient Rome, Greece and the Mediterranean. It follows the story of the individuals touched by these opposing magical forces of artistic creation and malevolent destruction.

It is rare for a book to combine genres like Brush With Darkness does. War, art, and fantasy rarely mingle, especially in this way, but I did enjoy seeing the execution. While the beginning was a bit slow, eventually I found myself drawn into this world, and by the end I was fairly pleased with the outcome.

While I enjoyed the story overall, I will admit the opening was a bit slow for me. Military strategy and conversations tend to bore me, and a lot of the back story was hard to concentrate through. While the writing was good, I did find the pacing a little off in the opening. Then again, I like books with a little more action at the front, then world building afterwards. Another thing that made the story a little difficult to get into was all the different countries, ethnicities and unusual names. While some readers will really enjoy that, I tend to be a little lazy sometimes, and hate trying to keep track of a ton of unfamiliar locations, so they felt a little distracting from the story. Again, small things that won't bother a lot of people, but something to keep in mind if you're looking for an easy read.

The plot itself was unique. I liked the way magic is treated in this world, and how the characters use art as a means to fight. Not something you see every day. The love interest wasn't bad either, which was always a plus. It will be interesting to see where the author takes the story from here, and I think once you start getting into this series it makes it easier to keep up from book to book. The ending wasn't super exciting, but it was still a nice read overall.

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