Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
1001 Islands by K.T. Munson is a fantasy adventure novel that takes place in a sea-focused world with, you guessed it, 1,001 islands. The story follows several characters (everyone from a kidnapped princess to Elementals and witches to swashbuckling pirates), whose lives converge as rebellion rises within the world. With a full cast of characters, sword-fighting adventure, and two strong romantic subplots, 1001 Islands has everything readers of traditional fantasy crave.
Initially, it took me a while to get into the story. The reader is thrown into the world without much explanation of “the rules” of the land, or who the characters are. There are several characters and plot lines to follow, and while they are each enjoyable and important, there is a bit of a whiplash sensation as the reader is tossed from one to the next. That being said, when they begin to link up, the story truly shines. The characters’ story lines are woven together nicely, each fitting next to the others like adjoining pieces in a puzzle, and highlighting the overarching themes of individualism, freedom, and revolutionary spirit.
As to the characters themselves, they were complex and well-crafted. Munson has written well-rounded, flawed individuals — from their back stories to their present actions. The female characters, most notably Emilia and Princess Roxana, are strong and independent-minded, yet still show deep love and compassion, which is particularly important to me as a reader. (The same can be said of the minor female characters as well.) Likewise, the male characters, specifically The Silence and Caliel, strike the perfect balance between brave hero/love interest figure and the person who needs saving. In short, the characters are extremely well-written, and to me, are what made the novel such a fun read.
While the majority of 1001 Islands kept me captivated (and even smiling) as I read, there were a few moments that sucked me out of the story. Some of this had to do with editing more than story telling, as there were a few errors and other writing issues throughout. However, I daresay, as an author, I am pickier about this than the average reader.
As for the actual story, the only thing that felt out of place was an intimate love scene between two of the characters. Personally, I have no problem reading erotic content (and this scene was perfectly well-written and logical within the plot), but it did take me by surprise, given the rest of the novel politely skirted around opportunities to directly show “adult” content. But truly, it wasn’t a big deal, and I only mention this because I know some readers are uncomfortable with graphic sexual content. To give a better picture, I believe my thoughts were: OH, we’re doing that? Okay, cool.
Last, I felt like the ending was too abrupt. Munson does say in a note that there is a possibility of a sequel, but I still wish more time would have been taken to bring 1001 Islands to a more complete close. As it stands, I think the novel needs the sequel to truly satisfy the lingering questions in the reader’s mind.
Overall, 1001 Islands is an incredibly fun story. It beautifully blends the lines between fantasy, adventure and romance — seamlessly incorporating the hallmarks of all three genres. With a cast of complex, well-written characters and a tightly-woven plot to boot, 1001 Islands is sure to delight readers of good, old fashion fantasy tales.
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