YA-Review: Runebinder (Runebinder Chronicles #1) by Alex R. Kahler

Runebinder is the first book in a fascinating new series by a new to me author: Alex R. Kahler. The book is published by Harlequin Teen and I can tell you, it’s quite a ride. Forget Divergent or the Maze Runner, it’s Runebinder you should look out for!

The story
Runebinder introduces us to Tenn, a young hunter in a post apocalyptic world where magic has run amoc and transformed, monsterous humans are controlled by necromancers. Humans are no longer at the top of the foodchain, but rather kept in farms as stock for food or be turned into monsters, by the new elite, the Kin. Fighting them are the hunters, a group of (most often) young people, attuned to elemental magicby runes. Tenn is attuned to water and earth. He thinks he’s just one of the hunters, but soon finds out there is a lot more to him than that when he meets other hunter, Jarrett, from Outer Chicago. From there the story starts snowballing in ways I didn’t see coming.

The writing
The story of Tenn and his friends is set in a dark, gritty version of earth. The author has a flowing, balanced and descriptive way of writing that draws you into the story and makes you see the world as it is now through Tenn’s eyes. As it is told first person, we also get a good insight into Tenn’s mind and way of thinking. This is not always easy to read. The author was very realistic in this part. Not everyone deals well with the apocalypse, unlike you see in some stories or movies. Tenn is depressed and on top of that is a fatalistic character, so at times this combination is not easy to read, but at the same time makes sense.

The world is very vivid and while the monsters and magic are not original, it’s a blend we don’t see often and I thought this was well done. In a way it reminded me of a combination of Avatar and Magic the Gathering and Shadowhunters.

My opinion
Runebinder is one of those rare stories that managed to capture me from the first page. It drew me into the story, right along with Tenn. As said it wasn’t always easy to read with Tenn’s fatalism and depression and there were equal times I wanted to hug him and shake him. I liked this take on magic and dystopian world. It was dark and gritty and nasty and bloody at times, and our heroes don’t have it easy. There is a sense of adventure but also doom.

Runebinder is the first in a new series and I’m looking forward to reading more.


Tip: keep your eye on the blog. There is an interview with the author Alex R. Kahler coming up this week!

Runebinder Book Cover Runebinder
Runebinder Chronicles #1
Alex R. Kahler
Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Harlequin Teen
November 14, 2017
My own personal library

Magic is risen.

When magic returned to the world, it could have saved humanity, but greed and thirst for power caused mankind's downfall instead. Now once-human monsters called Howls prowl abandoned streets, their hunger guided by corrupt necromancers and the all-powerful Kin. Only Hunters have the power to fight back in the unending war, using the same magic that ended civilization in the first place.

But they are losing.

Tenn is a Hunter, resigned to fight even though hope is nearly lost. When he is singled out by a seductive Kin named Tomás and the enigmatic Hunter Jarrett, Tenn realizes he's become a pawn in a bigger game. One that could turn the tides of war. But if his mutinous magic and wayward heart get in the way, his power might not be used in favor of mankind.

If Tenn fails to play his part, it could cost him his friends, his life…and the entire world.

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