#SPFBO Review : The Child of Silence by Joseph O.Doran (The Burning Orbit Book 1)

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300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.

You can find my updates for batch 1batch 2batch 3, Batch 4 and Batch 5 by clicking on the  links.  My recent update in which I announced further cuts and two semi-finalists can be found here.

This week and next I will be posting reviews for the ten books I rolled forward to read fully.  Hopefully five reviews this week followed by an update and cuts and semi finalist announcements on Saturday.  I will then repeat this format the following week. I won’t be posting a rating for the books at this point.

ChildofsilenceChild of Silence is a remarkable book in so many ways and one that I enjoyed reading.

This is a story told by Aiata dal’Pelferta, daughter of Telorla dal’Pelferta (mpress to Calosoa) and fourth in line to rule the nation.  During childbirth Aiata suffered from a lack of oxygen which left her dependent on others for virtually all her basic everyday requirements.  For the most part she is disregarded, her mother and family believe she has no intelligence or cognisant abilities and she is treated, at best, with disgust and fear or, at worst, ill used and abused by one of her brothers who enjoys tormenting (aka torturing) her when he deigns to notice her at all.  She is frequently neglected and left to sit in discomfort in her room, however, the inattention of others allows her to enjoy the only thing which gives her any respite.  Aiata loves to eavesdrop and the fact that people regard her as passive means she is often overlooked or left in nooks and crannies where she can overhear conversations which are private or scandalous.  

So, as the book starts we get a feel for the world and how things are in the capital city of Chalorne.  The City sits on a mountain with concentric rings progressing downwards.  The higher the tier the more prosperous, affluent or noble, with the palace at the very peak.  The lower rings are inhabited by labourers who primarily suffer abject poverty and hunger.  The levels are connected by a skyway that magically transports people from level to level at superfast speeds.  The Colasoa are believed to be God’s touched and in fact they believe themselves far superior to everyone else.  They have magical ability known as Songthrust which works very similarly to compulsion and allows them control of their servants, army and the rest of the casted population.

There are a number of key characters.  Aiata narrates the story.  As the story begins she can be a little difficult to like.  She’s definitely bought into the whole ‘superiority’ feelings that the Colasoa believe and she can have some not altogether ‘nice’ thoughts on occasion.  But, I cut her some slack, her life is difficult to say the least and as the story progresses Aiata’s character arc is very impressive. Aiata has two brothers and a sister.  Her eldest brother, Bachan, is the only one to treat her with any sort of kindness.  Her other brother and sister, Jeliv and Keia, treat Aiata absolutely atrociously often resorting to outright torture.  On top of this Aiata is cared for by a clerica and eventually she accrues an impressive network of spies within the palace.  She also strikes a friendship with one of the Couriers.  The Couriers are feared and respected.  They wear special armour and helmets that give them, speed and strength plus the ability to read people’s thoughts and emotions.

The plot.  Well, there are quite a number of threads going on here.  The Calosoa are a nation intent on rule.  They wage on war on others, the defeated swell their ranks of servers and their coffers with wealth – although they don’t see fit to distribute this wealth and that feeds into another element of the plot – rebellion.  On top of this there are court politics with lots of jostling between the Empress and her children.  There is also another element to the story that I won’t elaborate on here but is an interesting development.

What I really enjoyed with this book is that the author has come up with a MC who is so very different from what I’m accustomed to.  Aiata has so many hurdles to overcome and really struggles.  And, the way she is written answered my little niggles or queries as the book progressed with a particularly impressive character arc.

In terms of criticisms.  Okay, I’m going to be brutally frank here and I will apologise for that upfront, but, this is over long.  Clearly, this is a labour of love and that shines through but at the same time there is just too much detail.  Even to the extent that  during action scenes there will be descriptions of the surroundings, which kind of lessens the momentum and pulls you out of the moment.  To be fair, as I already said, I do understand the desire to include everything and the world building is so rich with such a lot going on that no doubt it’s difficult to be ruthless with the red pen, but, this wordiness almost made me DNF this book and that would have been a real shame.  

In spite of the above though, I still thought this was an impressive read and I would recommend it.  You have to stick with the characters and the slightly bloated introduction to get to the real thrust of the story.

I received a copy courtesy of the author for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.

 

 

 

16 Responses to “#SPFBO Review : The Child of Silence by Joseph O.Doran (The Burning Orbit Book 1)”

  1. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    The main character looks very interesting here, and I believe it would offer a fascinating narrative journey, even despite the excessive wordiness of the story…
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      The MC is indeed interesting and unique especially as she develops and you become really attached to her – just a shame about the excessive wordiness.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Tammy

    The main character sounds pretty unique, I’m glad you enjoyed this😁

    • @lynnsbooks

      It really is very unique. It could do with cutting somewhat to tighten it up but I loved the premise.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I know what you mean reading a book feeling overly long. It must be difficult as an author to cut out the superfluous because everything probably feels important, but most of the time it’s really for the best.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Exactly, I totally understand how difficult it is to make the cuts necessary to tighten things up.
      Lynn 😀

  4. jessicabookworm

    Shame about the overpowering descriptions in places, but well done for getting through it, as it does sound like it was worth it in the end. I am looking forward to seeing who your winning is! 😃

    • @lynnsbooks

      It was definitely worth the time it took to complete, quite fascinating and unique. It just needs to be tightened a little.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Hundreds&Thousands

    Great post! I’ve nominated you for the Bookish Snob Tag 🙂 https://hundredsandthousandsofbooks.blog/2020/10/25/the-bookish-snob-tag/

    • @lynnsbooks

      Ooh, how lovely. I will take a look at that. Thanks muchly
      Lynn 😀

  6. waytoofantasy

    Sounds like this could just use a bit of an edit and it would be amazing.

  7. #SPFBO : Semi-Finalist and Cuts Announcement (2) | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] The Child of Silence is an impressive novel with a unique protagonist, some strong world building and a surprise ending.  There’s a lot going on in this one with rebellion and war and then an unexpected element at the conclusion. I enjoyed this although it could benefit from a little sharpening.  My review is here. […]

  8. sjhigbee

    Oh what a shame! I do hope the author listens to you and gets hold of a good editor – they are worth their weight in gold… And everyone needs someone who slaughters their darlings. Description is definitely NOT supposed to yank you out of the story! I was tempted to get hold of this one – I love the sound of the protagonist. But nope. Not reading yet another bloated fantasy story…

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, it is a shame in some respects because this is so unique and has a great MC. It needs a good edit and it would be perfect.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        It’s an abiding issue for self-pubbed authors – you need quite deep pockets when you initially start out, if you’re going to do it properly. Or very, very good, experienced friends!

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