Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Exiled (#1) by J. R. Wagner

Exiled (#1) by J. R. Wagner
Pages: 312
Release Date:  May 5th, 2012
Date Read:  2012, April 17th-30th
Received:  ARC via NetGalley
Rating:  2/5 stars
Recommended to:  12+

James, a boy who has trained to become one of the greatest magicians who ever lived, has been falsely accused of murder - murder of the man who he loved as his own father.  His sentence:  Exile to the Never.  Naked, powerless, and lost in a land where nothing is as it seems, James must find a way out - and the truth about the Black Castle that calls to him - and prove is innocence, before everything he worked for means nothing at all.

Exiled began brilliantly.  I'm talking breathtaking prose, exemplary characters, great dialogue, vivid world building...  I'd just read some really average and/or disappointing books and was dying for something exceptional.  Unfortunately, this book started going downhill about 5 chapters in.

James, James, James.  Who are you?  I kept hoping to find out, but his voice felt more and more impersonal with every new page, like the novelty of his character wore off for the author and therefore the reader suffered as well.  I had such high hopes for him, but was let down.  The people James meets in the village started out fascinating as well, but I soon lost interest in them.  They never grew or changed.  Especially Kilani.  I wanted to love her but she fell flat.
The most realistic character, who I actually really liked, was James' mother, Margaret.  She was strong and her actions and decisions progressed with the story.

Things started out brilliantly, like I said.  I was flying, happy, weightless, joyful - but that didn't last.  I dropped like a stone.  Or really, the wind on which I flew just stopped all together.  Sucks to be me.

Where was the excitement, the adventure, the mystery??  Well, I suppose it was there, or at least trying to be, but I didn't get it.  Too much description in the action scenes, and too many slow breaks between the action scenes.

And then there's the POV/time shift.  I'm sorry, but when I'm pleasure reading, I don't like being forced to remember dates and events in order, just so I can understand the flipping back and forth.  For example:
James - now
Margaret - 1894
James - now
James - 1889
James - now
Margaret - 1886

Yep.  It's that bad.  That's not exact, but it hopped around like crazy!  How can you expect me to enjoy that?  I would have rather read from just Margaret's perspective in chronological order - and then, in a 2nd book, about James.  Something like that.

Last thing - what the heck was that romance?!  Or, that totally creepy "16-year-old boy falls in love with a 26-year-old woman who may or may not be in love with but has a strange and possibly intimate relationship with the boy's tutor"?  Just too weird.  Sorry, don't force romance.  If there are no age-appropriate girls for your MC, don't worry - not every YA novel has to have a romance!

So strange.  Not the enjoyable kind either.  I'm just so bummed it didn't stay 5-star quality throughout.  i'm sure I'll read book 2.  Maybe I'll just wait for reviews first...

For the Parents -
Really nothing to report.  A minor curse or two, but nothing that stood out to me.  Recommended 12+.


  1. I read this back in May and I had exactly the same reaction - especially in regards to the romance. Seriously, what was with that?

  2. THANK YOU! I feel so much better having read this comment. haha ;) I'm glad we feel the same way. I mean, creepy romance, right? And the rest was just weird. Thanks for the comment, Leah! ;)