#SPFBO Review: Larcout by K.A. Krantz
Phase 2 of The Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 2016 is officially underway! For the six-month period from November 1, 2016 to the end of May 2017, we will be reviewing the ten finalists chosen by the blogger judges from the first phase of the competition. For full details and the list of books, see our SPFBO 2016 page.
Series: Fire Born, Blood Blessed Book #1
Publisher: K.A. Krantz (2015)
Author Info: KAKrantz.com
Wendy’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Vadrigyn Le Sri is of the Morsam — the halfbreed children of the goddess of fire. Fire and venom run through her veins, screaming for death, but Vadrigyn is not some monster without reason. She is certain that the only way to escape her prison world where kill or be killed is the only motto is to prove to the male gods that she is more than the fire in her blood. They give her the chance to prove herself by plucking her out of Agenwold and tossing her into the Jewelled Nation of Larcout. Here, battles are fought with magic and the mind, which Vadrigyn must learn to master if she is to unravel the mystery of her mother’s decades old crime and the current politics of which she is the key to everyone’s undoing.
I immediately fell for Vadrigyn upon meeting her. She is a gruff warrior woman raised to take nothing for granted. Thrown into the fancy world of high court, she stands out like a sore thumb, or in her case, the poisonous Dorgof parasites that extend from her palms. Everything about her is fierce and animalistic, from her wild hair to her fanged teeth and appetite for munching on precious stones, but Krantz balances this with Vadrigyn’s intelligence and the ferocity of her desire for change. She is out of place in both the world she is torn from and the world she is dropped into, but she makes no apologies for any of the myriad of things that make her different, including her parentage, even when her mother’s crimes and Vadrigyn’s apparent weaknesses are constantly thrown in her face.
Her instruction and mentorship in her new world is undertaken by her cousins, who feel they must band together to protect each other from the Le Sri shame brought down by Vadrigyin’s mother, and Le Zyrn, a high ranking man in the grand political scheme. Many others seek to use her for or against the throne, and it is Vadrigyn’s job to learn how to decipher this puzzle, and prove herself to the gods.
This is where the book started to teeter on the edge of boredom for me as Vadrigyn meets a plethora of potential friends and foes, many of whom are somewhat difficult to tell apart, and few of whom endeared themselves to me. While Vadrigyn remained an interesting character throughout, she did not necessarily change or grow in a way that the reader is allowed to see. Despite the story being told from her point of view, there is very little emotional depth in her character, though it could be argued that emotional depth is simply not her way. Vadrigyn is refreshingly open and calls everything as she sees it and we are privy to that through her thoughts, even when she does manage to hold her tongue in front of the blood-beings she must protect and protect herself from. In the middle of the book, Vadrigyn unwittingly begins to play the role of Nancy Drew, pointing out what ought to have been obvious to everyone else, but for the convenient fact that mind altering abilities are at play. The entire middle section could use some tightening up in order to address the lull that occurs while everyone takes the time to catch up to Vadrigyn’s revelations.
Both the magic and political system prove to be creative strong point in Krantz’s story, once the pieces start to fit together, and the overall prose is well written, save for a penchant for splitting off sentences from a paragraph for the sake of emphasis. Topped with an unusual heroine, this is a solid entry in the fantasy genre.