***I was kindly provided with a copy of The Hidden Face by the author in exchange for a review. All the opinions stated are my own***
A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask.
Once every few hundred years the sun god, the Akhen, takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?
Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal murder of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a female warrior named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.
The Hidden Face is an epic fantasy novel drenched in the atmosphere of the early Middle Ages and in Kabbalistic riddles and is the first book in the Fifth Unmasking series.
The Hidden Face is a new, promising fantasy series. In a land shaped by political conflict and the influence of a God, the setting of this novel is rich in history and warfare. The novel begins with a prophecy. Dayraven and Sunniva are tasked with protecting its secret; the timing and identity of the next Unmasking. It isn’t my favourite trope of the genre, but I can tell a lot of time and planning has gone into the development of the plot and the prophecy (past and present).
The prophecy in itself is unique, which does diversify it from many other books of its type.
There are a number of vastly different characters in The Hidden Face. They all have an interest in the prophecy in order to better their own personal positions. Each has been written well; every character’s motive is clear and their actions consistent with their current scenario. Many of these characters are only really emerging in this first book, but they still stand out as unique individuals. Furthermore, what makes them more interesting is that their history and relationships with one another turn out to be more complex than first meets the eye.
Whilst not an overly long read, I will admit that it took a little while for me to become absorbed in The Hidden Face. In order to understand current events, there is a degree of setting the scene and introducing the main players to the conflict. Once acquainted with these details I found making progress with the present storyline a lot easier.
In my opinion, I think the book would benefit from the world-building being interspersed within the narrative a little more. The early chapters of the book aren’t heavy reading, but chopping between places and characters frequently to set the scene stalls the action from getting going straightaway.
As I have said already though, once the story was set the action is gripping and fast-paced. I blitzed reading the rest of the book and enjoyed watching events unfold.
I really enjoyed the book and I think this series has a lot more to offer! A further two books are expected in the series, with the second book expected to be published mid next year.
About the Author…
S C Flynn was born in a small town in South West Western Australia. He has lived in Europe for a long time; first the United Kingdom, then Italy and currently Ireland, the home of his ancestors. He still speaks English with an Australian accent, and fluent Italian.
He reads everything, revises his writing obsessively and plays jazz. His wife Claudia shares his passions and always encourages him.
S C Flynn has written for as long as he can remember and has worked seriously towards becoming a writer for many years.
THE HIDDEN FACE (November 2017) is his second novel and the first in the Fifth Unmasking epic fantasy series.