The Promise of the Child (The Amaranthine Spectrum #1)

By Tom Toner

Rating: 3 stars

In the far-distant future, Humanity has splintered into a Prism of related species, with the Amaranthine at the top of the pyramid: a small number of immortals who rule ever more precariously, keeping their power by playing the various Prism races against each other. Sotiris, one of the Amaranthine, must travel to Earth (the ‘Old World’) following the death of his sister. Meanwhile, Lycaste is a mortal, living on the Old World, who’s fallen in love with Pentas, but who doesn’t love him back. The arrival of an outsider into their small community changes Lycaste’s life forever.

There is a huge amount of world-building going on here, especially in the early chapters of this book. It throws you right into the middle of things, with explanations only coming later. It makes for a difficult first half or so. It didn’t help that this was the first book that I read after getting an e-reader for the first time, and although there’s a search function, flipping around to reread something the context of what I’ve just read was much more difficult than it would be on paper.

However, even once I got past that and was into the main body of the story, I found it difficult. I didn’t really care an awful lot about Lycaste for most of the book. I found him pampered, whiny and irritating. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that he goes through a lot in the course of the book and develops as a character, but he’s still not really fun to hang around with. Sotiris, our other main PoV character, doesn’t really work for me for a different reason. He’s an immortal, over twelve thousand years old. To him, the mortals are mayflies, and although he tries to protect Lycaste, his motives aren’t pure. And I felt he remained a cipher for the duration of the book (although to be fair, it must be really difficult to write the mind-state of people that old).

The nominal adversary, Aaron, someone who lays claim to the throne of the Amaranthine by virtue of claiming to be older than anyone else, is mostly a shadow figure, only gaining any solid definition in the final pages of the book. But his motivations remain opaque.

Although the pace picked up a lot towards the end of the book, I’m afraid I just don’t feel invested enough to read the rest of the series.

(I got a copy of this book for free from NetGalley[1] in exchange for an honest review)

[1] The author messaged me on GoodReads, *goes to check* good grief, two years ago, and asked if I’d like to review the book. Many apologies for how long it’s to read and review it!

Book details

ISBN: 9781597805902
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Year of publication: 2013

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