Embers (Guild of the Cowry Catchers #1), by Abigail Hilton
(Guild of the Cowry Catchers #1) is an interesting book. I'm not quite
sure how it ended up on my TBR list, because I'm usually not drawn to
fantasy with non-human characters. The characters in the world of
Wefrivain are shelts, humanoid on top and animal on the bottom. Except
for a few details, though, I found Gerard, the honorable new Chief of
Police for the High Priestess (who is a humanoid-griffin combination),
and Silveo, the corrupt, ruthless and damaged Admiral (humanoid-fox) to
be very human on the inside. I had a hard time maintaining the
visualization of the characters as described with their fox/griffin
lower halves and long, pointy ears (I don't do long pointy ears) so I
just imagined them as human to myself, editing that visualization when
things like tails or paws were mentioned.
The story is engaging
and well-written. Gerard and Silveo, who can't stand each other, are
assigned to work together to find the elusive leader of the Resistance.
Understanding and trust gradually grows between them (which, going by
the reviews of later books, eventually turns into considerably more) as
they face danger and track down clues. I enjoyed their interactions and
seeing their characters unfold through the story.
I found a few
things besides the half-animal appearance of the characters a little
difficult, particularly the fairly bleak nature of the world and the
fact that sentient beings hunt and eat other sentient beings.
book ends abruptly; it's the first part of a serial, and the reason
given for cutting the story into smaller parts is to accomodate the
illustrations without making the ebook file too big. So be warned that
this isn't a complete story; this installment doesn't even have its own
complete story arc.
Later installments of the Guild of the Cowry
Catchers veer into definite not-my-thing territory, so I won't be
reading on. It's a good, well-written story; not continuing is just a
matter of my own personal preferences. Also be aware that Guild of the
Cowry Catchers is very much for adults (not a problem for me, but it
appears that other readers have been taken by surprise, not noticing the
author's very direct warning to that effect). I would suggest before
starting that you read the descriptions and reviews of all the books to
decide if it's for you. If you do decide to go for it, I would recommend
buying the individual installments to get the beautiful illustrations
(which aren't included in the omnibus edition).
See my main Clean Out Your eReader post for reading list and review links.