Fortuna Sworn Review
Title: Fortuna Sworn
Author: K.J. Sutton
Description: Fortuna Sworn is the last of her kind.
Her brother disappeared two years ago, leaving her with no family or species to speak of. She hides among humans, spending her days working at a bar and her nights searching for him. The bleak pattern goes on and on... until she catches the eye of a powerful faerie.
He makes no attempt to hide that he desires Fortuna. And in exchange for her, he offers something irresistible. So Fortuna reluctantly leaves her safe existence behind to step back into a world of creatures and power.
It soon becomes clear that she may not have bargained with her heart, but her very life.
(Trigger Warning: graphic depictions of violence and sexual slavery.)
Fortuna Sworn is a fantasy paranormal romance that is told from the point of view of the main character who shares the title name. It is the first in a series that is still being released at the time of this blog post being published. The second book's title, according to Goodreads, will be Restless Slumber and will follow the events where the first book leaves off.
In the beginning, the preface is an easy transition into the world. The detailed actions of the character in it add to the mood - one frantic with questions for the reader. There is a rough jolt between the preface and first chapter though. The reader is dropped right into the middle of a situation that they don't feel a need to care about. There is also a heavy amount of info-dumping done during these points.
Fortuna, the main character, is strong and stubborn. She possesses a deep passion for those she cares about. It's something that lures her into trouble more often than not. However, there were times when she varies from what the author seems to have wanted to portray her to be. Her emotions as a narrator don't quite feel like they belong to one person.
The problem arises in her constantly deviating from an established mindset with little to no reasoning. This makes everything she does feel inorganic and instead like a device to simply propel the plot forward. It was unrealistic in a way that discarded practicality for the sake of a satisfying moment. For example, her reliance on Collith even after he betrays her feels wrong to her character.
As a general fact, the lore is interesting enough to learn about. Keeping that in mind, there were instances where the lore got lost in translation. The magic and mechanics of the world are hard to get a clear picture of at the start. Consistency throughout was spotty with characters placing emphasis on a fact of their world in one instant only for it not to actually matter or even be true later on.
The pacing can be too fast so that nothing sticks with the reader. You aren't quite able get a grasp on anything before the story continues forward at an increasing speed. This is especially demonstrated in the transition between scenes. A thread that should exist to connect plot points seems loose at best. Everything gets to be detached and unlinked at a certain point due to this.
Dialogue is natural and flows easily most of the time but when it doesn't it feels stiff and unrealistic. Once it finds its grooved, the dialogue can be perfect. The issue is that it sometimes starts out lurching. Often there is a sense of no thought put into how parts of the passage are transitioned into the dialogue that slams into the reader out of a blind spot.
The author is great at establishing tension between characters and the dynamics that arise from them. On the other hand, characters seem to simply sway with the story, their personalities shifting to best suit whatever needs to happen. The priorities the characters are supposed to have can fall out of order. And along with this, they aren't multi-dimensional enough for the reader to feel a need to forgive them for their mistakes. It is a goal the author appears to be aiming toward in regards to Collith and Fortuna's relationship.
Love scenes between the pair of Collith and Fortuna are forced down the reader's throat with the subtlety of a bull in a china shop. At the start of the romance, it's too rapid and random. Relationship arcs and dynamics present as stilted and abrupt. The romance feels more like a plot device used by the author than an actual natural development.
The story almost feels superficial at times. Its main storylines are intriguing in how they are told in a way that almost manages to carry the story - but not quite. None of the elements really wowed in a way that makes the reader understand why they're continuing to read it. As the story progresses, it does get better from the beginning.
Overall I truly do not believe this story was necessarily bad. The author possesses raw talent that can't be bought or manufactured. Their skills just need to be more finely honed and more carefully brought to fruition in the future. And I very much look forward to reading more from them in the years to come.
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