Monday, June 4, 2012

Exiled by JR Wagner

Genre:  YA Fantasy
The Never Chronicles, Book 1

Description (taken from JR Wagner's website):
James finds himself on trial for the murder of his mentor -the man who saw him through the hardest years of his life. Before he can get over the shock of this accusation, he is convicted and banished a place reserved for the worst of his kind. James is a sorcerer and he has been exiled to The Never.

Not long before James was banished, he was told that he alone could prevent the Epoch Terminus -the date foretold to be the end of his kind. The date all Sorcerers fear.

Now, powerless and alone, James quickly learns that the land itself poses a greater threat than its inhabitants. If he is to have any chance of returning to his family, any chance of proving his innocence, any chance of saving his kind, he must work with the very people he's been raised to fear.

As a sorcerer, his skills are exceptional yet when he wakes in The Never, James is powerless. Armed with nothing but determination and the will to survive, he braves a land wrought with dangers, mysteries and temptations meant to ensnare both body and mind in order to find that which has eluded his predecessors. A way home.

I had one major emotion throughout this entire read: confusion.  The description above is an accurate description of this novel.  But the way it reads is what kind of drove me crazy.  It skips around time periods and is from various characters' points of view.  And I had a very hard time following this.  Especially when it would jump from one character to another within the same chapter.  Or when there was a story within a story; I couldn't figure out when I was out of the story.

Janes is destined for greatness.  He will save his people from the end.  We don't ever get an idea of what the war is, but we do feel James' insecurities about not feeling like the redeemer everyone makes him out to be.  And the story jumps right into him being tried for the murder of his mentor.  But we never really get an explanation about what happened.  The whats, whys, and hows leading up to the trial never get answered.  It's just there to set the scene.

When James enters the Never, it's a really weird place.  There is a lot of good description describing the area and a lot of characters are introduced.  This story does weave around a lot of fantasy parts as James attempts to find his way out of the Never.

But honestly, this book fell flat for me.  Not enough was explained, and I never felt fully invested in the story before it took off with the twists and turns that an awesome plot takes.  This is probably one of those books where you need to consider the whole series as one book instead of judging each one individually.

Thanks goes to Green Leaf Book Group and Netgalley for providing me a review copy.

Challenges:  Debut Author Challenge and Young Adult Reading Challenge


  1. The cover art sure is terrific! Like you said though, maybe the entire series taken as a whole would be more enjoyable :)

  2. Some of the first book in a series does focus more on describing the world building and characters building rather than the plot to set up the series. and I guess this book falls into that category. But when they are overly done, I think it does not do it for me. A lot of unanswered twist or situation sometimes makes me confused. thank you


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