3 out of 4 stars
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The Irin Wars: The Sword and the Fortress by Jon Davey is a sci-fi and fantasy novel, and it is the first book in a series that channels ideas from the supernatural realm, ancient Egypt, and ancient Anatolia and ties them with characters from recent times. Most of the story is set in London in 2012 and primarily follows Jake, a resourceful teenager who is yet to figure out the rest of his uneventful life. However, his life is about to change completely when he learns about the wars that have been fought since the beginning of time, as fallen angels, called the Irin, and their descendants, the Nephilim, have been trying to take their rightful place, but the Shamans have always been there to stop them.
Jake, as a Nephilim and Shaman hybrid, is right in the middle of everything. The murder of one of his friends means that he cannot shy away from his vital role in fighting the Nephilim. Jake's inexperience can cost him, but the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Who will come out victorious in this war?
The story kicks off with a detailed look into the history of the Irin and their initial fight with Shamans, and we steadily get wrapped up in and understand the author's world. There are a lot of intriguing elements in the book. Besides the well-constructed idea of the supernatural wars, I also encountered fascinating winged serpents and technological ideas that explored fusing hardware with the human brain that provided extensive knowledge about different things and could control the physiological functions of the human body. All of this kept me on my toes and added excitement while I read certain parts of the book.
My favorite parts of the book revolved around the main characters' humor, especially when they faced dangerous situations, which was a lot of the time. They always found ways to lighten the mood, and I loved them for it. The book is also professionally edited, as I did not find any errors throughout my read, and each period and location is included at the start of each chapter to ensure that there is no confusion. Therefore, the book is well organized.
Unfortunately, The Irin Wars left a lot to be desired in some key areas. Firstly, the character depth in the story is severely lacking. There isn't much to know about the personalities of each character besides the role they play in achieving the main objective. The characters' emotions are also not properly explored. As teenagers, Jake and his friends fully accepted and adapted to this new world very quickly without questioning a lot of things. The death of one of Jake's friends at the beginning of the story created some form of shock and uncertainty, but later in the story, things seemed to fall into place for the main characters too easily. This took away from the believability of the story.
The main plotline is one we have seen in other books and movies, where the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of someone with a unique ancestry. While the author includes different elements that made this story stand out, there were similarities that I couldn't appreciate. One of those instances involved a character using a variant of a popular line from Game of Thrones: "The void is dark and full of terrors."
Overall, The Irin Wars was an interesting read. There were a lot of elements that kept my attention until the end of the read. However, there were issues with the book's execution. After a lot of deliberation, I decided to award the book a rating of 3 out of 4. I discussed a few complaints above, but the book was an engaging and above-average fantasy novel, so I could not rate it below 3. If the author works on improving the depth in characters and similarities with other books, the book will earn the maximum rating. I would recommend The Irin Wars to lovers of sci-fi, supernatural, and fantasy novels.
the Irin Wars
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