Kelsey K. Sather’s Birth of the Anima, Book 1 of Ancient Language of the Earth series is a sweeping fantasy stuffed with magical beings, an ancient war and unlikely heroes. The story follows the lives of several Anima, women transformed into a feline version of themselves and imbued with the power to fight armies. Separated by decades and centuries, here women, once awakened with their new powers, take on the fight against Chaos.
This book was def not one of my favorites. I usually love fantasy, the magic, the lore, the epic battles. But this was meh at best.
I liked the Freda chapters and the Elle chapters, but they still frustrated me and left me terribly underwhelmed. Probably because they were light on the magic, although well written and engaging. They were the only characters that I was able to feel invested in. And Luna of course.
The other chapters though, the Anima chapters, were awful. The number 1 thing that turned me off was the problematic treatment of women of color. Most of the Animas were women with dark/brown skin. And most of them were either tricked or forced into becoming the Anima. And of course, most of them died in a horrific way fighting in a war for a cause that they had no desire to champion before they were manipulated into it. This is why I normally steer clear of books where black and/or minority stories are told by a white voice. Also, the imagery of black/brown women turning into a beast-like creature is very cringe.
Another thing I didn’t particularly enjoy was the constant time jumps. It was very jarring in the first character and this only continued throughout. This made it impossible to build any sort of connection to the various Animas and the slew of shapeshifters, mages, salvagers, and keepers. I hated reading those chapters since I knew they would always end with the death of an Anima and that I’d only end up getting the other characters all mixed up. I understand that some of the infusing these chapters were important but honestly it was a chore to read it.
And finally, so much of the plot didn’t make any sense. Like if the Anima is so important, why isn’t she immortal? Also why was all the magic so useless? And the Animas’ powers seemed pretty basic, enhanced speed and strength, yet the ones who chose to fight all died really quickly. Also why weren’t the others, keepers, shapeshifters, etc., able to fight between Animas? Why did they have to wait for a new Anima when it seemed like they did all the work?
Sigh. So many questions and things that don’t make sense. This is book 1 of a series so I assume some of these questions might be answered but I honestly don’t want to find out.
Overall I think this book took way too long to get to the point and was boring and problematic besides.
I give this 1.5 stars.
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.