March 26, 2014 by mmileti
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Sunstone is Freya Robertson’s new novel and her sequel to Heartwood. The events of Sunstone take place twenty-two years after the setting of the first book, well after the defeat of the Darkwater Lords. This book, like Heartwood, takes a while to engage the reader. The plot also follows a very similar formula, and involves another threat to the Arbor. It is a well-written novel, but has a slow moving plot that does not significantly contribute to the world building established in Heartwood.
The story begins when Chonrad’s widow Procella and their three children come back to Heartwood to explore rumors of elementals that have discovered a way to tap into the Arbor’s roots. These Incendi elementals have caused strange fires that combust mysteriously across the world, and since the Arbor’s roots spread through time as well as the land, it will take heroes from three different timelines to join together their sunstones and defeat this new threat.
Sunstone is written on an epic scale, and separately all the elements of the story are fantastic. The world, while not completely unique, really takes hold of the reader’s imagination, and it is filled with many interesting cultures. The elementals are extremely creative antagonists, and their threat to the world is thrilling. The characters are diverse and likeable, even if I did not find them completely engaging. The problem is these elements are not brought together in a way that appeals to the reader, and I found it very difficult to engross myself in this book. It is obvious that the author planned the book excellently, but when it came to putting characters, plot, and setting together, she did it in a way which made the story flow but which was not very exciting.
My main problem with the story was that there was far too much internal monologue from the characters and not enough action. I am not always a fan of fast paced novels, but I like my books to have a good balance between depth and excitement, and this novel did not live up to my expectations in this aspect. I was also unsympathetic to many of the character’s problems, and many of the action scenes were not written in a way that seemed authentic.
Overall this book is mediocre. It is mildly interesting, but I often felt bored when reading it, and I sometimes became annoyed with the protagonists. Because of these issues, I would give it a rating of 6/10.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.