[Review] Renaria - Into the Adyton

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Title: Renaria - Into the Adyton (Renaria #1)

Author: J.L. Wilson

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Published: November 7, 2014

Source: Kindle Unlimited

Quicklinks: Amazon | Goodreads

A small memento, a universal power...

At Seventeen, Leda has her priorities in order: gaming first, real life second. She suffers through school, skips the extracurriculars, and runs home so that she can log-on to Renaria. High school parties? Yeah, right. Her weekends usually involve her prized headset, a pile of gummy bears, and her loyal feline companion, Sphinx, by her side.

Unless her Mother forces her to socialize more, she’ll be max level by winter. That is… until a magical storm, a handsome Elf Diviner, and a whirlwind of adventure turns Leda’s game into a reality. In the end, Leda will have to decide: Ignore the quest and turn off the game, or dive in and risk everything for a shot at escaping into a world she never could have imagined. 
Small spoiler alert near the end. The font is small, so you can just skip to the overall thoughts (last paragraph).

I picked this up because the moment I read the synopsis, I wanted to read it. I mean, who sees a lot of books with lead characters who are gamers... and the game ends up being real? I don't. So, I became super excited to read it. However, what I read was not what I expected.

It felt like there wasn't enough detail to draw me into the story. There are several scenes lacking. Where there's action, there's not enough happening to keep me at the edge of my seat. It also seems like the brother and sister are complacent with what's happening as the story guides us up to the plot. 

When finally introduced to Renaria, it finally goes in depth with the world and some of its plants/animals. I really appreciate the thought that went into the world... especially some explanations that I'm assuming are derived from real life science, but I didn't research it myself. 

About halfway through the book is when you finally start learning more about Renaria and the author does this well. It is not plagued with info dumps, but rather short and blunt explanations through dialogue as we learn more with the characters themselves. 

What is it with these people putting their heads to their chest to concentrate? That feels like such an awkward position. It's uncomfortable and how can one concentrate with that ache from your head at a weird angle like that? Literally, every scene where they had to concentrate, there was one of them putting their head to their chest. I don't know, but that didn't really sit as realistic for me.

One of the things that really irked me about the story was how naturally they all took to their powers. Alex struggled, but only for... what, less than a chapter? Where's the struggle? Where's the doubt that comes from the struggle before they start believing themselves? Character development requires struggle. Speaking of development...

It felt like there was no character development at all. None of them seemed to change; they all remained who they were when they started the journey. Because of that, it was hard to connect.

The action scenes weren't enough to keep me involved and wanting more... They didn't keep me on the edge of my seat. It didn't feel like there was any real danger. Each time they were in a fight, they all got out alive and unscathed. That's not very entertaining, now is it? 

As for the romantic interest? Well, let's just say it was forced. It was rarely talked about, and when it was, it was placed in random moments. Those moments, my face twisted up and I rolled my eyes. Look, you don't need to have a romantic interest in there if you didn't want one. Don't just force one because we can tell... and it can greatly impact the story.

For people finding someone they thought was dead, only one seemed really emotional about it. That makes it hard to feel happy or even anything for them which, in turn, deeply affects the connection to the characters and the story itself. 

Overall, the plot was promising. It has a LOT of potential and the premise was interesting. Unfortunately, I don't think it was perfectly executed. It was hard to feel into it... I wasn't sucked in and for a fantasy like this, you HAVE to suck me in for it to be an amazing book. If you're going to create a world, make sure you can make it so realistic, your reader won't want to put it down.  

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