Sunday 6 November 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Wucaii by Pembroke Sinclair

Author: Pembroke Sinclair
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Book Description:
It has been 500 years since Aelana has been home, and a lot has changed in that time--including her. As a half-dragon, half-human hybrid, she has been traveling the universe destroying worlds. Both anxious and excited to return, she wonders what she will find. Her memories of home are filled with pain and loss, especially for her first and only love. She knows he won't be there, but will his memory? Will her anguish remain?

What waits for Aelana on her home world? Find out in this exciting urban fantasy novel by Pembroke Sinclair.

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In a reality devasted by a recurrent cataclysmic destruction lies the desire for true love and the will to preserve destiny. As a hybrid, half-human and half-dragon, Aelana has no choice but to uphold the order of the universe, even if it means destroying innocent lives time and time again. Wucaii opens with Aelana trying to prepare herself to face a world she left behind long ago, a world she fears will have no recollection of her existence, or worse, will look upon her with contempt. Despite her worries, her desire to see her long lost love, Thoran, prevails.

It took me a while to fully embrace this story. I didn't believe in Aelana's quest at the start as it all seemed more coincidental than creative narrative structure. Aelana's first encounter with Kalen felt forced, on the author's part, not the characters. It's mentioned that Aelana traced Thoran's aura through the earth yet she seemed uncertain, even surprised when she met Kalen. Surely she knew he would be there and knew exactly who he was before he uttered a single word. Either that or she really wasn't aware and he just happened to turn up at the castle exactly when she did, which would render her ability to trace his aura inessential. Despite the slow start of having to watch Aelana acclimatize herself with the community, I found there was a lot to enjoy with this story.

The characters are likable, albeit appearing somewhat two dimensional, and Aelana's steadfast quest to re-connect with Kalen (reincarnation of Thoran) was admirable, even if it did appear to be her only purpose for most of the book. Aelana is a resolute character, and that was the first thing to catch my attention. For someone who often doubts herself, I hadn't expected her to be such a determined person. When it's time for her to act, she doesn't allow anything to stand in her way. Her portrayal at times was very much like that of a warrior, particuarly towards the ending of the book. Given that Aelana's a hybrid, I wanted to see more a conflict between her human nature and that of her dragon counterpart. It's mentioned that dragon's don't experience emotions the way humans do, and the conflict Aelana was experiencing was purely based on her human side. Her worries were mostly about Kalen, and not whether he would survive the apocalypse but about how he would feel towards her if he knew the truth about her identity. I wanted to be introduced to the hybrid I was promised; instead, I was introduced to a woman who hadn't quite accepted her fate due to the fact that her image had altered drastically. The biggest problem I had with Aelana was that she seemed to lack purpose. It wasn't until more than halfway through the story that she started to fully acknowledge the essense of her being - as a hybrid. I didn't really care much for the secondary characters. They didn't leave much of an impression on me.

The theme of the inevitablity of life, death and love (in this case, one's soulmate) is a constant reminder throughout the book, repeated ad naseaum. I was very grateful for the flashback scenes. They added more depth to the characters and the story. There were some things I would have liked to have been explained in greater detail so to get a better scope of the world the author created. Some suspense would have been nice to see. Nothing came as a surprise to me.

While I did have mixed feelings about this book, I found it to be a refreshing take on the concept of the apocalypse. It's an engaging depiction that left me feeling partially satisfied. I enjoyed it.



Award: Silver
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Source: Review copy via author