Born of Water, by Autumn M. Birt
Rise of the Fifth Order, Book One
Originally Reviewed 2015/08/16 on Amazon.com
Young protagonists in an interesting, dangerous world.
The story begins with Niri, a young priestess on a mission she’d rather not have. She failed in her first try, and now has to make good before it is discovered. Niri quickly discovers things were not as they seemed, and her world comes unraveled. I was intrigued.
Born of Water takes place in a setting far from the usual fantasy world. There are no hierarchies of kings and nobles, and no dark lord lurking in the shadows. There are no prophecies and no chosen one, and the villains, more or less, already control most of the known world. There is no long, slow set up in some idyllic backwater village. Instead, four young people have to almost immediately navigate the unknown while tremendous danger comes their way.
The characters themselves are believable – they are very young, and they act like it – and to me that rings more true than teenagers with the wisdom of ages. I think Ty, who may be meant to be a brooding, angsty anti-hero, strikes a discordant note, but otherwise I found them likable and engaging. Niri is slightly older than the others, and while not world-wise, she’s gone through things that give her greater maturity and make her the plausible, natural leader of the four. It is easy to care for her, and want her to succeed in helping them all stay alive.
Like some other reviewers, I was at first thrown off by the tendency to start chapters somewhere in the beginning of the action, and then reveal how things got there through conversation and flashbacks. However, once I got used to it, I saw how the author makes good use of it as a dramatic device. The quality of the writing is excellent, and those who start with assumptions about indie authors are in for a pleasant surprise.
This was a fantastic start to the larger story, and I eagerly continued on the the second and third books.