Altaica by Tracy M. Joyce

Altaica by Tracy M. Joyce

Title: Altaica
Author: Tracy M. Joyce
Series: Chronicles of Altaica, #1
**I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

**I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

As the army of Zaragaria descends upon the land of Arunabejar, the inhabitants must decide whether to hide or flee from the merciless army. Despite their own doubts, Isaura and her friends lead their people to an old ship that will take them downriver and away from danger. But inexperience and dire circumstances hurls the ship into the ocean and far from land. Stranded at sea, resentment begins to build amongst the people and whispers of Isaura’s lineage begin to circulate. When all hope seems lost, the mysterious inhabitants of Altaica take an interest in those aboard, rescuing Isaura and her people. But this land has its own battles to wage and the survivors of Arunabejar are about to flee one war only to be dropped into another.

“Isaura pressed the bow grip against her throat, pinning her down. An arrow thudded into the cabin wall behind them. The woman’s eyes widened in understanding. ‘Not me. You want to live? Shut up and stay down!'”

Altaica‘s greatest strength is its worldbuilding. From the treacherous circumstances aboard the barge ship to the mysterious people of Altaica, Tracy M. Joyce has constructed a world full of magic and thrilling battles, with just enough mystery to drive the story forward. In this first installment, Joyce focuses on two contrasting societies and brings them together. The leaders of both societies are challenged and the decisions they make will shape the lives of everyone.

Isaura is a mystery to those around her and even to herself. Her mother, a member of the Hill Clans, a people rumored to dabble in magic, has long passed away and the only father she has known is wary of her. There are those loyal to Isaura like her friends Nicanor and Lucia, but others like Elena cannot forget the girl’s unknown ancestry. Altaica is told from the third person point of view and is very liberal in its narrative. At times the POV seems a little scattered as it jumps from one person’s experiences to another’s. And although Isaura is supposed to be the main protagonist, she is absent for a large portion of the story.

There were a few stagnant characters that I found to be underdeveloped. Elena, the wife of Curro, is motivated far too much by her jealousy of Isaura than would seem logical and without a clear history of these petty feelings, it was hard to find her character believable and after a while, I failed to see how she contributed to the story as a whole. Overall, Altaica was a good introduction to an interesting fantasy series.

Rating: 3/5

★★★

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