Chimera by Thomas Allen — SPFBO 9 REVIEW

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I had intended on doing video accompaniments for all of my reviews, to including cuts, but I’ve just had a lot of bad personal news this week and it’s leaking all over my face. I don’t want this review to come off super overly negative since I’m kind of unable to smile at the moment or put any kind of enthusiasm into anything. I also need to get a move on and start posting these reviews. So, I’m just going to review a few written-only reviews for cuts and hopefully I’ll get some mojo back shortly.

I enjoyed the beginning of this book, there’s a mom running from a creature trying to keep her children safe, the Harvesters are central to the story from beginning to end. They are horrific chimera like beasts that hunt children for reasons that aren’t known — the younger children are, the better. It’s not custom to name a child until they have survived their first Harvest, which comes like clockwork every 60 days coinciding with the cycles of the two moons of this world. There is a special tree that has a sap that for whatever reason repels these creatures and so every Harvest the citizens spread it all over their house so the creatures are forced to pass them over and go to another house to find children.

The MC is only seven or nine years old (forgive me but I can’t remember precisely) and he’s got a baby sister, a mom, and a dad at the start of the story. They seem like a normal healthy family, some bickering but mostly kind feelings and support. It’s nice to see family not be a point of contention for a young MC but rather a pillar of support. Now, that said, I had some questions here and things that felt inconsistent. We were introduced to his father as he was wearing his one and only tunic he owned which was stained and gross. However, just a paragraph later it says that this same father runs a respectable and a fairly well-to-do forge business — presumably, he could afford more than one shirt and should as a business owner he should to put off the right air/marketing. It’s a little weird if you walk into a reputable shop and the owner looks homeless. There were things like this I found a little rough around the edges that were in need of clarification or editing.

Now, the father has pretty outspoken and loud anti-authority feelings and starts to loudly proclaim that the noble class was doing something fishy with the supply of sap since the commoners are getting less and less sap each Harvest leaving some that have to go without. Now, again, I have questions. If you’re all poor and this happens predictably on a schedule and only the children are hunted… would you not just fortify one building and make sure it’s all good and protected and just keep all the kids safe? But, I digress.

As far as the kid, I liked him. He was a little too mature though and that’s a weird complaint to have since I don’t like immature characters, but at seven to nine years old he’s having some very socially conscious thoughts. Like the fact that his uncle was making money off their family in an underhanded way when even his father didn’t see it.

The world building was somewhat vague to me, I wasn’t really clear on who all the power players were, how they interacted with each other, the world at large, or what the status of technology and society were, it felt a little inconsistent with the bronze age which I believe this book was trying to portray. The world building we do get tends to be in the form of infodumps which isn’t my favorite way to be introduced to the world.

It actually took a bit of time to get to where I feel like the plot was heading, which was a magic school of sorts. As it turns out, our MC has more magical potential than many professional and high level wizards have seen in their times. It would seem to me that later on in this series there is going to be a huge overpowering of this MC if things track the way they are supposed to. He’s equally skilled in two different schools of magics, having two “primes” and ALL of the other magics he is able to use as a secondary – which is unheard of. The people testing his potential are at a loss because they’ve never seen anything like it, so it has some chosen one vibes although I can’t recall anything about prophecy in the portions I read.

Overall, this will be a book for people who like coming of age stories, magic schools, highly powered MCs, and creature battles. I made it through a good portion of this book, over halfway through, before I decided it wasn’t going to knock off one of my top three books. Had I started here first I may have finished — so this is by no means a bad book it just didn’t reach my top three for Kristen. Thanks for your submission and I hope interested people pick up your book!