Marie C, Reviewer
ARC received in exchange for an honest review. "Earth is a prison and you're living in it. It's called The Construct and its keepers carefully manage the rise and fall of humanity in order to extract soul energy to fuel the galactic expansion of an alien race... but we'll get to that." – from synopsis So, it’s Matrix but with magic? That was my first thought when I read the synopsis. And I believe “we will get to that” but let's see where we are now. This book has three story lines that are connected. First, we have a mage D'avry, the main protagonist. He goes around pulled by strange magic called Astrig Ka'a which he calls luck magic because it seems to always pull him out of problems. Next, we have Rutker, a soldier in mecha suit on a mission for peace with alien race, that gets stranded with his crew on unknown planet after they get attacked. And finally, we have Deven, a woman war veteran. The characters are quite interesting, not exceptional but likeable. D'avry gets developed the most since we spend most time with him. We also get some interesting side characters. While in the beginning of the book we get distinct POVs. In later parts the D'avry storyline starts to have very jumpy POV from all surrounding characters, but it isn't hard to follow. We spend lot of time in the fantasy world and while we get to know some things and visit some places it remains quite mysterious. I wish we learned bit more about the world. Especially since we are trying to save it. Same with the sci-fi timeline where of course it’s more reasonable because Rutker just got to the planet. As for the magic I am bit on edge. It leads the MC in certain way, providing him with new knowledge at the right time and as such one might start thinking if it isn't just a convenient way to solve every situation. I think I will keep my judgment on that once we know more. So far it keeps the stakes quite low despite the surrounding danger everywhere. On the other hand, though, the way this magic gets used can be unique at times. Not really your standard fantasy magic. Now the story itself. We get hints. We get peeks but ultimately, we don’t get much revealed. As for the overarching storyline the synopsis reveals most of it already. And honestly without being told about the Construct from the synopsis I wouldn’t be that much interested in the story. All in all, it feels a lot like we are on side quest, while now and then we maybe progress main storyline a bit. This book could almost be called a prequel. I am fine with that as long as we get more into the overarching story next book. From the end it seems that will be the case. I am definitely interested enough to continue. I would recommend this to people that don’t mind long set up and slow reveal. It gives you enough hints for you to start pondering on what happened and is going to happen. To make predictions. If the second book delivers it might be a ride, for now I would treat this first book as a sneak peek of what’s to come. I enjoyed it but also was getting frustrated with the slowness and the convenience of the magic so can’t give more than 3,5*. The final judgment is: promising. Let’s see if it will keep the promise.