Monday, 23 July 2018

Moroda

Moroda

by L.L. McNeil

3.5 out of 5

Synopsis
‘If one dragon burned the city of Niversai to the ground in a single night, how would we fare if a hundred besieged our world?’

Moroda’s life is thrown into turmoil after she is publicly arrested—her city is destroyed and she narrowly escapes the chaos on a sky pirate’s airship. But she finds no salvation outside the blackened city walls; a vigilante from an exiled race has left a trail of destruction everywhere his growing army has travelled. With compulsion at his fingertips, he strengthens his hold over Linaria’s people by stealing the power of dragons. It’s only a matter of time before she, too, is forced to submit.

With war nipping at her heels and danger lurking in her companions and adversaries, Moroda must quickly learn about herself, her world, and the dragons so intent on reducing it all to ash.



Review
After the death of her father, Moroda's world is in a downward spiral; but soon she ends up the unlikely ally to a sky pirate, a half-beast, and shapeshifters. What started as a simple dragon hunt soon turns into a bigger adventure.

I bought a paperback copy when the author attended a comic con in Doncaster, which was pretty cool.

The story follows Moroda, a young noble woman who loses everything when her father dies. Soon, all she has left is her little sister, and her wits.
Her personal struggle is put into perspective when her city is attacked by a dragon. In a bid to escape the destruction, they end up befriending a couple of weapons-traders, and a sky pirate.

This is an epic road-trip (or sky-trip) adventure, as a bunch of very unlikely allies are thrown together, as they chase answers, safety, and try to escape the villain. It's a story of discovery, and magic, and breaking your own limits. It builds a nice foundation for the rest of the Linaria stories.
It feels original, and an interesting take on the world of fantasy, whilst still feeling familiar.
There's a whole history for Linaria and it's countries, with inevitable battles, and prejudices coming from generations of discord. This is echoed by the tension between the diverse group of people that band together through necessity; but slowly it hints at friendship and (begrudging) respect.

The not-so-good.
Moroda is a side character in the novel with her name on.
She introduces you to the world, and the other characters, and I suppose readers may feel a connection with her, because she's an everywoman. In this book, she is nothing special. She is a passenger, and nothing about her stands out.
It was constantly in the back of my mind - why did this group of skilled people and experienced travellers, allow Moroda and her sister to join them. Sure, they were getting away from the threat of dragon attacks, but there were plenty of quiet villages on the way to drop them off. This wasn't a pleasure cruise, and it's clear they find these little lordling's daughters useless.
Moroda only seems to have a vague interest in travelling to find answers, and her sister Eryn is dead-set against it, at some points, often asking when they are going home.

With the exception of Amarah and Sapora, I found the rest of the cast very samey.
They each had their turn to narrate, but there was nothing in their voice or personality that made them stand out. 
The worst was probably Eryn, who is a shadow to Moroda's character. She has no purpose of her own, she's just there to bolster Moroda when needed, or provide a conversational partner so they can discuss certain facts.
I also felt we got told a lot of stuff about these characters and their histories. During their musings and conversations, you get an in-depth background for each of them.
This meant that when tragedy did strike (and it was an awesome move), I wasn't emotionally invested enough for this to hit as hard as it should.

As I said, only Amarah and Sapora stood out for me. They were both opinionated, and vastly different to the rest of the crew. I loved Amarah, and I kind wished this was her story, as that would be so much fun.

Overall, this was a 3.5 out of 5 for me. It's a decent debut, and the series has plenty of promise.

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