Rate: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Author: J. Adrian Ruth
Publish Date: January 6, 2020
Series: #1 of Heir to the Scion
Thank you so much to BooksGoSocial for giving me an ARC of Join or Die by J. Adrian Ruth via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
There’s a rich person in their house, uncanny on their middle class suburb. And then normal human Alex (or what he thought) is brought to Kentucky all the way from Vegas to attend a magical academy. Turns out, he’s some kind of candidate to become this Otherworld leader to continue the peace between different breeds of Creatures. Clueless and ignorant, he gathers people to become his support, to learn from, and to be his protectors.
If you’re a fan of something like Harry Potter x Percy Jackson x Magnus Chase x Vampire Academy with lots of daddy issues, magic-academy tropes, and lots of cursing, you’ll love this book. If you’re looking for fresh air, then you might want to drop the book. There’s a concept that’s different but if you dislike the tropes I mentioned (which is appears majority of the book), I think it wouldn’t work for you. However, since it’s just the first book of a series, you can also stick around and see what becomes of Alex and the One True Ayer(s).
S P O I L E R S A H E A D
Alex is 14, yet his voice is someone 18 or 19. The people around him are the same age or at least a year or two older but they sound nothing like 14-16. And too much cursing though not really a problem as most kids nowadays curse a dozen times a day, but for a YA, yeah, definitely too much.
Let me talk about Alex. He has daddy issues, he hates his dad and never fails to throw an insult whenever his dad is the subject, whether it be spoken or thought. And honestly, it gets annoying. He’s whining, a lot. Even in the first few pages. It almost made me drop the book but I gave him a second chance. But yeah, too much whining for my taste. I also actually never realized Alex was 14 until 10 chapters in. His voice sounds so much older, though there are times a 14 year old replaces him, but I only saw that twice or thrice.
Alex is also hailed as an heir, and it could be because we’re still in Book 1 but he does not show any qualities of a leader. He’s dependent on his friends, and does not show interest to learn about the world he’s in (or so what we see in this book). Though can’t blame him, he was suddenly pulled out from his normal human life.
Now let me talk about the world. In this world, there are Creatures, there are many different breeds. Dragons, succubus, vampires, you name it. I find it interesting, especially that the book showcases other creatures other myths such as from Japan, and Hawaii. There is also the leader called Scion, and his ciorcal. I didn’t really understand how the government in this world works, it was not explained fully well and I’m confused. The concept of the world’s glamour and immortality was also not further explained. And I wish the book did, especially that this is the first book of the series, the foundation. But, I can say that technique left me hanging and wanting more. Though it might not work with other readers, especially since there is more or less a year in between the release of the next book and the first book.
The writing is good, not too many flowery words but description is adequate and not too overwhelming. It could be because I’m reading an ARC but some parts lack details. An example of what I mean is this: Alex and some of his friends step outside from somewhere. Someone calls Alex. He turns and the scene goes on but his friends seem to be forgotten. Like, what did they do? Did they stop too? Did they continue and leave Alex or stood by? There are also times I do not understand where the characters are because it skips a few minor but important details. One example is Alex gets ready to leave his room, and then the next paragraph he’s out on the courtyard or something. Did he jump or something?
We also have Alex’s friends. Each one has their own personality, and own background and cultures and it would be fun to delve in deeper. I want to know their motives on joining Alex’s ciorcal and the benefit they could gain. The relationships were built strong and they all have chemistry. Especially Elvy and Win, which are the two I’m looking forward. I can already see the fanarts oh god.
To be honest, this book has the cliche tropes, academy, daddy issues, parents leaving kids or parents being dead, journey on finding your magical abilities, usual high school drama, betrayals, and fight to the throne esque. The usual YA tropes. And I’m not saying it’s bad to use them but others might see it as ‘done over and over again’ and might be a reason to put down the book, but there’s something to the writing, the characters and their personality, the world, and in general, the delivery, that you’ll keep reading and turning next. There are many things left unanswered, things left to be explained, which I hope will be answered in the next book. For the meantime, I will give this book 3.5 stars.