Review, Reviews

Book Review || Scar of the Downers (#1) by Scott Keen


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Scar of the Downers
The Scar of the Downers Series
Scott Keen
Publication date: February 27th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
WiDo Publishing
274 pages

Rating 4.5/5

Branded on the slaves in the Northern Reaches beyond Ungstah, the scar marks each one as a Downer. It is who they are. There is no escaping this world. Still, strange things are stirring.Two foreigners ride through the Northern Reaches on a secret mission. An unknown cloaked figure wanders the streets of the dark city of Ungstah. What they want no one can be sure, but it all centers around a Downer named Crik.

Crik, too scared to seek freedom, spends his days working in his master’s store, avoiding the spirit-eating Ash Kings, and scavenging food for himself and his best friend, Jak. Until he steals from the wrong person. When Jak is sold to satisfy the debt, Crik burns down his master’s house and is sentenced to death.

To survive, Crik and his friends must leave behind their life of slavery to do what no other Downer has ever done before – escape from the city of Ungstah.

 

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I received this novel from XpressoBookTours. I’m part of the book tour for the second novel, The Rise of the Branded by Scott. I decided I have to review the first book before I review the second one. 

The blurb sparked my interest on the spot. I did not know what to expect, but I thought it would be a unique read. And yes, the book lived up to my expectations. I’ve never read a fantasy novel from a slave’s perspective. 

Now, onto the actual review. 

plot

The novel follows Crik and his story. Crik and Jak are humans, but they’re part of the Downers class. Downers are slaves, and they wear a brand engraved on their skin with hot metal. Some people are born as Downers, while others become Downers due to certain circumstances. 

Most of the novel focuses on Crik and his quest to become free. It does not happen right away, since Crik is afraid of making a move – rebelling in any way is punishable by death. 

The novel is fast-paced and very entertaining. The story Scott created is quite unique – the action does not take place on Earth – or at least not the Earth we know. The world created has its own rules, creatures, kingdoms and so on. Pretty captivating, that’s for sure.

I also like how the author managed to portray the Downers’ lives. It was quite easy to imagine how hard it is to be born into slavery, even though I never experienced that. The author does a very good job at giving life to his story.

characters

This book has a lot of interesting characters. Although Crik is the main character, there are some sections/chapters that are from other characters’ point of view as well, including the villain(s). 

Now, a little bit about each character (at least the ones that are more important):

Crik — the main character. He is an interesting and dynamic character. Crik grows, changes, matures. He will do anything to make sure Jak is safe. Although at first the thought of living Ungstash is not a solution for him, Crik becomes instrumental in fighting for the Downers.

Jak — we don’t get to read from his perspective, but Jak is an important character. Mostly because he is important to Crik. Jak is a sweet, orphan child and he loves Crik with all his heart. He does go through terrible situations, but Crik is always there to save and protect him.

Kilvar — Crik and Jak’s master. He is a terrible man. He steals stuff from people and then he sells them, and he uses the boys to do his dirty work. Kilvar does not care at all for the boys; he does not even give them food to eat. However, Kilvar it’s not the worst person out there, as Jak finds out. Which is saying something about the people that live in Ungstash. 

Adevin — the novel opens with his story. However, it is cut short pretty quickly thanks to Kilvar. I first I thought that Adevin survives and we’ll see him again, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. A pity; Adevin is a kind young man – he even wanted to take Jak with him and free him. 

Talorc — Adevin’s dad. He becomes a part of the story later on in the book. Talorc is one of the free people that care about Downers. Moreover, he helps Aniel fight against the King.

Gabril — he is not human. He is “The Son of the Mountains”. However, he is a good man and travels with Talorc. 

Durgan — the captain of the King’s soldiers. He is not a bad man, but he does not say anything when injustice is committed. He follows the rules and he keeps his head down. His fate becomes pretty bleak at the end of the novel, and I am curious to see how he will handle his new status.

Tinker — Crik’s girlfriend, and also a Downer. 

Aniel — the mysterious woman that helps the Downers. She is not human either; she is an Avarah. Aniel is very powerful and has some magical abilities. Her mission is to free the Downers and fight against the King. 

romance

This not a romance novel, but it does have some romance. Crik and Tinker are together, and their moments are pretty cute. I personally like these two as a couple. 

final-thoughts

I really like The Scar of the Downers by Scott Keen. I am pleasantly surprised with this new fantasy series. It has everything that I like about the fantasy genre: mythical creatures, adventures, suspense, some drama, a unique world, complex and dynamic characters.  

recommend

Definitely! I think most people will love this book, especially the ones who adore fantasy, but also by those who are not the biggest fan of the genre.

Some people might not be very thrilled with the different points of view – I know that some readers prefer one perspective, instead of multiple. This is the only thing that might make people not enjoy this series that much.

Either way, I encourage you to give it a try, and I am sure you will enjoy this new adventure! 

lauraxo

Author Bio:

Scott grew up in Black River, NY, the youngest of three children. While in law school, he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer. So he did the practical thing – he became a writer. Now, many years later with an MFA in script and screenwriting, he is married with four daughters, two of whom he home schools.

Website / Goodreads

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