Tuesday, 15 May 2018

BRETHREN by Robyn Young

Brethren by Robyn Young

It has taken me a long time to read book one in this Brethren trilogy. Which is unusual for me, seeing as Robyn Young is one of my favourite authors and I loved her Insurrection trilogy and I really enjoyed book one, Sons of the Blood, in her new trilogy, New World Rising.

I think I avoided Brethren for so many years because of regular comments from fellow readers on it being more romance based than the trilogies mentioned above. Having now read Brethren, I am surprised that people say this. I did not find it romance heavy at all. Not to the stage where it would put off a reader who does not enjoy romance. There is a relationship between two young characters that develops into something stronger as they grow up, but I never found it ‘romancy’ nor melodramatic. 

It took me a while to get into the read due to maybe a third of the book being consumed by characters as children and young adults. Now this, of course, is personal taste. It is neither a negative about the book or a fatal story wrecker, it is just that, no matter how much I like or love the author’s work, I never like hanging around in the child or young adult phases and I felt Brethren dwelled there too long. I prefer stories set around adults; doing adult things, viewing life through an adult’s eyes, talking in adult voices.

This is not going to be my favourite Young novel, I mean, how can this strong debut ever compare to the beauty of the Insurrection trilogy? It just cannot, for the simple fact that it is indeed a debut. By a younger Robyn Young. With Insurrection, the author was older, wiser, more experienced as a writer. She had obviously learned a lot about herself. Learned how she wanted to write and in what voice her stories should be told. Brethren is Robyn Young in training wheels. She was not quite ready for aerial flips, tyre grabs and tailwhips.

Still, it is a decent, solid read. It had its moments where I maybe didn’t want to pick it up, and then it had its moments where I could not wait to pick it up.
With a tale split between the Templars in the west and the Mamluks in the east, and then the coming together of both medieval super powers, it is drawn out as a very detailed and intelligently done plot with sub plot aplenty. 

It had a lot of promise and I look forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy, Crusade and Requiem. I’ve heard good things about them both and I will try to slot them into my reading schedule this year or early next.

3 stars out of 5

-      -  MM 

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