Welcome to my stop on The Half-Light blog tour! Huge thanks to Blackberry Blog Tours for giving me the opportunity to take part in this! I was provided a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
Ever since Prince Kai witnessed his mother killed by a dragon his father, the King, became overprotective and Kai grows up in the sheltered palace unsure of his place in the world. Then one day, two people who know his mother better than most decide it’s time to test Kai’s abilities and see how much of his mother resides in him. After successfully bonding with a Nabean black wolf, Kai’s powers awaken and he has the potential to be more powerful than anyone could have predicted. However, these abilities aren’t common knowledge outside of the Katori people… Will Kai be able to keep his secret as a Half-Light and take on more responsibilities as a prince?
I thought Prince Kai was a well written teenage protagonist, he wasn’t the perfect prince and was still learning about his abilities that he needed to keep secret but that didn’t stop him from trying his best. Whilst there were times his dialogue felt slightly too old or too formal, as he is a member of the royal family it simply highlighted the difference in status between him and other characters his age rather than make him seem older than he was. What was also refreshing for this novel was the way that adults interacted with Kai, regardless of whether it is due to his royal status or not, it was great to see the adults in the novel take Kai seriously and encourage him to investigate and discover for himself rather than they tell him that he is too young or that it’s nothing for him to worry about.
We are introduced to quite a few characters in this novel and although we don’t see all of them for very long, as this is the first in a series it is likely that they are just being introduced to come up again later. I really liked Shane and his friendship with Kai, especially with how that is strengthened by the end of the novel. Although we didn’t see her very often, I hope that we get more of Riome in the future as I loved this mystery spy character! I also liked the addition of Rayna not only was it sweet to see Kai developing new feelings for her, as well as the fact that there may be more to her than initially meets the eye. Going back to the subject of the adult characters, I was really intrigued by King Iver’s portrayal, in the beginning I was expecting him to be harsh and standoffish but I really enjoyed the moments where he and Kai were alone. It actually felt like a father and son relationship rather than a king and a prince.
This introduction to the series did a lot to build mystery around Kai’s secret status as a ‘Half-Light’; of the Katori people and of a potential traitor in the palace. All of which make me incredibly excited for the next installment. I’m also looking forward to more worldbuilding as we don’t get a whole lot of it in this novel; we get snippets of information about the Katori people or about Diu City but not always in the context of the wider world. It was also slightly difficult to place the royal family in this context too, as on the one hand they are treated as such and there are other times where it seems far more casual. We are only introduced to one other setting firsthand in this book, of Hamrin, which is towards the end of the novel. I think this particular section would have benefitted from being longer and more developed as it was such an interesting arc but it did feel a little rushed. However, as this is a Middle Grade / Young Adult read I think this pacing would keep younger readers engaged. Despite these little niggles, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book as a whole or stop me from seeing the great potential this series has.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and it sucked me in. I found I was looking forward to picking it back up again and everything was fresh in my mind as Kai was just so memorable. I loved the sort of cliffhanger ending of the novel too and it definitely has me hooked into the series! You’ll be as delighted as I am to know that books two and three of the Katori Chronicles are already available on Amazon and books four and five are on the way, so go and get stuck in!