A gripping tale of a fantasy epic to stop war
Just a fair warning: my novel kind of does the opposite, but I think we're going for the same theme here! This novel is a LOT better than a lot of novels here on Inkitt, and I've read quite a bit at this point. I'm going to start off with the flaws I found in your story first, because I still want you to feel that you've done a good job on the novel. Which you HAVE. If you fix these few points, I think you've got an excellently written story. This is going to be a LONG review, but I want to do you justice.
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Con 1: The pacing can be a little too fast. Unfortunately, the inconsistent pacing was jarring enough that I really couldn't ignore and just focus on the story. That's not to say the entire novel has bad pacing. In fact, I'd say the majority's pacing is just right. However, there are some very important plot points in the story where everything happened too fast, and I literally went back to reread the paragraphs to make sure I didn't miss anything. Some examples:
1. Bradford's death after finding out the truth about his wife - it's such a crucial thing to have happened, yet I felt like he just needed to sit down to digest the information instead of actually dying.
2. James' turnaround at Bradworth b/c of his time in prison - I just think there wasn't enough covered with him to make me find it believable that he would finally turn against his friend.
3. Alecta's return - and the reveal that she can be a little too murder happy. They were arguing, and suddenly she was gone in a murder spree, and then just as quickly dragged away.
4. Nick murdering the king - once again, it just happened too quickly without any flourish of "WHAT JUST HAPPENED!?". The narration itself glossed over.
Con 2: Cora. I think Cora as a character just wasn't explored fully. I can see her as some badass, witty woman, but a lot of her arcs just sort of fade away. I felt so riled up with her when she gave the Scragglers freedom, but then it died down almost immediately after she met up with the band and suddenly had a lot of self doubt and uncertainty when she was so certain only a few chapters ago.
But now let's get to the fun part. You have some excellent points I must praise you on.
1. The world. My goodness, the kingdoms are SO interesting and unique and creative! I loved every single one of them that they visited. I loved Crowsbeak the moment it was introduced, and I loved every single city afterwards as well. I think you did such a good job with crafting this fantastical world, and it's just so much fun. Like I legitimately want to visit there just to sightsee as well.
2. Character development with Enid and Bradworth. I personally thought Enid's character development was better done than Bradworth because I saw her coming as this curious, completely oblivious girl to someone who REALLY takes charge and finds confidence in herself and what she wants to do. That's not to say Bradworth's character development wasn't done well. I think he's really matured and grown as a man by the end.
3. Dust's reveal. I really liked that plot twist with him, and once again with the fact that your world is so colorful, having a traveling group of actors is just so intriguing and fun to join along.
Honestly, you have two of THE most important elements of a fantasy story checked (world building and character development). You only have a small way to go for an absolutely extraordinary novel. Keep in mind that I RARELY do extensive reviews like this, but you really deserve it, so I hope it helps!