Tuesday, February 21, 2017

ARC Review: Origins by A.D. Starrling

Series:     Seventeen #5
Pub. Date:Feb. 21, 2017
Length:313 pages
The gifts bestowed by One not of this world, to the Man who had lived longer than most. 
The Empire ruled by a King who would swallow the world in his madness.
The Warrior who chose to rise against her own kind in order to defeat him. 
Discover the extraordinary beginnings of the Immortals and the unforgettable story of the Princess who would become a Legend.

I wish I could tell you what first led me to A.D. Starrling, but I honestly don't know. I think it was fate that made me pick up the first book in this series, Hunted (f/k/a Soul Meaning) because the book was totally out of my genre and I had never heard of the author... but whatever it was that made me jump into this world of immortals, I am extremely grateful. I have been hooked on the Seventeen series from that first book... the stories are action-packed, intelligently written and never fail to get my adrenaline going. With each successive installment, Ms. Starrling has amazed me with her writing talent and ability to draw me into the story.

This story is a special one for the series... its the genesis story, both figuratively and literally. Origins literally provides us with the history of the Crovir and Bastian races, starting with the father of Crovir and Bastian himself; and figuratively you will notice some correlation to the biblical account of Genesis. Set during biblical times, you will recognize minor religious references with a story heavily inspired by ancient Sumerian civilization. I cannot imagine the level of research this story required to generate this amount of fascinating detail... but I urge you to read all the way to the end of the book where Ms. Starrling discusses what is fact and fiction with this tale. It definitely had me googling some interesting items like the Weld-Blundell Prism and the Epic of Gilgamesh. If you are new to the Seventeen series, it would be fine for you to start with this book as Origins is a prequel of sorts. If you are not new to the series, Origins offers background on all of the immortal heroes and heroines that we have met thus far - and when I say background, I mean past lives type of background.

The story is broken into three parts, starting with Romerus, father of Crovir and Bastian, as he is crossing the desert in a desperate search for a cure to combat the plague that has afflicted his village and family. This is where you will find some biblical references (these are minor for those who don't care to read about religion), which I found to be fascinating and an intriguing way to begin the immortal's saga. Following that, we move on to the rise of an empire - with both Bastian and Crovir sitting as the conquering kings, while their twelve children carry out battle orders. Then we end with a major war that threatens to topple the empire entirely. 

The main focus of the story will be on these children, some more than others. I will warn you that it gets a little confusing here because, in keeping with the times, all of the children are married to a half-sibling (the blood must remain pure). In addition, those who were born to Crovir or Bastian and their half-sister are elevated, and have special supernatural powers. I had to make a chart to keep everyone straight in the beginning... Starrling did provide a family tree, but my Kindle would not let me enlarge it. If you are starting with Origins, I urge you to pay attention to all of the children as they are important for later books. Now that I have read this prequel, I really want to go back and read the other books again so I can say AH HA! That's where that came from!

Mila really steals the show of the book, and she was arguably the main focus. The youngest of Crovir's children, she is also the most beautiful and the most powerful. With an indomitable spirit and extraordinary warrior abilities, Mila was an excellent heroine. I have to say that I was super excited reading about her character because I was able to make comparisons to a later heroine in the series (who just happens to be my favorite character). Starrling always has exceptional character development in her books, but I felt like Mila had more depth than usual. I was embroiled in her struggle between family and morality, and I totally got caught up in the love story. Yes, all you romance fans, there is a little something in here for you as well. The love story between Mila and a certain character who shall remain unnamed was on an epic scale, even though it wasn't the main focus of the saga.

If I had to sum up this book in one word - I would say that it's RICH. Full of historical details and aspects, political intrigue, war, cunning, action, family strife, oppressed peoples... it's all packed in there. Many times as I sat reading this tale, I broke out in goosebumps. That is definitely the sign of a good story! I have said it in the past, and I will say it again, that I could see any one of these books translating very well to the big screen. I recommend this book/series to male and female readers alike, those who like action, history, and kickass characters.

Seventeen Series

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