Title: Breaking Damian
Series: The Fallen Emperor #1
Author: Eren Morgul
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: December 15th, 2020
Synopsis: Damian lives on the streets of the Gauntlet—a megapolis where magic wielding weavers from four different Houses and ordinary people coexist peacefully. His life is a struggle and he’s doing anything to get by, including stealing from wealthy merchants and working in the mines, all the while dreaming of becoming a weaver.
Then, one day, he shows signs of magic and his life changes forever.
But when the Emperor who has been ruling over the Gauntlet for two hundred years disappears, the Houses turn on each other and he finds himself at the center of a power struggle.
Now, with civil war threatening to engulf his world, he realizes that it is up to him, and him alone, to end the conflict between the Houses and save everyone he loves.
Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In the Gauntlet, where weavers, those who can use magic, and benthon, ordinary people, live side by side, orphan Damian struggles for survival on the streets. All Damian has ever wanted was to be a weaver and wield magic of his own. When one day he finally does manage to weave a spell, he is noticed doing so by a powerful weaver and his life changes overnight as he starts training to use his ability. But Damian soon realizes that he has gotten more than he bargained for – the Gauntlet is poised to descend into a power struggle with the Emperor gone missing – and Damian is about to find himself at the center of a brewing war.
The very first thing that struck me about this book is the world-building, particularly the magic system. Along with being original, I really appreciated how simple and easy to follow it was despite the details being revealed only gradually. It was fun to learn more about each type of weaving in depth, how it worked and the rites of passage each had. The magic itself was not explored as much as I would have liked, but this is a series after all, and this book provided a good introduction. This is definitely a story that is more plot driven than character driven, but it turned into quite the fast paced, engaging adventure that makes up for it.
The entire story is narrated from Damian’s POV and he was a well written character for the most part. However, with the focus being on the plot, many other aspects were rushed or outright skipped, the most obvious being the familial relationship that Damian forms with Kelden as he comes to consider him as a father. While I can see this as a plausible development over time, the book made it happen without spending any time building it up. Another thing is that Damian was an incredibly gullible character that made this a frustrating read at times – he walks into several extremely obvious traps and trusts people blindly who have given him absolutely no reason to do so. It would have also been nice if the secondary characters like Melissa had been developed more.
This is a very cleverly written book in that several things initially felt predictable and I wondered why it was so obvious, but that one final twist was something I didn’t see coming at all. It essentially turns everything on its head and it has been a long time since a fantasy novel has surprised me that much. When I look back upon it, there was actually quite a bit of foreshadowing, but it was so subtly done that I managed to miss every hint! This story has a lot of potential and I’m quite interested to see where Damian’s story goes next. This was an entertaining read that would be appropriate for YA readers of all ages and fantasy fans are sure to enjoy it.
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!