Urus Noellor--a boy born deaf who is about to be publicly branded as a burden, incapable of being the warrior his people demand--stands upon a rooftop, poised to throw himself over the edge. His failed attempt at suicide unlocks within him a long-dormant form of magic thought to have died out thousands of years before, a power that may be the key to saving the world from an equally ancient enemy. Urus and his companions--Goodwyn, the greatest warrior in Kest, and Cailix, a mysterious orphan--must find a way to stop a powerful group of sorcerers from destroying the five long-hidden vertices that ward the world against threats from beyond, while fighting off threats from within. They soon learn that the scope of the coming danger may be more dire than any of them could have imagined. As the battle for the vertices spreads to the neighboring realms, Goodwyn must face the realities of war and death; Cailix discovers a devastating truth that could change everything; and Urus discovers his uncanny gifts and courage as he peels away clues to his true identity. But even as Urus gains the power he has always craved, he experiences it all in profound, lonely silence.
Have you ever been wandering aimlessly around the local bookstore, waiting for a book to jump out and demand to be read? Have you ever stumbled across a book with an amazing cover by an author you've never heard of, and after reading the first 2 pages, realized you can't put it down? You're reading during your lunch break, in the car, late at night when you should be sleeping, and even getting up at the crack of dawn in order to read a few chapters before work. You're walking around like a zombie, talking to invisible characters, and making your closest friends question your sanity. The Fifth Vertex is one of those books for me.
I enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy books because it takes real talent to create a completely new world from scratch. It's even harder to get your readers as invested in this new world as you are. Hoffman did an excellent job of creating, not only the kingdom of Kest, but many other worlds that have their own unique and singular characteristics. Each culture is thrown together and forced to work with one another in a way that is foreign to them. As the book progressed, I really felt like Urus because I was experiencing the same events as him with no previous information on the other cultures.
The character development in The Fifth Vertex was fantastic. There were very few static characters throughout the book, allowing the reader to grow and learn with the majority of the characters. A few surprises and a couple twists had me gasping and tossing my nook in the corner while I absorbed the shock. I even caught myself thinking, “I wonder what Urus or Cailix would do in this situation,” several times, drawing a giggle once I realized. These characters become real people in the minds of readers, which really makes the book come to life.
My favorite and most frustrating part of the whole book is the epilogue. It introduces the next book, and also some characters that were only mentioned in The Fifth Vertex. I cannot wait for the next book to come out, and you can be sure that I will be telling all of my nerdy friends to add it to their wish list. I give this book a 9.5 out of 10. If you like adventure, magic, and a fantastic storyline, this book is for you.
Reviewed by Tiffany Hammel
Series: The Sigilord Chronicles
Paperback: 290 pages
Publisher: Kevin Hoffman (August 2, 2014)