Equilibrium by C.S. Sealey


Published: July 2015 byMomentum
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Source: NetGalley
Reading Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015
Available: Momentum (electronic) ~ Amazon~ Kobo

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Generations after the Spirits abandoned the world, two mortal empires stand on the brink of a final battle to end a centuries-old conflict. Ayons in the north, Ronnesians in the south.

Washed up on the shore of a foreign land, Angora is thrust into a war not her own. Proclaimed one of twelve legendary mages — representatives of the Spirits — she is charged with protecting the innocent with magic beyond her imagination. However, when her allies mercilessly misuse their own powers, she begins to wonder which side of the conflict is the more righteous.

After the abduction of their ruler, the Ayons launch an invasion capable of destroying the Ronnesians once and for all. As the war rages on, Angora’s friends fight bravely as strongholds fall before the mighty crimson wave of the Ayon army.

But when all seems lost for the Ronnesians, a spark of hope is found in an infamous assassin and a fragile rebellion rising from the dust.

Equilibrium is an epic fantasy through and through. It tells the tale of two nations at war from multiple points of view, and the bigger picture is really the focus of the story.

It took me a while to settle into this book. Partly that was my fault, as I had to set aside the book early on to tackle something more urgent. However, it was also partly due to the many points of view. The book features a fairly large cast and I was four or five chapters in before the POV repeated. Nevertheless, it rewards patience and by Chapter Ten I was settling in.

Despite the size of the book, the chapters themselves are fairly short. This is due to the fact the story was serialised in six parts before being collected together in this volume. The size of the chapters made it easy to gulp down a few, even when I only had a little time for reading.

Points of view came from both sides of the conflict. This gave an interesting perspective on the war, with the flaws of both sides readily apparent. It also made it difficult to determine where my sympathies were supposed to lie. I changed my mind regarding some of the characters a number of times, coming to like some more and some less.

I felt the focus on the bigger picture came somewhat at the expense of the smaller picture. Some of the characters lacked depth; Queen Sorcha in particular seemed somewhat flimsy, blowing with the prevailing wind of the plot. There seemed little justification for the war, other than the generally-held belief that the two sides must fight. The description was fairly spare, though the action sequences–and the spell battles in particular–were nicely handled.

The e-format was a mixed blessing. On one hand, it made it difficult to flip back to the map, which ended up separated into four pieces and was rendered rather useless. On the other hand, it meant I didn’t have to handle a hefty trade paperback.

Overall, it wasn’t my cup of tea. However, neither was George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. I suspect that if you’re a fan of A Game of Thrones, this is the book for you.


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