Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Book Review: The Scythian Trials by Elizabeth Isaacs

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: The Scythian Trials
Author: Elizabeth Isaacs
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Pages: Paperback; 372
Release Date: October 23, 2018
Source: TLC Book Tours / Author
Content Screening: Mild Fantasy Violence

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy fast paced stories with plenty of twists.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon

Descendants of the Amazons, the Scythians work alongside prominent governments but answer to no one. Warriors living on the fringe of civilization, they live by one credo: Strength through Equality. Power through Knowledge.

Nya Thalestris is the brightest Scythian of her generation. Strong, capable, ruthless, she is sure to earn a spot in the Trials, a time-honored mating ritual responsible for the evolution of her species.

Abducted by their sworn enemy, the Drahzda, Nya is forever altered and spirals out of control. The Society sends in Jax Nickius. Infamous psychologist and one of the most brutal warriors of their kind, he discovers triggers planted in Nya’s mind. As Nya solidifies her spot in the Trials, Jax develops a plan to help—while pursuing her as a mate. But, Nya’s attraction to Jax is at war with her instinct to never let anyone get too close.

During the Trials, Nya’s repressed memories surface, revealing a new enemy—one from inside the consulate walls—and a traitorous alliance on the horizon that could irrevocably change the course of history.

Since before the Bronze Age, the Society has managed to safeguard humanity from itself … until now.

First off, credit where credit is due, this an absolutely stunning book cover. That's admittedly the first thing that drew me to The Scythian Trials. Secondly, I should start with the fact that I actually did enjoy this book overall. I'm fairly picky about my Sci Fi and Fantasy, especially when it comes to world building, so I wanted to get that out in the open. I'll do my best to share all the positives first, and then come around to why this book didn't quite click with me the way that I would have liked.

Let's start with Nya, our enigma of a main character. Part of the Scythian tribe, and therefore descended from Amazons, Nya's whole purpose in life is to be the best. Unfortunately for her, she's hampered by the fact that her memories are mysteriously locked away. There are secrets buried there, and trying to overcome them is Nya's main burden. This whole concept is actually the main reason why I enjoyed Nya as our lead. She has a strong will, but is inherently weakened by her mental barriers. Watching her grow as a person, while battling her inner demons, made me love her more. I was rooting for her, and it made this story fly by.

In terms of plot, this book definitely pushes forward at a manic pace. There is barely time to breathe as Nya's life barrels onward, allowing the reader to start to uncover what she's been unwittingly hiding this entire time. There are stirrings of war, the tiny flame of a budding romance, and more action than it seems can fit in one book. I admit that I love a quick pace, but I also felt like the book kind of skimmed over some of what I really wanted to know about Nya and her world. I felt slightly unmoored the entire story.

And there lies my issue with this book. The action is so forefront, and Nya's place in all the intrigue is so much the focus, that there really isn't any time for world building or back story. This book very much feels like the second in a series, where the author assumes that the reader already knows the characters and the setting intimately. There were flashbacks that attempted to fill things in, but I honestly believe that this book would have benefited from just a little time to settle the reader into their surroundings. I wanted to know more about the society, especially because their advanced world seemed so fascinating. I'm a reader who needs footing, and I wasn't given any.

So, as I mentioned when I started this review, I really did enjoy this book overall. Nya's story was intriguing, the plot moved lightning fast, and the twists kept me guessing. If only there were more attention to world building, this would have been a higher starred read for me. As it stands, I give this a solid three rating. There's definitely something starting here that I like, and I'm ready to see what comes next.

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.


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