Book Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ (DNF @ Page 114)
Zercey was living a normal, unassuming life. Then one day, she is pulled by mysterious means to Illthdar: the land that logic and reason forgot. Forced into training beneath the Order of Mana, Zercey begins to hone in on her abilities while making friends like Vyxen, Scyanatha, Nyuma, and Abaddon during her training. Together, they fight foes and explore their heritage…all while training to be Illthdar’s Guardians.
I interviewed Rachel Garcia back in June as part of my launch event, and had a ton of fun learning about Illthdar. But, frankly, I wasn’t sure if this book would be for me despite the fun conversation we had. It sounds like a great premise: a bunch of individuals from all sorts of worlds transported into a land with logic or reason. What fun! But the back cover didn’t draw me in at first glance.
I gave it the benefit of the doubt though, especially after talking with Rachel. But as soon as I opened the book, the formatting immediately caught me off guard. Perhaps I just got a badly printed version of the book, so I won’t hold that against the author at all. I decided to push onwards.
The book starts like any traditional portal fantasy novel: we meet Zercey as she is dealing with her friend’s complaints, and a wish for a greater life than what she had. Sudden, she finds herself transported to Illthdar…and in the course of one chapter she goes through training and adapts to Illthdar without much chance for the reader to understand where she ended up. Woven in with exposition about the world, as a reader I struggled to connect with Zercey’s plight, and as more characters popped up, they blended in one after the other.
I really did try to continue with this book. The premise is fun. In a way, it reminds me of a video: you’re thrown into this chaotic world and have to train quickly, sort of like Legend of Zelda or Skyrim. But, the execution just didn’t work for me, and I knew by the time I crossed 100 pages I had to make a decision: continue the book and possible rate it very low, or be fair to myself and to the author, DNF the book, and not give a star rating.
I chose the latter at page 114.
Illthdar: Guardians of Las just wasn’t for me. While it wasn’t written badly, in fact the grammar was impeccable, the pace bounced from one thing to another way too quickly. For me, pacing is critical to whether or not I finish a book. I personally struggled to keep track of the characters as well as the events; this might be because I read very fast as well. If I had slowed down, I might have absorbed more of the story.
While this book wasn’t for me, don’t let the fact I didn’t finish it prevent you from reading about Illthdar. If you like fast-paced books, multi-faceted casts, diverse casts, and a land without logic or reason…then Illthdar: Guardians of Las might just be for you.
What’s it about?
Welcome to Illthdar, the land that logic and reason forgot. The ways to Illthdar are many, be it through freak weather events, rabbit-holes, mirrors, plant circles or magical wardobes. The way out of Illthdar, as the Half-bloods who unwittingly find themselves there discover, is a horse of a different colour.