Untethered is not what I expected.Cecelia Beckman, Sheaf & Ink
From the Publisher:
Although King Atháren’s sister, Jennesara, saved Hálendi from the Gray Mage, the reprieve came at a steep price–the life of their father. Now Ren rules over a divided kingdom. With some who want him dead, and a Medallion that warns of worse trouble brewing in the south.
As second born, Princess Chiara is the perfect Turian royal–perfectly invisible. She longs to help restore peace on the Plateau. But with no magic and no fighting skills, she doesn’t stand a chance against a mage.
As Ren’s and Chiara’s paths cross, they find the depth of the mages’ hold on the Plateau is more powerful than anyone suspected. And that they must learn to trust themselves, and each other, before the mages retrieve their artifacts and become too powerful to ever defeat.
My Review: Untethered
When I reviewed Shielded, the first novel in this duology, I truly enjoyed how Flanders created a character young readers would be charmed and delighted by: Jennesara, or Jenna for short. However, Jenna takes a back seat in this novel. The focus is now on her older brother Ren and his potential love interest Chiara (Jenna’s betrothed younger sister).
And the character development in this novel compared to the last is lacking. Ren always second guesses himself, is indecisive, guilt ridden, and always needs someone else to get him out of a fix. He’s bumbling along, unsure of what to do, relying solely on a magic (an amulet given to him by his father) he doesn’t fully understand. He feels flat throughout the novel. Never fully coming together in scope, more like a patchwork of dull threads that makes for an uninspiring coat.
Further, the potential romance between Chiara and Ren is disappointing. There were moments that Flanders could have built on or flushed out to make it enticing or swoon worthy, but most ended up awkward, thwarting a good scene that could have held witty banter and heady moments that romance readers could appreciate.
A Few More Thoughts
When it comes to magic and lore, action and adventure, this novel felt like its title, untethered. The story needed more focus. First, there are too many additional side characters given a point of view. I understood why Flanders chose to do this, but it felt like a crutch to explain rather than add to the story. Flanders could have easily continued the story without using these additional characters. Possibly cutting them out and having a razor sharp focus that could have made the pacing more enjoyable.
Then, there’s the story itself. Ren’s incapability to rule, Jenna’s wedding, Chiara wanting to be seen and actually contribute in some way, and rogue mages on the lose, the plot and subsequent subplots felt disjointed, never coming together fully to make for a cinematic experience. And finally, the action scenes didn’t have the same momentum and finesse as the previous novel.
Untethered has certain moments that were similar to the charisma and charm of the previous novel, but with scenes that tended to drag on, unnecessary character point of views, and a plot that felt scattered, like seeds thrown into the wind, never finding a place to root in the fertile soil, the narrative did not live up to a breathtaking conclusion.
Happy Reading ̴ Cece
RATING: – Adequately Inked
- Publication day: July, 2021
- Publisher: Delacorte Press
- Hardcover ISBN: 978-0593118573
- Pages: 464
- Age Group: 12+
- Hardcopy: $17.99
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