I rarely say ‘no’ to new experiences in books, which was why I was keen to read this book.
Title: Sword of Air
Author: RJ Madigan
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy
Available for purchase: iTunes (USD $3.99)
What’s it about?
This is a YA fantasy about Niamh, a young woman discovering the power she possesses, and her destiny and quest to save her world from the Raven Queen.
Who is the Raven Queen? What is Niamh’s true quest? A question which only Niamh herself can determine.
And as she fights for her life being hunted by the Fomor army controlled by the Raven Queen, Niamh is caught between 2 men – Lorcan, Crown Prince of the Fae who is rebellious and arrogant; and Rauri, her childhood friend, a talented tracker and hunter; and a fighter. Who will betray her? Who will stand by her side?
I’ll begin with the format of this book. This is a “multi-touch iBook”. As denoted by the ‘i’, it is available on iTunes and to be read on iPad and Apple computers only. The ‘multi-touch’ means it’s more than an ebook – there are some pretty cool interactive stuff within the book. Yes, interactive.
It’s FX in a book – so when images within the book are tapped – they expand or audio plays or 3-D rotations up close and personal or video/movie plays. This is my first multi-touch interactive book and it’s awesome. That is until the novelty wears off. Both my adolescent children had a look, and one of whom read parts of the book. They were intrigued by the effects but not for long.
The interactive parts can be considered an enhancement to book illustrations, but different. Utilising the same part of the brain, looking at book illustrations and reading the written words are complementary. However, reading then watching a movie, listening to sounds require a re-focusing on the written words. This irritates me at times.
Ultimately, I bought this book for the story. And for me, the interactive touches distract from the reading flow and can take the focus away from the novel.
Now onto the storyline – it is intriguing and engaging. The characters are attractive though some lack depth. Certainly, the relationship between Rauri and Niamh can be better developed.
Madigan’s writing is simple and lacking in complexity of structures at times. Simply put, it is more tell than show. Please do not be discouraged. Once I accept the simplicity of the writing, I am captivated by the story which unfolds. The plot is gripping, and has much potential beyond this book. Madigan has painted a vivid picture of this fantasy world of an altered medievil Ireland – that of the forest of Nadur and the Fae world.
There is good pacing in the plot. One thing did strike me – it is not quite believable that Maev, the Raven Queen, would believe in Niamh’s almost immediate capitulation – unless she believes Niamh is acquiescing for her friends and/or Maev’s frenzied mind wants her to believe so…? Perhaps this is Madigan keeping the reader in suspense for the next book in the series.
The ending seems a little protracted although it does provide a credible twist and a fantastic lead-on to the next book.
I recommend this book on 2 bases – it is worthwhile for writers to experience this new format, the interactive iBook; and the story is indeed captivating. It is suitable for young adult readers, especially those who have found reading to be a ‘novelty’ and need some motivation to persevere.
Do read Madigan’s post on the thrill and challenges of publishing an iBook. Such worthwhile information about publishing through iBook Author.
Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5
Made Me Think: 3/5
Overall enjoyment: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 3.5