MINI REVIEW: THE FALL (THE BOUND AND THE BROKEN #0.5)
HOW I RATED IT
3/5 Even though I normally like faster-paced stories, THE FALL absolutely bombards readers with a deluge of action scenes interspersed with important character and plot moments that all felt a bit too chaotic for me to enjoy as fully as I wanted to.
The tone of this novella is decidedly darker and more dire than that of OF BLOOD AND FIRE. This is largely to be expected though since it details the climax of a devastating turning point in this world's history. The events of this literal and figurative fall are told across four main perspectives that each shed a little more light on what's happening, while introducing an interesting new character to lead us through each part of the story. It's all done at a blazingly fast pace that is so rapid that I didn't really have the time to feel any emotional impact from the chaos erupting at every turn. It almost felt like reading the epic conclusion to a larger story where you only get to read the last few chapters. Fortunately, reading OF BLOOD AND FIRE first will help set a lot of the context that would otherwise be missing, but I still think this could have been more impactful if it slowed things down a little.
Each of the four main characters were well realized with distinct personalities and compelling motivations. While I don't feel as though I spent enough time with any of them to really form a strong bond, I can easily appreciate their individuality and enjoyed following the story from each of their vantage points. I think this was also a nice showcase for how well Cahill can manage different POVs and I hope there is more of this type of writing later in the series.
This novella's contribution to the overall worldbuilding in the series is fairly significant even though the story is so small. The magnitude of the events that are detailed here is incredible and I'd be very curious to know how later books build upon this. It was also just nice to have Cahill show us how this historic moment played out when we'd previously only been told about it in stories.
As this is included at the end of the audiobook for OF BLOOD AND FIRE, it also has the same great narrator and stellar audio quality. It's worth mentioning again how nice it was for this novella to be included with Book 1 (only in audio format). The eBook is also freely available by signing up for the author's newsletter, so really the only format where you'd have to pay anything to read this story is if you wanted a paperback copy.
THE FALL is a whirlwind of a novella, that I would definitely say is best read after OF BLOOD AND FIRE. A lot of people have given this high praise, but it ended up feeling a bit too rushed for me in spite of how I generally enjoy faster-paced stories.
(+) Cool to see the climax of a pivotal moment in this world's history
(+) POV characters were interesting and distinct
(+) Lots of cool action scenes with dragons
(-) The breakneck pacing didn't really leave me any time to care about the events blazing by me
(-) Too little time was spent with each main character for me to really feel too connected to them