“Shouldn’t my heart have healed by now?”THORUNN – Esther T Jones
Nine years ago, Skytown soldiers brutally murdered Kenton’s family. Now those same men aim to return and destroy Kenton’s hard-won, idyllic life amongst the peaceful shifter people of the Hinnom Forest.
Meanwhile, Laine Riven – dragged from Earth to Thorunn against his will – is stuck navigating an unfamiliar school, his jerk of an uncle, and the rising threat posed by the Outpost Terrorist.
When their paths clash amidst tragedy and betrayal, Kenton realises he and his best friend Bo may have rushed headlong into a situation too impossible to fix.
Time is running out as frix season closes in, and their only shot at victory hinges on outrunning the seasoned bounty hunters, savage creatures, and unpredictably violent weather trying to kill them every step of the way. . .
Content Warnings: accidental opioid overdose, violence, death of a family member (on page), grieving, torture (on page, descriptive).
I received a free e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest and fair review. This does not, in any way, influence my views and review.
Release Date: 20 May 2020
THORUNN is a diverse young adult sci-fi novel following three teens caught up in the dealings of a shady government, and the responsibility they feel to make the right choice to better their lives.
Despite having an incredibly compelling, and dark first chapter, THORUNN definitely had a rocky start for me. I felt that the descriptions and general writing of the book was well done, but to me the initial dialogue was stunted, it seemed like some of the main characters didn’t have a rational reaction to anything that happened for the first 200 pages. This was probably highlighted for me because I didn’t like the one main character, Laine, whose perspective takes up a majority of the first quarter of the book. However, he did get considerably better through the last three quarters of the book, especially through his interactions with Bo and Kenton. Conversely, I thoroughly enjoyed Kenton’s parts of the book, and those chapters helped the pacing of the first act of the story for me – in fact it was during one of his parts that I felt the tone of the book made a massive shift, and become more cohesive and enjoyable in all aspects, through all character perspectives. There were definitely some great moments from the jump, which pushed me to keep reading.
Although it had a rocky start, and it took me a while to find my footing, I can fully say that after about the 200-page mark, when our two main character’s paths cross, THORUNN was a consistently compelling and fun read. I really enjoyed the motivations of the characters and the journeys they went on. At times the story took some truly dark turns, and I thought that Jones handled the change to and from the lighter aspects of the book with grace and ease. The darker and more intense scenes were incredibly done as well. Jones truly shines with her action scenes, which take up a majority of the second half of the story, and are peppered in throughout the first, and I felt myself completely glued to the page while truly wild antics were happening with our main characters.
The handling of guilt, and of the anger of young teens who have been tragically stripped of their childhoods, and have been let down by those who should have been looking out for them, was one of the highlights of THORUNN for me. Despite my dislike for him, there were some moments where I truly felt for Laine and the series of events affecting his life. I enjoyed how differently the three main teen characters handled loss and pain, as coping and healing is not a linear or unilateral experience. The theme of family is a strong one and there are various kinds of families amongst our cast of characters and was another highlight for me. I also feel its important to note the tenderness and intimacy between Kenton and Bo, well Kenton and anyone he cares about actually, because it meant a lot to me.
THORUNN is one of my first forays into young adult sci-fi in recent years, and it was an honest treat. I know not many people are willing to wait through quarter of a book to pick up speed, but I think I only struggled with them because I didn’t like Laine’s chapters. I thought the other perspective chapters were interesting and that the story in itself had a good and steady start. I also believe that the wait is completely worth it. The first quarter spends time establishing the world and its characters, so that throughout the rest of the story you fully understand motives and choices. I was so enthralled by the story of THORUNN, a tale of trust, doing all in your power to look out for those you love, and trusting your sense of self above all else to do the right thing.
About the Author:
Esther T. Jones has been writing stories in her head since she was five. She loves wandering the wilds of rural America–where’s she’s dreamed up many a story. When not writing, Jones can be found gardening, playing flute and piano, and designing costumes centered around her novels Thorunn and Tedenbarr of Have Lath.
At present Jones is working on a few stand-alone novels as well as a multi-book series set in a distant and mysterious era.