Akin, Oryus

 Akin by Emma Donoghue

Noah Selvaggio is a 79 year old getting ready for a trip to Nice, his early childhood home. He is going only because his sister passed away and left him money that she insisted he must use for fun. He hasn't been back since he was sent to America at the age of 4, but he has an interest in searching out information about his grandfather, a famous photographer, and his mother, who stayed in France when she sent him away.

Just before he leaves, he receives a call from a social worker tracking down relatives of an 11 year old boy, Michael, whose father, Noah's nephew, is dead and whose mother is going to prison for drug possession. If Noah doesn't help, Michael will go into the foster care system. Noah can't bring himself to abandon his nephew's son, and so reluctantly decides to take the angry-at-everybody, foul-mouthed but otherwise uncommunicative Michael to France with him. Once there, Noah looks both for answers about his family and a way to connect with Michael, discovering things about his family's past and present that change the way he sees his life. 

A good story and well written. I very much enjoyed this one. 

Oryus by Craig Gordon

The first in a fantasy series with Biblical overtones and echoes of The Lord of the Rings, with a hooded, grey-haired figure who offers words of wisdom and/or impending doom, an assortment of beings from different lands, and an intense young man of noble character destined for a greatness he does not seek.
The plot is decent, but there is only the one story line. I think it must have been written for younger readers who I'm sure would enjoy the adventure more than I did. I found it lacking in depth, with no clear theme and very little character development.

And it was disappointing to find the end of the story set up to lead into a sequel. The last chapter did end on a reasonable note but then there's an epilogue warning of that impending doom mentioned earlier. It would be nice to know how it ends without having to continue a series that doesn't appeal to me. Shouldn't it warn you on the cover somewhere that you're starting a series?


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