The world of Salinor is one of magic and lies, and as one unravels, so does the other. With the reverberations of the War of Beginning felt in every corner of the world, heroes must rise to meet the new dawn to come…
Identity by Samuel Alexander is the second book of the Salinor the Beginnings trilogy, and follows on successfully from the debut title, Revelations. Like the first book in the series, Identity boasts an engaging and creative fantasy world with a focus on characters and the peoples as the world begins to change.
The mystical aspects of the fantasy world are brought down to focus in this title more than ever, with more emphasis on the mortals and their struggles with their unrequested rulers. As a sequel, the world seems to have already taken steps toward the end of the Tyrant’s grasp, and the book builds to the climax promised in the finale. With sex, spell-slinging, and good old-fashioned fights, there’s plenty to get into for avid fantasy fans.
Alexander makes no secret that he has no real formal education and has been brave enough to simply put his work out there, and for the most part it doesn’t show. He has a very strong concept of how to write engagingly, with a solid structure and well-conceived characters. Writing a saga with multiple viewpoints and stringing them together effectively is a complex task that Alexander pulls off very well in this series so far.
The problems with the book mostly revolve around small technical issues that do have a cumulative effect on the overall read. While the world is well-constructed and the characters presented well, the writing itself is full of very minor quirks and affectations that affect clarity, rather than seeming like a stylistic choice. The dialogue especially is often stilted, with sentences frequently paced with equal rhythms and lacking in the right hints of intonation to make the text flow naturally.
Additionally, there are a few clichés at several points that could have pushed the boundaries of fantasy more than they have here, effective as these moments may be. The biggest issue is a flat ending clearly made to lead directly into the last title, rather than delivering its own punchy conclusion, but it should certainly push readers to the next book in the series.
For fans of Revelations, Identity is more of what made the first book in the Salinor trilogy appealing, making it a successful sequel overall. Identity is a proper elaboration on the world of Salinor, and although this title ends with little fanfare, it’s an enticing set-up for the grand finale to come. The quirks in Alexander’s writing are by no means a deal breaker, so for anyone hooked by this world, the book really improves on the first book in the series, with more ambition and inventiveness, as should be the case with the middle book of a trilogy. Living up to the title, the series finds its “identity” here, and really shows Alexander’s ability to deliver a fulfilling fantasy saga.
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