*Series: The Never Chronicles
Author: J.R. Wagner
Publisher: Live Oak Book Company
Pages: Paperback; 350
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Source: JKS Communications
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy Fantasy worlds with well described characters and events.
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
James has never known an ordinary life. As long as he can remember, he and his family have been on the run—moving from place to place, never settling down, never growing roots. Now, just when he’s on the brink of manhood, the very thing his family has been trying to prevent tears him from all he has ever known and thrusts him into a place where he is powerless and alone.
Bent on finding a way back, James must brave a place reserved for the worst of his kind. He quickly learns that the land itself poses a greater threat than its inhabitants and if he is to have any chance of returning, he must work with the very people he’s been raised to fear.
James has known magic since just after he was born. As a sorcerer, his skills are exceptional yet when he wakes in The Never, his abilities are gone. Armed with nothing but determination and the will to survive, he braves a land wrought with dangers, mysteries and temptations meant to ensnare both body and mind and prevent escape forever.
Exiled opens up a new world that Fantasy lovers will have a blast exploring. Here we are introduced to the "The Never", a place where people go who have been exiled from normal society. Mysterious islands, giant plants, man-eating reptiles, it all makes an appearance here. Couple this new world with the fact that the rest of the book is set in Europe circa the late 1800's, and you have a very fascinating setting to get lost in. Hands down, this was my favorite part of the book.
The characters are also very well done. J.R. Wagner takes ample time to make sure that the reader is not only immersed in the world the characters live in, but that they understand the characters in depth as well. By the time I was mid way into the book I was invested in the characters so wholly that I was rooting for them! That's a good feeling while reading a Fantasy novel, especially since the cast of characters is so large. I liked James a lot. Although he is impulsive, it's easy to see why. His spirit definitely makes him a great protagonist to follow.
What fell short for me was the flow of the story. Exiled is told in a way that alternates between different time periods and points of view. At the beginning I had no problem following along, and the story was moving nicely. However as things moved along it began to get pretty confusing. Flashbacks are common throughout the story and, although they are labeled with the date, after a bit I was lost as to what age the characters were at the time and who was speaking. My other problem was that there was no cliffhanger. I liked the story well enough, but what is to keep me reading on?
Overall, Exiled was a great read by the end. I wish the balance between description and interaction had been a little bit more equal, but I did enjoy the read! I'd love to see a little more development in the next book in the series and, perhaps, a little romance? I'm a sucker for that. Either way if you like Fantasy this is a read to give a shot! Let J.R. Wagner take you into The Never.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.