Review Of “The First Five Days” By Archie A. And John O.

Note: I received a free copy of this book from Online Book Club in exchange for an honest review. You can check out both the novel and other reviews here.

*Trigger Warning: This book contains multiple instances of sexual abuse.*

An epic fantasy filled with romantic endeavors, intrigue, and betrayal, The First Five Days is an ambitious tale that unfortunately doesn’t live up to expectations.

When Yosi Sint ascends the military throne of Lionea, he immediately knows that his life is in danger; as all who held the position before him died under mysterious circumstances that could only have been as a result of Dark Arts.
Within the first five days of his rule, before he can begin to understand the treacherous schemes at play, those who lurk in the shadows set into motion a whirlpool of events that leave all who are caught within struggling for dear life… An inopportune time indeed; for the beast to the North, a nation bent on subduing the might of Lionea, stands poised to invade and finish what they started eleven years ago.
In this medieval world of intrigue and peril, there’s no telling who will live or
die…

As per usual, I have an array of both positive and negative comments. I have to say that the book really started strong. The first quarter or so of the book I would say I breezed through. It’s an easy tale to fall into, one that immerses you and keeps you on your toes. However, I found that it quickly degraded as the authors began to show their weaknesses as storytellers.

One of the most important aspects of a fantasy tale is language. If the language isn’t believable for the time/world, it takes you out of the story. While certain passages were beautifully written, other times I found the authors used phrases that simply felt too modern and out of context. A character saying, “no way,” or “wow” in the middle of an epic fantasy feels unnatural.

However, I have to give credit to the authors for their descriptiveness. Multiple times while reading, I found myself cringing and flinching away, almost covering my eyes from the gruesome paragraphs. It’s not often a story causes me to do so. The ending, as well, was one that I didn’t see coming. The writers wove the tale in such a way that it could go in many directions, and it was truly difficult to tell which path it would take. In the big picture, they steered away from obvious choices. It was the details in which they lost me.

It isn’t so much the portrayal, but rather the expectation of women in The First Five Days that angers and frustrates me. While many of the female characters in the novel have skillful abilities and positions of power, the men of the novel expect less of them. Often, the male characters find themselves shocked that a woman can be both beautiful and intelligent/brave. In other instances, the men overlook the fact that a woman cries. They describe it as a weak trait, but something they’re willing to forget about. On top of this, nearly every woman in the book has a tortured past in which they were sexually assaulted. Rape is an unnecessary but extremely common theme in this tale. For a novel published in 2016, I expected more.

Grammatically speaking, I found a few errors, most commonly missing periods and quotation marks. I feel I’m getting repetitive, but my biggest advice to authors is to invest in a good editor. It’s these small aspects that are quite important. The use of “crowed” instead of “crowd” was one that specifically made me cringe.

The First Five Days had promise, of that there is no doubt. And in all honesty, I wouldn’t tell fellow bookworms to shy away from it. The story, as a whole, is far from a bad one. But the many instances of sexual abuse, the lack of faith in female characters, along with the errors and unnatural language causes me to give this 2/5 stars. Despite being an epic fantasy, it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, though I know of many who would really enjoy it.

Remember this is just my opinion! You can read other reviews and see the book itself over at Online Book Club, here!

As always, thanks for reading!

Sincerely, Fiction’s Mistress

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