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A polished, enthusiastic young adventure story.

By Sharkerbob, author of Graven

Dec 24, 2018: Juryokine is a fun and really solidly written piece of YA literature. It follows a bit of that classic "humble boy meets spunky girl, adventures and shenanigans ensue" formula that leads to an enjoyable tale of heroism and acceptance.

The fantasy world presented is an interesting one, where in there is only one blatantly supernatural element (the gravity control powers of the winged Sorakine race), while the technology of the human society could be seen as simply an alternate path to our own, taking place in an early industrialization era that uses energy crystals as the common fuel resource as opposed to coal or natural gas.

Likewise, the school system that is a combination of college and apprenticeship is an interesting re-imagining of the higher education system, and its those kinds of details that cement the world as alternate to our own beyond just having the blatant difference of a fantasy race.

The characters and their chemistry are well realized. You get a good sense of the pressure Toke and Zashiel undergo, between Toke’s family and his attempts to pass the exams that will determine his future, and Zashiel’s attempts to avenge her master while operating outside the bounds of Sorakine law.

I don’t see much to complain about here. Zashiel and Toke may make a bit of a negative first impression, but this is to give them low points to grow from, and they and their relationship develop well over time. The training arc in the beginning drags slightly, but it does help pace the aforementioned development. Likewise, side characters introduced are used about as much as they need to be, so none of them feel wasted or superfluous.

Another thing to note, this is solidly a Young Adult book, a coming of age story with themes of tolerance, self-actualization, and young romance. As such I would recommend it to teens and YA lit fans, especially if they are a fan of non-traditional fantasy settings, and supers-style action. I am older than that target demographic, so admittedly the book didn’t "resonate" with me as much as it might have if I’d read it when I was younger, but I still think it’s well done within that demographic.

Overall, this was an enjoyable book that has a level of polish to it that I haven’t seen in other web fictions. This definitely feels like it’s been edited and rewritten until its ready for traditional publication, and thus is a solid read even if it wouldn’t normally be your kind of story.

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