Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Review: A Glimmer of Hope by Steve McHugh

A Glimmer of Hope (The Avalon Chronicles, Book #1)
by Steve McHugh
Release Date: April 1st 2018
2018 47North
Kindle Edition: 332 Pages
ISBN: 978-1503951808
Genre: Fiction / Urban Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher

3.5 / 5 Stars

Layla Cassidy has always wanted a normal life, and the chance to put her father’s brutal legacy behind her. And in her final year of university she’s finally found it. Or so she thinks.

But when Layla accidentally activates an ancient scroll, she is bestowed with an incredible, inhuman power. She plunges into a dangerous new world, full of mythical creatures and menace—all while a group of fanatics will stop at nothing to turn her abilities to their cause.

To protect those she loves most, Layla must take control of her new powers…before they destroy her. All is not yet lost—there is a light shining, but Layla must survive long enough to see it.

My Thoughts
A Glimmer of Hope is the first novel in a new series set in the same world as The Hellequin Chronicles.  While I loved  The Hellequin Chronicles and was happy to see appearances by some of the characters in this book, I'm a bit on the fence about this book.  It ook a long time for me to really get into this book and I really can't put on the reason why.

First of all, there was a lot going on.  That doesn't really bother me as it usually comes together in the end and I am also not afraid of being introduced to a bunch of new characters and trying to figure it all out; in fact, I tend to look forward to the challenge. When you are introduced to too many characters however, without fully understanding their purpose or how they fit in, but they suddenly appear and have major parts, that's when it gets confusing.  And I have  the benefit of being familiar with this author's writing style to boot.  That being said, I do think the story was somewhat original and I did like the concept; I am curious as to what the author will do with Layla and her abilities in the future as there is so much potential here.  And the story definitely picked up towards the end, with quite a bit of action, even if the suspense was not quite as high as I was expecting. And I have to admit, I liked a story with no romance in it. I still enjoy the magic system and am quite intrigued by the world building.  I would love to see more of the characters from the other series continue to play a role as I wasn't quite ready to let them go.

Layla, at first, is your typical heroine, tough, smart, tormented, and ...well, boring.   However, as she came into her powers and had to deal with a world with which she was unprepared, she became a bit more interesting, and more vulnerable, making mistakes, seeming more human.  I grew to like her a lot more as the book progressed.  Luckily, Layla's powers seem to be a lot more complex than originally thought and I am looking forward to the development of those powers and what that might mean, both for Layla and the world. The author usually spends time developing his secondary characters. and while I have grown fond of Layla's friends and look forward to their continuing impact, I did feel they were a little flat without a lot of personality.  

A Glimmer of Hope was one of those books that just missed the mark for me overall.  First of all, I didn't really care for the villain and while I know that sounds odd, I still like my villains to have personality or to have something going for them.  The magic system however, was very interesting and I am curious enough about it to want to read the next book in the series, A Flicker of Steel. Because I had read the author's previous series, I felt very familiar with the world so I am not really sure if it is a necessity or not for this book.  It is worth taking a look at though.



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