Synopsis: Nothing happens by chance. Nothing is as it seems.
The Gauntlet: Intersection point of surrounding four cities and a melting pot for four Houses in which arithmencers are divided according to how they can manipulate electromagnetism.
Damian knows little about the culture and the way of life in each city, until he turns out to be an arithmencer and is expected to join the House his father leads.
But when the emperor who has been ruling over the cities for two hundred years disappears, the delicate balance between the Houses begins to shift.
More and more, Damian finds power and responsibility thrust upon him for restoring equilibrium to a world falling apart.
* I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review *
This book surprised me. Now that I’m completely finished with it I can honestly say that I really did enjoy this book, but there are only a few things that kept it from being a four or five star rating.
The first thing was the overall world development. While I was intrigued by all of the different “powers”, which were giving me series Avatar: The Last Airbender vibes, they were never explained in a way that made complete sense. Even at the end of the book I was still hopelessly confused, interested, but confused. The same goes for the locations and where exactly everything is supposed to be occurring as the world feels somewhat dystopian or otherworldly, but is never completely established. I just kept feeling like I was reading a sequel or that I had missed out on a prequel that included important information that I needed to understand this world.
Unfortunately the characters suffered a similar fate in that their personalities just never seemed to move past a very basic level. I loved their abilities, but they’re not the kind of characters I just want to know more and more about, which is what I look for in well-rounded characters. Melissa was the only character I really came to like throughout the book and her fate is left very open-ended at the finish. Damian, the main character, just felt a little stilted throughout and I couldn’t figure out whether he was meant to have a romance with Melissa or Coral, or they were just friends. Coral I just wanted to smack for how naive and babyish she was considering how powerful and instrumental she could’ve been.
The thing that made this book surprising and interesting was that right around the end the book really hit its stride. The action got better, the suspense was much more powerful and I finally felt like I was invested in what was going to happen to the characters. And the multiple twists the author pulled at the end were very good. Maybe even enough to reel me in for a sequel.
Overall I see a lot of potential in this series, I just felt like there was something missing from this first book. More character development, a little stronger world building and some clearer context and exposition would really help this series along. I’m glad I got the chance to read this though and it is definitely an intriguing read.