Book Title: IndaWhat did I think?
Author: Sherwood Smith
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Goodreads, Amazon UK
Goodreads Summary: Indevan-Dal is the second son of the Prince and Princess of Choraed Elgaer, destined to become his elder brother Tanrid's Shield Arm-his military champion. Like all second sons, he is to be privately trained at home by Tanrid, the brother whose lands he will one day protect.
When the King's Voice comes to summon Inda to the Military Academy, he might well feel foreboding, or even fear-war is imminent-yet youthful Inda feels only excitement. But there are things that Tanrid hadn't prepared him for, and Inda will soon learn that the greatest threats to his safety will not come from foreign enemies, but from supposed allies within his own country.
I'm giving Inda five stars despite a few minor complaints, simply because the ending made me well up. I'll definitely continue with this series. There's a total of four books.
Let's get the minor complaints out of the way first.
Most characters have an official name and a nickname plus a honorific. The honorific is different depending on which language the characters use, which means there's at least four different ways a character can be referred to. It took me a long time to be able to keep everyone straight in my head, and I spent a lot of time flicking back and forth to verify I'm indeed thinking of the right character.
The other complaint is a bit more peculiar. Smith uses an omniscient narrator to tell the story and sometimes switches POV character in the middle of a paragraph. There are chapters where the POV shifts through several characters on a single page. Basically this is a novel for people who are fully awake and are paying full attention.
The world building is ambitious, detailed and intricate. The prose takes a while to get used to, but once you get into the book it flows beautifully. I really enjoyed Smith's narration throughout the book.
The characters are diverse, well developed, and I especially enjoyed the depiction of different sexualities. Plus: realistic women! The first book, Inda, is basically a coming of age story. It has everything: betrayal, a military academy, pirates and magic.
There's definitely a steep learning curve, but it's already worth it by the end of the first book.
I recommend everyone who loves fantasy to give this a try.