Full disclosure: I was guided to this particular title based on the recommendation of a good friend of mine in exchange for an honest review.
Books have many focuses or stress different elements. Some are plot-driven; some are atmosphere motivated, and others emphasize characters. When a novel does this, the other elements can sometimes fall to the wayside. However, a reader might forgive this if the elements in focus are developed well. The Four Sworn: Spring Equinox by Lenore Sagaskie clearly stresses characters and the environment, which are well executed, yet the plot gets lost along the way.
The Four Sworn: Spring Equinox is the first novel in the Four Sworn series, which follows Abby – a metalsmith; Sara – a jeweler who is Abby’s best friend; William – an English watercolor painter, whose work can predict catastrophic events; and Joe – a Native American art teacher who works with clay and eventually starts dating Sara. One day, an incident happens when all four people are struck by strange forces with powers associated with earth, water, air, and fire. Meanwhile, Thaddeus – the brother of the Queen of Feyland, the land of the fairies – wants to combine both worlds and be the ruler. The Four Sworn eventually realize that they have to fulfill their destiny and work together to defeat Thaddeus and prevent fairy and human worlds from tearing each other apart.
All in all, the story is essentially Power Rangers, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the Chosen One trope with fairies and nymphs thrown in. The Avatar elements are obvious, but it reminds me of Power Rangers the most because these ordinary people are given extraordinary powers to defeat various villains and to protect various worlds. The main difference between this book and Power Rangers is that the Four Sworn receive powers based on what they do for a living, not on who they are.
As I mentioned before, the plot falls to the wayside in exchange for placing importance on the characters and the environment. This is especially true in the beginning, where the book establishes each main person. There is so much of this that I had to look back and find where they got their superpowers. In addition, I felt that the pacing was incredibly slow right until the third act due to nothing really happening that could move the plot forward. Yes, there is a scene, in which Sara first encounters Thaddeus in her front yard, which got me intrigued. However, the novel also balances that out with slightly unnecessary backstory. For example, does the book really need an entire chapter devoted to Joe spending Christmas with his family? It was nice in all, but it contributed very little to the overall story. The plot could have been beefed up with more action to move the story along quicker.
Luckily, I am willing to put my grievances about the thin plot aside because of how developed each of the characters and the environment are. Sagaskie gives so much description to these people that I could vividly imagine all of them, quirks and all. The most developed of the main four is easily Abby, who struggles with controlling her fire power so much that it affects her relationships with the others as well as with her husband Dan. Like the characters, the environment is also well created. I could feel the water or what is like to be thrown through the air and land alongside a tree that the author describes during one of the major battles in the third act.
For the most part, The Four Sworn: Spring Equinox by Lenore Sagaskie is a well written first novel-in-a-series book. There is not a whole lot of action before the third act, which can be a slog to some readers, especially if they are reading it before going to bed. On the other hand, the main characters and the environment are so fully realized that I am willing to put my complaints aside. I recommend this to readers interested in Chosen One stories, fantasy, and overall character-driven books. This will not be the last time one will see the Four Sworn; I guarantee it.
Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates. Also feel free to email me here for any review suggestions, ideas, or new titles!