Secrets are meant to be kept
Alissa doesn’t believe in magic. Her father’s stories about the Hold, a legendary fortress where human Keepers learn magic from the enigmatic Masters, are just that—stories. But her mother insists that Alissa has inherited her father’s magical ability, and so she must go to the Hold—the only place her talents can be trained.
On her way, she crosses paths with Strell, a wandering musician from the plains. And though Alissa is not sure she can trust a plainsman, Strell has something Alissa needs—one of her father’s old maps. Traveling together, they can reach the Hold before the snow sets in.
But they don’t know that the Hold is nearly empty. The Keeper Bailic has sent the Masters on a fool’s errand and systematically killed the other Keepers in his search for the First Truth, a book of magic that will give him ultimate power. And he believes that Alissa and Strell hold the secret of the book’s hiding place…
First Truth is the first book in its series written by Dawn Cook, though she is well known by her alias Kim Harrison. She has written far more books under that name. Her more famous works include the Hollows books. First Truth and Hidden Truth was originally one book that was split into two. This explains a lot about the way the first book ended. It left a sense of unfinished business behind and now that I know it was originally intended to end differently it makes me feel less inclined to say that I hated the ending.
Every book I have read has had some sort of conclusion that is worth reaching. Isn’t that the reason why you keep turning the page and strive to support the protagonist in hopes of seeing her succeed? Dawn Cook’s first book in the Truth series failed to do that for me, though part of a series it still felt as if the ending was not right. The only thought that filled my head as I read that last sentence and reached the last period in the book was “Is that it? This isn’t a justified ending; it’s not even an ending, what the heck?”
Sorry to say those were my exact words, give or take a small revision in the choice of words. What about the rest? The book did make me cry in a few parts, it even made me start to care for the characters. The story overall was good, it had lots of potential. There were many parts in the story that had me wondering what would happen next. I even grew to anticipate the growing connection between Alissa and Strell, while still pondering if it was possible to reach such closeness in such a short time.
However, despite the occasional intriguing details and twists in the story, especially the one about Strell’s family predicament, the main character was far too annoying; she whined and cared more about getting her hands on the book of First Truth than her friend. Though I must be thankful that towards the middle of the book Strell was more of a center point then the main character, Alissa was practically forgotten for almost half of the book.
There were a few plot holes, not too obvious, and not much of importance. The way time was expressed made it hard to keep track of how many days had passed in their travels and stay at the Hold. The take on magic was a bit hard to grasp at first as well. Ok, I’ll admit I still don’t get it, but maybe it’s just me. In short there were moments I was tempted to put the book down and not continue. Maybe I was expecting too much from a pretty good book?
Sum it up: A decent fantasy story with a tad bit of romance.
What I liked most: A fresh take on the dragon race.
What I liked the least: The ending and the main protagonist.
Would I read the sequel(s)? Yes, if only to see where their relationship goes and to see how Alissa matures, at least I hope she does. Otherwise I don’t think I could take much more of her character.
Keep an eye out for our next book review on Ivy Cole and the Moon by Gina Farago. While you’re at it why not share you take on the book with us?