The Reach Between Worlds by C.
M Hayden is the first book in the series called The Archlight Saga Taro s parents are really sick and so he must resort to unsavory dealings with a crime lord to try to make some money to afford their medicine and to support the family As a part of this, Taro and his sister are suddenly thrust into a complex plot that starts with Taro and his sister entering the Magistarium to learn magic, and also break out a prisoner The crime lord and the prisoner stand starkly against the Magisterium and what it stands for, leaving Taro in the middle However, as Taro starts to truly become a part of the Magistarium and make friends, he begins to waver on his loyalties As the stakes get higher, Taro must decide which side of the fight he wants to be on.
Overall, this was a promising story A young boy who s caught between good and evil and in the meantime enters a school to learn magic And the teachers pitted against this prisoner who escapes and everything hinges on Taros actions Unfortunately, I didn t feel compelled by any of the characters and many of them felt similar enough that I had a hard time remembering who was who I was also a little confused about how everything worked, from the magic to the arc light itself, that powers the city I think that if I had found Taro compelling I would have been able to overlook lack of complete understanding of how everything functioned, but he just seemed to take action after action without much personality This all compounded However, since the plot was good, the end was interesting and set up the next novel nicely.
The narration by John Pirhalla was well done, with clearly distinguishable voices for each of the characters The production quality was good as well I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes a young adult story about learning magic, learning how to survive in the middle of a complex mess of powerful people, and making hard decisions.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
This was a very fun read I could definitely sense the influence of Patrick Rothfuss in Hayden s work, but the world and magic system were quite unique I look forward to reading the next installment.
Taro Lost His Right Leg Years Ago, But With A Family To Support, He Doesn T Let It Slow Him Down For Years He S Worked For A Notorious Crime Lord Named Victor Mathan Mathan Deals In Stolen Magical Artifacts And Trusts Taro To Finish His Work With As Few Questions As Possible When An Absurdly Well Paying Job Comes Up, Taro Is Quick To Volunteer Mathan Wants Him To Break A Powerful Sorceress Out Of Jail, But Her Prison Is Under The Control Of An Ancient Military Order Called The Magisterium To Get To Her, Taro Must Pose As A Magisterium Recruit The Courses Are Grueling, The Trials Drive Students Mad, And The Magic They Teach Can Be As Deadly To The Caster As It Is To The Target I really loved this No spoilers here.
Strengths Excellent villains Well rounded characters Strong dialogue and narrative voice No thees , thous , or old English Which I hate What really did it for me were the villains Vexis in particular She has a next level crazy vibe which is really difficult to pull of without devolving into a generic Joker character She can be mysterious, funny, and vicious all in the same chapter, and absolutely steals every scene she s in.
One gripe I have is that we are kept in the dark as to some of her origins and motivations we get hints here and there, but she s largely an enigma I presume we ll learn about her in the next book.
This could be a weakness depending on your point of view, but there necessarily, given the setting a lot of characters to keep track of However, as I said above, the characters are fairly distinctive and this isn t too hard.
Weaknesses The over arching plot can be complicated at times, and requires you to pay close attention There are a lot of characters see above The denouement is very you need to read the next book ish.
The story is told in Third Person Limited, with Taro as our principle POV there are a few chapters where we deviate from him briefly.
Highly recommended Full disclosure I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.
I loved it Sucks I gotta wait for the next in the series, but what can u do The Reach Between WorldsI started this book on a recommendation from Nerdist and am I so glad that I did I finished in a day or so because the characters, dialogue and world building were so well done and engaging that now I am sitting here again dying to get my hands on the next volume in the story The author C.
M Hayden writes well beyond his years and his passion, enthusiasm and skilled hand at storytelling shine through and makes us yearn for Thank you C.
M Please More sean AmazingA great book from young Master Haden Very well put together The book has a great magic system Characters are very real and likable Can t wait for book 2 Actually about 4.
3 stars Pretty excellent Review to come Update, review I originally bought the ebook because I d heard it described in terms similar to The Name of the Wind NotW by Patrick Rothfuss, which is a beautifully crafted fantasy novel After taking a long break from reading at about 25%, Hayden provided me with the audiobook version, which is what I m going to review.
The worldbuilding of The Reach Between Worlds is, at first, alarmingly similar to NotW similar monetary system, similar magic school including an Artificium, and similar age range of students That s what tripped me up when I read the ebook Listening to the audio version narrated by John Pirhalla is when the characters grabbed my interest, partially because Pirhalla has such fantastic character voices especially for the females I could also start to see the workings of a very different world than NotW, with old gods, class tensions, void magic, and the mysterious ly broken Arclight that bolsters crops and growth and keeps away disease.
Though there are structural similarities to NotW, I was happy to find contrast in the characters and the style of narration While the protagonist of the story is Taro, a young man, his friends and classmates Kyra and Suri had the most refreshing stories Secondary female characters who have strong personalities and lives outside of the main character s narrative are the most interesting Kyra s story is especially intriguing, for reasons I won t spoil, though she is the main POV of the novella Why Dragons Hide I believe the book says Taro is 16, though his innocence made him seem like a 14 year old Taro is essentially a rogue with a heart of gold he can barely stand to steal from others, even though he s incredibly poor His parents were struck by a mysterious disease, making them unfit for work and parenting in general This helped shine a light on Taro and his sister Nima s strong sibling bond not only are they together in taking care of their younger siblings, they are also complicit in doing some shady work to earn money, including lying their way into the Magisterium I personally loved the fact that the kids didn t spend any time studying or training they just cheated their way into a prestigious school and started winging it through classes That was a fun and unexpected dynamic.
Although these protagonists, along with a few additional male characters, make up the main cast, my favorite character is Vexis She s really complex in that you root for or against her depending on the situation She s a fantastically ambiguous characters with hidden motivations I m really hoping to see of her story and her family s story in the sequel.
I m not going to give away too much about the plot, because I don t want to spoil all the fun However, I will say that the Magisterium students trial to rank up in the school, so to speak, was a great adventure It felt almost like the kids were exploring a puzzle room, and I hope Hayden builds on that sort of exploration of the world in the future novels.
Overall, this is a solid debut novel from Hayden, and anyone who likes their fantasy with magical schools, rogues, and massively evil plots will enjoy The Reach Between Worlds I plan on continuing the series, in fact, I m already reading the novella, Why Dragons Hide, which is written as letters from Kyra to her uncle.
I love books that catch you by surprise I ve been trying to slowly whittle away at my vast collection of books on my kindle and I ve been heartily abusing my KU inbetween and didn t expect much from this book However, it blew me away with its unsuspecting web of plots and the characters were all phenomenal I can t wait to read Bad men with smiles are the most dangerous kind Michigan author Cameron M Hayden, a young handsome new lad with a long time love of fantasy and science fiction, makes his literary debut with the REACH BETWEEN TWO WORLDS and interestingly enough he has designated this novel as Book 1 of The Arclight Saga reassuring us that he is in the business for the long run And from reading his first entry it appears he has a solid start in the realm of science fiction fantasy writing.
In a very accessible manner Cameron introduces his mindset in a well scribed Prologue subtitled Criminally Insane a hint of what is to come The doctor tapped his fingers on the table separating him and his patient The nurses say you haven t been eating I don t eat, the man said as he shifted in his chair Is that a fact The doctor dipped his pen in an inkwell and scribbled as he spoke You ll be pleased to know we sent a picture of you to the Magisterium Tell me why I don t believe you tell me why nobody there recognizes you It s been a long time, the man said The doctor removed a silver coin from his pocket and placed it on the table You say you re a magister If that s the case, turn this into something spectacular for me Do that and you can go The doctor nudged itcloser with his pen Well The man held his hand over the coin and tried to get the metal to change form Nothing happened It s these drugs you ve got me on I can t think clearly The doctor put his hand on the man s shoulder It s going to take time to clear your mind of these delusions A long time But don t be afraid, I m here to help And with that we enter the strange world into which we step for the story Sixteen year old Taro lost his right leg years ago, but with a family to support, he doesn t let it slow him down For years he s worked for a notorious crime lord named Victor Mathan Mathan deals in stolen magical artifacts and trusts Taro to finish his work with as few questions as possible When an absurdly well paying job comes up, Taro is quick to volunteer Mathan wants him to break a powerful sorceress out of jail, but her prison is under the control of an ancient military order called the Magisterium To get to her, Taro must pose as a Magisterium recruit The courses are grueling, the trials drive students mad, and the magic they teach can be as deadly to the caster as it is to the target When the time comes to free the sorceress and collect his pay, Taro is horrified to find that her freedom will lead to the deaths of his friends and thousands of others However, Mathan makes it clear that not living up to their agreement is a death sentence for Taro s family Adventure, intrigue, mystery and a hefty splash of science fiction make this book a pleasure to read.