The Cracked Altar by Timothy J.R. Rains

The Cracked Altar by Timothy J.R. Rains
Publisher: Creativia
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (280 pages)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

A missing princess. A city under siege. A compendium of the blackest sorcery.

The Grand Mage of Caragol is the most dangerous man in the realm, so when Kerstin steals his spellbook right out of his tower, she lights up a firestorm of trouble.

An army sweeps through the city of Klomm, but countless lives are a petty sum for such great power. With the spellbook, Kerstin can deal with the villainous Count Olgris, and the unspeakable horrors conjured by the Grand Mage.
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But she is dancing on a spider’s thread.

Meanwhile on the other side of the kingdom, fifteen-year-old Hinkle walks a tightrope of her own, spinning a web of dangerous lies around her new master, Sir Gilkrist of Lothellae.

When Sir Gilkrist’s quest brings them to Klomm, she discovers the secrets she’s been hiding are darker than she ever imagined. A diabolical scheme threatens to engulf the world in shadow and blood – and it has everything to do with her Aunt Kerstin.

But can Sir Gilkrist help her… or will he devise a dark purpose of his own?

This book has a lot of potential. Set in a world where horses, sword fights and sieges are the norm, magic can also be found – both good and bad magic. The locations are very visual and some of the minor characters drag your attention. For instance Kerstin the Witch of Kromm wields magic in an attempt to save the city. I could really feel the effort she was putting into her magic, and the fact she wasn’t really very nice came across wonderfully.

The two main characters – Hinkle and Sir Gilkrist were somewhat lacking in depth. Hinkle spent most of the time second guessing herself and bowing to the will of others. Even when she took control she didn’t really know what to do. Sir Gilkrist was a pompous idiot. He originally didn’t think it right to take Hinkle with him, but then used and abused her by ignoring her needs. He didn’t really seem to know what he was doing half the time and went against orders to do what he (wrongly) thought was best.

I believe if the two main characters had more depth to them this book would be a winner. It has all the right ingredients to make it a good read, but needs more work to take it to this level.

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