Review: The Cruel Path (Bowe Bellanger #0.5) by David J. Normoyle


4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

I was a bit apprehensive when I started to read this short novella, as I foolishly hadn’t realised it was in fact part of a series. Although it is a prequel to the main books, often you need to have read the sequels before the prequels. However, luckily in this case it didn’t appear to be so!

In just a few pages I was sucked into the fantasy world that Normoyle had created, despite the fact that it wasn’t really enough time for detailed world-building, nor would the entire book be at only seventy pages. However, I was immediately given a sense of how tough this world was through the actions of the bully, Grayer, and the reactions of the boys’ family – particularly their father. He is all for leaving them to fend for themselves, which many families appear to essentially do. As teenagers, the young boys (at least, I think it’s just the boys) of this world must take the ‘Green Path’, a test to filter them out by ability, and which only the strongest survive.

The Green Path was the main issue here. As I’ve not read the series, I was never entirely certain about the rules of the Green Path, why it happened, or why the three brothers were being ‘selected’ for it when the previous impression given was that everyone had to take path. However that is through no fault of the author, but my own fault in not checking whether this was part of a series! Irregardless, I enjoyed this short story with its tough world and factions. It definitely piqued my interest in reading the main series, and shows David J. Normoyle as a promising writer of fantasy fiction.

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