Top positive review
Excellent storytelling, thank you David Estes!
February 26, 2019
So glad I gave this series a try! It's a rare first book that makes me want to spend money on the rest of the series, but as soon as I finished the Fatemarked I was downloading the next with no hesitation.
Highly recommended for anyone looking for an expansive, immaginative fantasy world with all kinds of different characters and locations. The Game of Thrones comparisons are inevitable, but each will probably appeal more to different audiences. Fatemarked moves faster but is not dripping with detail, but for me that was a fine trade-off; I found GoT to be too much of a slog for the amount of time I can devote to reading.
So here we have a fantasy land of four kingdoms constantly at war, a new and frankly terrifying enemy, and the next generation of rulers combined with the 'fatemarked', those born with a superhuman power. David Estes gradually weaves the threads of all these stories together, taking the reader through different settings (very cool Iron Forest), cultures, and belief systems. He introduces dozens of characters but impressively manages to provide them each with distinct voices.
My favorite storyline was definitely Annise and Tarin, they were written with heart and humor and I really enjoyed their individual and shared development. But, for me the 'love triangle' of Roan, Gwendolyn, and Gareth fell completely flat, which I'm sorry to say because it was meant to be a main driver of the story. Roan was just kind of dopey and it was surprising to read that Gwen was "in love" with him, because their relationship always seemed more like siblings. Gwen and Raven, on the other hand, had sparkling chemistry, and I could definitely have seen them together.
Despite minor shortcomings, I'm happy to rate this five enthusiastic stars, and was so satisfied when it was over! This series should have a higher overall rating, but I've seen that some readers rated it poorly because this imaginary world included heroes who were not just straight, white men and was thus "too PC". How sad for them to miss out on a truly fun adventure.