You might not believe this, but I read all 400-some pages of The Red Deaths in one day. I got sucked into the world of Candor on a Snow Day and didn't re-emerge until nearly dinnertime. Isn't that just the best way to read fantasy? Let the world be built around you and enjoy the story while you're there without having to reacclimate yourself? I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Candor and am looking forward to potential sequels!
(Note to the authors: there really better be sequels. That ending left me wanting more!)
The Red Deaths follows three young people: Kull, Willyn, and Seam. All three are on the brink of adulthood as their world heads toward war. Rulers of the various Realms of Candor are dying. Blame is being tossed around, and Realms are preparing to go to war over their rulers' deaths. Panic, confusion, anger... all leading to war. Some things don't change whether you're a resident of Candor or a resident of Earth.
The strengths of The Red Deaths lie in character development and attention to detail. By the end of the book, I really felt like I knew Kull, Willyn, and Seam, along with many secondary characters. The reader gets to know all their strengths and weaknesses; their hopes and fears. And you might just be surprised at who you end up rooting for!
The attention to detail from the authors also pleasantly surprised me. Knowing one of the authors, I really shouldn't have been surprised, but I still was. This is a self-published book, but you might not know it at first glance. The writing never fell flat; there were nearly no typographical or grammatical errors; and the writing style is smooth and consistent without. I don't know if Casey & Seth each took turns writing chapters, or if they worked together on the entirety. You never encounter too-abrupt shifts in writing style that would indicated a change in author. I was definitely impressed.
The only thing is that I wanted just a little bit more world-building. But then, I suppose, I wouldn't necessary want a 700-page book! I'm ok with sacrificing a bit of scenic description in favor of such well-rounded characters. And the way The Red Deaths ended leaves me hopeful for future installments, in which we may get to "see" more of the world of Candor.
I could definitely see myself recommending The Red Deaths to others.
TOMORROW I will be hosting Seth & Casey for a When I'm Not Writing post! Check back then to find out what the guys are up to when they're not "in" Candor!
*I borrowed a copy of The Red Deaths from Seth. Thank you! But I highly recommend buying. For now at least, if you buy a physical copy you get an ecopy for free!