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WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Sacrifice. The single act capable of bringing both death and life simultaneously.
Thannuel Kerr is handsome, young and brash, fumbling through childhood toward his inevitable inheritance: the next Lord of the Western Province. He struggles to accept his arranged marriage and to grow into the man he must become. The journey toward that end, however, is fraught with more peril than he could possibly imagine. In the remote reaches of the Realm, an unknown, silent threat is growing. The Thoulden-sha of Mari-shaden is gathering his disciples, those who have relinquished their bloodlines to the Ancients and embraced Those Not Remembered, a forgotten race that inhabited Våleira long before the Age of the Ancients.
As Thannuel learns more about his heritage, he begins to understand why powers that seem greater than anything the world of Våleira has ever seen are targeting him. As a young man, he and his beloved intended, Moira, will face assassination attempts, civil war, and foreign invasions that could tear the Realm—and Våleira itself—apart.
Sacrifice. It is what the Thoulden-sha demands. It is what the world desperately needs. To save all he loves, Thannuel will be called upon to lay himself upon the Altar of Influence.
I first heard about this book at a book signing where the author did a reading. He's got a fabulous voice and could easily have done this book justice. However, the reader (Michael Kramer) is one of my favorites. As always, Kramer brings the story to life with wonderfull voice.
As for the story itself, the beautiful storytelling reminded me of two of my favorite epic fantasy authors: Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. Michael Kramer is the narrator for Jordan's Wheel of Time series and Sanderson's Mistborn series. With Kramer's voice in my ears and Cooper's writing style, I felt very much at home.
Cooper does a wonderful job with his worldbuilding, bringing it to life--both the cultures and the world itself. It's a satisfyingly complex but not too confusing place. The cultures were interesting and diverse.
I loved his characters. Authors can build appealing worlds but if they don't make me care about the people in it, they've lost me. I loved this tale of the forced (in the beginning) friendship of too unlikely people--the future lord and the "mop boy". Thannuel's lord father was a wise man in how he handled it. Growing up with power and prestige can be a tough way to develop character of any substance, and Thannuel's father made a great choice.
The action was interesting to read without being too much, and the villains were wonderfully vile. The way evil in the story consumed societies and their people just gave me shudders. Cooper does a great job in making it clear what terrible things are happening without wallowing in it.
This book is a prequel. I didn't realize that until I was listening and a comment was made by the author. He said he had assumed people would have read the first book, Circle of Reign. I've added that to my wish list for the audiobook. Kramer reads that one too.
31 of 32 people found this review helpful
This really is an audio book of epic proportions.. Not only has Jacob Cooper written a well characterised, nicely paced, chock-full of action fantasy - Kramer breathes life into it, just as he has similar books before it.
Yes, Altar of Influence really is as good as a Sanderson (and you'll see more of why in the next book Circle of Reign!). Unique world building, gorgeous magic system, a good mix of character POV's, and a nod to the complex real life topic of climate change - Altar of Influence really is a multilayered and well structured novel. It sits well in the shelf with the likes of Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Robin Hobb and John Gwynne.
This is an expanded version of a previous incarnation of Altar, and I'm thoroughly impressed to see that Cooper has brought even more to a novel, that was pretty darn good in the first place!
Bring on the new Circle of Reign!
28 of 29 people found this review helpful