Synopsis: STRIPPED OF HIS POWERS AND BANISHED TO THE NEVER, JAMES MUST SAVE HIMSELF BEFORE HE CAN SAVE HIS FELLOW SORCERERS FROM IMMINENT DEMISE.
Prophesied by the greatest of all seers to be the sorcerer who would bring an end to the Epoch Terminus—the destruction of his kind—James grew up developing his powers under the watchful eye of his mentor, Akil Karanis.
James’s insular world is shattered when he is found guilty of murdering Akil and exiled to The Never, a mysterious and dangerous place reserved for the worst of the worst, a land from which no one returns.
Powerless and alone, James quickly learns that the land itself poses a greater threat than its inhabitants. If he is to have any chance of returning to his family, any chance of proving his innocence, any chance of saving his kind, he must survive the dangers and temptations meant to ensnare both body and mind in order to discover what no one else has been able to discover—a way home.
JR Wagner’s Exiled is the first in The Never Chronicles series. The cover is dark and mysterious, a perfect reflection of the synopsis. I was intrigued by the story, and you know me, I was lured by the cover.
In Exiled, James Lochlan Stuart IV has been wrongly accused of murder. For his unfortunate punishment, he is exiled to The Never, a place no one escapes, and is stripped of his powers. Set in Europe in the late 1800s, James is determined to find his way back. What he doesn’t expect are the discoveries that he stumbles upon during his time in the Exile.
James is the anointed one, with the promises of great power and magic. Being exiled was definitely a story standard, but Wagner wrote this hero in an interesting way. I admired James’ strength, and I only wish to have see a lot more of it. Much more than the flashbacks. I wanted to know James in present day, but there are two other books to read through. I was immediately empathetic to James and his trials, and by the end, James was my hero.
Wagner’s world is amazing. The Exiled is filled with water and magic, something that isn’t usually used as a setting. He was detailed, enough so that I was there right next to James. I wish there was a little more to the character development of the supporting characters. Ankil should have been the other main character, but I didn’t feel there was enough of him to invest in. I didn’t appreciate Kilani as much as I wanted to. And really, too bad. This little glimmer of romance would have been so great in Exiled.
I felt a few disconnects throughout Exiled. In the beginning, I felt the nice speed of plot momentum, only to be halted by a flashback. It didn’t flow, for me. A problem I have sometimes with fantasies are the details. Sometimes, I feel that there is too much detail to explain the world, the characters, and their history. It’s like there is too much information and not enough interaction. Because of this, I couldn’t fully connect to James.
I loved the concept of Exiled. I loved how Wagner too James’ fears and turned them into something that he gathered his strength from. I loved the challenges that was set in front of James. I haven’t seen any of these in a story in a long time. And while I had a few issues with the story, Wagner kept me interested throughout the book. Regardless of my own disconnects to the story, I was interested enough to keep going.
And I’m really glad I did. I wasn’t exactly happy with the ending, but that usually happens for me when it’s the first of a series.