The author of this book gave me a free copy in exchange for a review.
“Trial By Fear” has a pretty good setup. The main character, Beon, starts out as a boy who has been raised by goblins and wants to escape. He makes an attempt, and it goes very badly very fast. This makes for a good beginning, as I was curious where it would go from there.
I think the book needed to be longer. It shot through a lot of scenes, and left me confused in places. For example, there was a flashback scene where Beon states that “he’s in his room”, but I had no idea what that meant. Did he mean his room back where he was raised by the goblins, which would make the most sense as feeling like ‘his room’? Did he mean the room that he stayed at after being saved? Did he mean the room in his flashback? The story didn’t provide much detail about his statement and left me a bit disoriented as he was in a flashback, then back in present – and at the time I wasn’t clear exactly about his present circumstances, either.
Basically, it needed to slow down. Another issue was the amount of characters. This is a short book, and there are a lot of names thrown around in it – Beon, Rezon, Cheltok, Calandria, Calno, Kayna, Lisilsa, Garor, Vorray, Arlia, Derap… Needless to say, there wasn’t enough time for all of these characters to be developed. Many of them appear briefly, and their backstories are gone through in a flash.
On the other hand, there’s nothing really bad in this book. There’s some violence, but I didn’t think it lingered too long on gory details. There’s a good setup. I think my favorite character development was when Beon first learned to read. After getting praise, he began almost obsessively writing. It made sense for him, after living with constant insults his entire life, to really desire to succeed and get more praise. I wish the story had slowed down and given more scenes like this.
This book doesn’t really have an ending, it just stops. It felt more like I read half of the book and the next half of the book was missing. We basically got the “training montage” and then it ended.
A teen may very well enjoy this book. If it looks interesting to you, go ahead and give it a try. I give it about a 6/10.