31433891OK, this cover is just creepy. Fitting to the story, but it’s just blowing my mind.

The Birth of Death is Book#1 in ‘The Legacy of Evorath’ series and the blurb is rather long on Goodreads so here is a quick snippet:

Meet Artimus, the head investigator for the elvish kingdom of Erathal who begins to notice the flaws in his apparently perfect society. As he develops feelings for Savannah, a beautiful elvish druid hiding an important secret, he struggles to separate his personal feelings from his responsibilities to the kingdom.

In a nearby center village, the young warrior Irontail struggles to distinguish himself in a tribe where independent thought is discouraged. When their paths cross, they both discover that their own people’s shortcomings may be the least of their concerns. Putting aside their own personal troubles, they must fight against the clock to ensure the very survival of their peoples. As they work towards this common goal, they find that they each have their own, unique gifts to offer. But, will they be strong enough to survive?

I really really wanted to love this book but I didn’t. I didn’t hate it either. I liked it. So, what, Mrs Moany-pants, wasn’t to your liking this time, I hear you ask?

That romance mentioned in the blurb in between Artimus and Savannah not only confused me at times but I found it quite unnecessary to the whole story.Why confused? Because they had built a pretty steady foundation for their relationship and then they let the flame die out because the world is in danger, right? When they rekindled it, it was like they didn’t know each other at all, again, and I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Also, I didn’t really get a sense of Artimus ‘struggling trying to separate his personal feelings from his responsibilities to the kingdom’. I could not see a big deal as to those two being involved and really, the ‘romance’ bit is so light and only scratches the surface and didn’t really add a ‘painpoint’ to the whole story.

As for Irontail, the centaur, I wish he would have been the main character. Not alongside Artimus, not alongside the harbinger of Death but in his own true solitary glory. Irontail was by far the bestest, most intriguing character in my eyes. I loved his development from a follower to a leader, his mindset changing from ‘this is what I have been told’ to ‘I can now see through all the lies’.

I found a couple of ‘filler’ scenes distracting me- Savannah cooking, for a full paragraph. Opening tubs and pots and pans and grinding a flower into powder to make salad dressing. Yeah, that didn’t really keep my attention. Another filler paragraph which made my eyes glaze over was when Artimus was dressing up for the battle. In hindsight, however, these laid back filler scenes were a great contrast to the evil and death.

There was perhaps too much happening. So, we have the evil to fight, as per usual. But then there’s the romance. And then there’s the underground operation pushing for a revolution because the Crown is blind and the people suffering. Yes, it did all tie into a full-bodied story but it took the focus off the villain. I understand that this is a series so all the action I want to see around the changes coming for the elvish Kingdom will probably be in the next book.

Having gotten those niggles off my chest I would like to point out that any story is just better when there are elves involved. I guess if you go into an epic fantasy, elves are a given. The other really interesting characters were the Dryads. The only way I could describe them would be ‘forest fairies’ except with a lot more ammunition and power than your regular Tinkerbell. I would have liked to have met more of them Dryads. Very intriguing and they have so much more to give to the story…

The world building was mega. I really liked the different ‘races’. The lizocks, centaurs, lamia, felites, etc… I always enjoy nature-inspired characters and settings. Kind of woodsy. And the villages for each ‘race’ were described beautifully.

I also liked the controversial underground ‘operation’. Can’t really go wrong with people taking it upon themselves to fight the powers that be for justice and equality. So, a slight political tone which I always love. Corruption and over fed ‘leaders’ always add an element of irritation to the story and as a reader, I always want to see their fall.

My rating: 3*** I am rating it higher for the ideas and world-building alone. I truly believe the next book in the series will answer all of the questions that I was looking answers for in the first book, so essentially, book #1 really set a good foundation for the series.

*I received a copy of the book directly from the author for an honest review. My review copy had a few silly errors in the book: wrong words where they shouldn’t be, some typos. Not a big deal for me, but I can see how it could bother some readers.*