Does objective truth exist? It’s a question that has plagued philosophers and scientists throughout the ages – and, in the era of “alternative facts,” one of central relevance to virtually every headline, issue, and interaction we encounter.
The son of a street sweeper and last in line of a disgraced family, Whym has grown up in the RatsNest slum of the capital. In the hopes of escaping his father’s fate, he accepts an apprenticeship to be a seeker – something akin to a modern-day bounty hunter. Soon, he finds himself entangled in a web of treachery and set forth on a perilous journey across the Lost Land to locate a creature of myth and magic – a journey that will not only transform Whym, but shape the future of the realm.
Meanwhile, Quint – the privileged son of a powerful religious leader who has been groomed to inherit his father’s role – abandons his faith to join the fight against a corrupt council. As the adviser to a remote tribe in the Fringe, Quint must find within himself the wisdom and fortitude to save the people from the invading army – and their own leaders.
Told in alternating perspectives against a backdrop of heightening civil unrest, Birthrights tracks Whym and Quint as they are forced to distill what they believe, and decide on whose side they will stand in the coming conflict. The first installment in McNeal’s four-part Revisions to the Truth series, Birthrights is all at once a heart-pounding page-turner and a thoughtful, timely meditation on the unwieldy nature of the truth.
As many know I am very picky when it comes to reading fantasy novels. It’s not in my interest to waste time learning the history of a fictional culture and investing my imagination into a journey if it doesn’t appeal to me.
Birthrights had a very complex and well-developed background; I particularly loved the little bits of historical references or poetry before each chapter. It piqued my interest not just in the quest but in actually exploring the world that Mr. McNeal created. Although, I do wish the chapters were a little longer so as to give readers more time to acquaint themselves with characters, I still found myself picking favorites. When I first requested the book I imagined it to be a young adult fantasy but was pleasantly surprised with the heavy themes that the book presented.
I have to admit that I did have issue with how the book treated the rape of Kira; the most we get from her is her relationship with Whym and then we don’t hear much from her. I don’t think rape should be used to make a female character stronger, so I hope future books for this series will stay away from that.
The wonderful aspect of Birthrights is that Mr. McNeal does not neglect his characters in favor of the journey we follow them on. Birthrights is a thought-provoking read with a beautifully created culture that readers will appreciate. I hope to see more of the world Mr. McNeal has created for Birthrights.
I look forward to reading the second book of this series.
Format: Paperback (552 pages)
Publisher: Elevate Fiction
Publication Date: June 6 2017
Author Info: Kyle McNeal grew up on the side of a mountain in Western North Carolina, far enough from neighbors that imagination was often his primary companionship. He discovered a magic there―along the winding logging trail, beside the backyard stream, and within the hidden hemlock fort―that instilled a dream to one day share that magic with the world. Thus, while meeting with recruiters during his graduation year from Georgia Tech, he answered the “five-year plan” question with his intention to write fantasy. But first, five years turned into twenty. He worked in management consulting and private equity before tackling the challenge to start and run an operation in China. Seasoned by his many travels and experiences, and eager to write full-time, he resigned his management role abroad and returned to the U.S. From his home in Fort Mill, South Carolina, he strives to merge the nuances of the real world with the magic of imagination, to weave stories that both entertain and provoke reflection.
Thank you to Smith Publicity for allowling me a review copy of Birthrights. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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