Review: Voice of War (Threadlight #1) by Zack Argyle

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Rating: 8/10

Synopsis

While preparing for the birth of his first child, Chrys Valerian is tasked with uncovering the group responsible for a series of missing threadweavers–those able to see and manipulate threadlight. With each failure, the dark voice in his head grows louder, begging to be released.

A young girl from a secret city in the center of the Fairenwild veers off course to explore the streets of Alchea. She never expected that her journey would end in chains.

Far in the deserts to the south, a young man’s life changes after he dies.

When Chrys learns who is responsible for the missing threadweavers, they come for him and his family. He must do everything in his power to protect those he loves, even if it means trusting strangers or, worse, the dark voice in his mind.

Together, they will change the world–whether they intend to or not.

Review

Voice of War is a tremendous debut that grabs it’s influences and blends them into something that’s reminiscent and aware of those books, but’s also something exciting and gripping of its own. This is an epic fantasy in the same vein – and for fans of – the Lightbringer and the Stormlight Archive series.

What I loved most about this book was the magic. I’m a stickler for a well-defined and thought-out system that knows its limits but also has enough left outside of those defined limits to really wow the reader when it must. And that’s certainly what threadweaving is in Voice of War – a way for the users to use light and use it to either push or pull on objects dependent on what colour of eyes they have, restricting their use of the magic. It’s clever, it leaves our heroes, like Chrys, with options where he’s able to outperform and manoeuvre normal humans. But these powers are very restrictive in themselves and certainly aren’t the answer to everything.

We’re introduced to the world slowly and gradually, none of it overwhelming the reader – the pacing is nice and works into quite the ending. We learn about the Fairenwild (I listened to this as an audiobook so my use of terms may be off) which is full of intriguing flora and dangerous fauna. Of which, the chromawolves are the most interesting: a race of incredibly intelligent wolves that can completely blend into their surroundings and do bond to the humans who live there. There’s nothing like the relationship between human and animal to warm the heart and Laurel’s relationship with Asha, a chromawolf was so cool to see.

The plot itself moved quickly – the main plotline being the mysterious colour of Chrys’ newborn son which mixes nicely into the blood thief subplot where a criminal organisation are kidnapping threadweavers and stealing their blood. At first as what looks like a commodity to sell to non-threadweaver patrons then melds into something a lot more sinister. The POVs were well-grounded in their surroundings and nothing seemed too hard to follow; Alverax’s was my favourite story. At first, it was the most disorientating but quickly became the answer to some of the questions I had about the plot, it was a clever use of multiple POVs to fill the reader on the world slowly.

Chrys was my favourite character because he reminded me of Dalinar from the Stormlight Archive, his past is drenched in a history of slaughter he’d rather forget and within there’s untapped power that both shy away from; he’s thoughtful but quick to anger if his family is harmed – which is where his values lie, in his family. That also doubles up as his weakness and creates a good dynamic between the voice in his head who values something really quite different.

Overall, Voice of War is a fun read and I’m certainly looking forward to starting the Stones of Light – which I’ve heard considerably ramps up the action in the first.

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