Pawns – Entered in 2018 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Patrick Hodges

In the first installment of Patrick Hodges’ The Wielders of Arantha series, Pawns, Maeve and her son Davin travel across the galaxy in search of a mysterious energy source – which they need to defeat the Jegg, a dangerous alien race. There, on a distant planet that hides their last hope, they uncover more secrets than they could have ever expected, leading to an inevitable conflict against insurmountable odds.

Firstly, it needs to be said that it is impossible to sum up this book in so short a blurb. There’s a lot going on in Pawns, and its intricacy cannot be given justice with so few words. Much of this is due to Patrick Hodges’ impeccable world building, which accounts for a majority of this first book. Despite this book clearly being intended to “set the scene” for the following entries in the series, it still manages to hold its own with a strong plot at its center. Pawns is a unique blend of futuristic science fiction and otherworldly fantasy, but balances its many facets phenomenally.

Pawns’ greatest strength, however, lies in its spectacular character development. Each character – even the “bad guys” of the story – is unique, captivating, and unbelievably well-written. No matter who the point-of-view character is in any particular chapter, they are always interesting to read about, which is rare in even the best science-fiction and/or fantasy novels. The interwoven storylines that Patrick Hodges has so masterfully concocted are riveting and thrilling, keeping pages turning frantically in this energetic, colorful, expertly-written novel. Pawns is a must-read for new or seasoned fans of science fiction and fantasy alike; it’s most certainly a promising taste of the treasures to come in the rest of this fantastic series.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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