I liked the sound of Ora and the Old God, from the description and the cover image, so downloaded the ARC from Netgalley. It’s a debut work from author Sarah Day and whilst this book is a YA novel — and I’ve read plenty of YA authors such as Garth Nix — I’m not quite sure of the particular age range for this book.
The first chapter feels slightly clunky, to be honest, but does provide a clear picture of Ora’s world, her frustrations and gave us some foreshadowing. I did feel some of this stuck to known tropes but that didn’t actually play out, which was refreshing. The paragraph about the sailor’s book felt a little ‘head hoppy’ but was otherwise a good introduction. I put the book down at that point and when I picked it up again, I did read the rest of it in one sitting.
There are a lot of different characters introduced, with various races and as expected in a complex world, tensions. The explanations are vivid and the antagonist, Tyg Marigen, is well-explained in her motives. The title “and the Old God” does imply a different story from what’s there and I wonder whether a different title would be better in this instance as the series is called, ‘Of Ether and Silver’
I did spot a typo, part way through — “very” rather than “every” but it’s easy to put right in an ARC. And I did feel the character cast was slightly complex for the story. My biggest complaint is the beginning spent a lot of detail explaining different relationships but the ending had no such space in which to do that. Everything was a build-up to the next book with too little resolution for the first story. Yes, there was resolution, but I don’t feel there was enough for my taste. Again, something that can be corrected.
My other thought is there doesn’t seem to be a system where people ‘pay’ for using magic. In fantasy, other than noticeable exceptions like HP, the use of magic requires some kind of exchange, whether that’s energetically or otherwise. This doesn’t exist in Ora’s world.
I don’t know that I’d read the other book(s) in the series in case they also don’t resolve well enough for me. I wouldn’t want to be disappointed.
Book DetailsTitle: Ora and the Old God
Series: Of Ether and Silver #1
Author: Sarah Day
Publication Date: 25th October 2020
A spellbinding story that weaves together powerful women, complex magic, and political intrigue.
Wild and stubborn, Ora Widogast is determined to join her brother for the annual Tabas hunt. When he makes a terrible mistake, her brother is turned into a pig, and she is taken captive in the fae realm. There, the fae queen places her under the watchful eye of a cruel and powerful mage, Tyg Marigen, who despises humans.
As a world of politics and old conflicts unfolds around Ora, she plans her escape, but then, she makes a dangerous discovery—she can use magic. Something no human has done before. To avoid Tyg’s wrath and save her brother, she must find a way home before her secret is revealed.
But, she has no idea how to control her newfound power.