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The War of Undoing is a great example of why sometimes you should not judge a book by its cover.

the war of undoing

by alex perry

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‘My name is Tay Raining, and this is my brother Ellstone. I wonder if you’ve heard of us … I have a birthmark shaped like a question mark on my hand, I think it might mean something but I’m not sure what. My brother is probably important too, though I can’t imagine how. I’m rambling now, sorry. The point is … the point is, we are the Rainings, and we’re here to save you.’

War is brewing in Kyland, as the shadowy, spell-weaving vumas rebel against the human government, but both sides have secret weapons at their disposal. The humans’ secret weapon: a plan that could be the undoing of the world. The vumas’ secret weapon: three young humans abandoned in the smog-shrouded town of Tarot – Tay, Ellstone and Miller Raining. The Rainings could be the key to winning the war, but first they’ll need to work out whose side they are really on…

The War of Undoing takes readers on an exciting journey into a world on the brink of tearing itself apart. It is the first book in the Kyland Falls fantasy series, and is Alex Perry’s debut novel.

My Thoughts

The War of Undoing is a great example of why sometimes you should not judge a book by its cover.

The War of Undoing is Alex Perry’s debut novel and it’s the first book in the Kyland Falls series. This book completely took me by surprise with how enjoyable it was to read; the story is quite unique and different from most books in the genre these days. It is, of course, still high fantasy. Focusing on the conflict between human and vumas, or creatures, with a hint of science vs magic behind the scenes, I found this book to be a slow burn that was character driven with compelling narration, even when there’s not a lot going on in the story.

By narration, I really meant narration, because this story is presented as a retelling from the perspective of four main characters: the Raining siblings, Tay, Ellstone, and Miller, plus another side character named Kisli Thomas. The four of them are recalling the events leading to the time of writing the diary. Of course, everything is not as it seems and the readers get to find out about it with each story progression.

“Stories make sense. There’s justice in them. There’s none in real life.”

There are two minor issues I had with the book. The first one was that I found the first 40% of the book to be a mix of high and low points. The story wasn’t really interesting during this part and I felt like it was too lighthearted at times, even though the author seems to be trying to go in a serious direction. Obviously, I could be wrong about this; it’s just what I perceived, after all. The other issue and probably the most dominant one was that these characters didn’t have any distinctive voices in this section. Most of the time it felt like I was reading only one or two POV’s rather than four because the characters’ voices sound very similar in the narration. I need to tell you though that this book is told in multi 1st person POV, which is a very rare experience for me so my issue could also be because of that.

That said, this applied only to the first 40%. Once the book reached Part III, it only gets better and better until the end. During the second half, when the characters started having more development, the previous issues vanished. Like I said, it’s a book that gets better as you progress; even when the characters were just talking the book was hard to put down and eventually, it all leads to a rewarding climax that felt so conclusive that I forgot this was actually a series.

This novel has enough world-building and there are plenty of resonating themes such as poverty, penance, bullying, adventure, love for books, the fight for freedom, and the conviction to change one’s life. However, when it came down to it, I found that the main theme the author tried to convey the most was familial love and how it should always take the number one spot.

Finally, I need to also mention that the prose is very well-polished. Throughout the entire book, I spotted only one or two grammatical errors and there no typos whatsoever. Even though the prose was very straightforward and simple, I still consider this an achievement in self-published books which, most of the time, are quite filled with typos.

Overall, The War of Undoing is a great debut, I’m pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable this was, and judging by comparison with the previous books in the competition (I still have one more to read and review) that I’ve read, this is definitely the most decent one so far.

Side note: I hope the author will consider changing the cover. This is a great book and that cover really doesn’t do justice to the content. I’m just stating the fact that it’s really hard to get readers to try a new book from an unknown author when the cover doesn’t grab their attention, doesn’t matter if it’s traditional or self-published. If there’s any book that deserves a cover revamp, it’s this.

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Petrik leo

Hi everyone, I’m Petrik! First of all, I’m one of the co-owner and reviewer at Novel Notions. Subscribe to the blog to make sure you don’t miss any new review I post! 😉

I’ve read a LOT of manga before joining Goodreads but I won’t be posting any of my manga reviews here. There are way too many of them and it will increase the number of books in my shelf by at least a thousand.

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