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“The ancient family sword’s immaculate steel blade reminded him that there were still parts of the world where this was the only weapon people had, the old ways were still alive and well, and there were creatures out there and powerful things beyond what he could ever imagine.” Lowell Bracken had complete control. His empire, his ruthless executives, his family’s legacy, hi “The ancient family sword’s immaculate steel blade reminded him that there were still parts of the world where this was the only weapon people had, the old ways were still alive and well, and there were creatures out there and powerful things beyond what he could ever imagine.” Lowell Bracken had complete control. His empire, his ruthless executives, his family’s legacy, his wife, his children, they all had a part to play in the near omnipotent control he exerted in Cumeria. But a freak attack exposed how tenuous that control really is, and Lowell scrambles to preserve it, discovering he is only playing a small part in larger, darker schemes for control. From the shadows, mysterious and disturbing threats disrupt the already-turbulent business landscape in Cumeria. When blood is spilled, the fight for survival becomes more than just a euphemism for going out of business, and the Brackens’ struggles to retain order might be the only thing keeping all of Cumeria from plunging into chaos. The Scars of Ambition, the first book in The Cumerian Unraveling Trilogy, contains two maps, an appendix of names, and roughly 95,000 words.


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“The ancient family sword’s immaculate steel blade reminded him that there were still parts of the world where this was the only weapon people had, the old ways were still alive and well, and there were creatures out there and powerful things beyond what he could ever imagine.” Lowell Bracken had complete control. His empire, his ruthless executives, his family’s legacy, hi “The ancient family sword’s immaculate steel blade reminded him that there were still parts of the world where this was the only weapon people had, the old ways were still alive and well, and there were creatures out there and powerful things beyond what he could ever imagine.” Lowell Bracken had complete control. His empire, his ruthless executives, his family’s legacy, his wife, his children, they all had a part to play in the near omnipotent control he exerted in Cumeria. But a freak attack exposed how tenuous that control really is, and Lowell scrambles to preserve it, discovering he is only playing a small part in larger, darker schemes for control. From the shadows, mysterious and disturbing threats disrupt the already-turbulent business landscape in Cumeria. When blood is spilled, the fight for survival becomes more than just a euphemism for going out of business, and the Brackens’ struggles to retain order might be the only thing keeping all of Cumeria from plunging into chaos. The Scars of Ambition, the first book in The Cumerian Unraveling Trilogy, contains two maps, an appendix of names, and roughly 95,000 words.

30 review for The Scars of Ambition

  1. 5 out of 5

    Pauline Ross

    I really have no idea what to make of this. I don’t even know what genre it is. It comes complete with maps of an imaginary world, with two continents with places like the Cetaline Mountains, the Seasand Desert and the Boiling Sea. There’s magic and sword-waving tribes and dragons, of a sort. So it must be epic fantasy, right? But then it has electricity, planes and trains and mobile phones (cellphones), and some kind of internet. The early chapters are focused on a boardroom squabble between tw I really have no idea what to make of this. I don’t even know what genre it is. It comes complete with maps of an imaginary world, with two continents with places like the Cetaline Mountains, the Seasand Desert and the Boiling Sea. There’s magic and sword-waving tribes and dragons, of a sort. So it must be epic fantasy, right? But then it has electricity, planes and trains and mobile phones (cellphones), and some kind of internet. The early chapters are focused on a boardroom squabble between two energy companies, one based on gas power, the other on solar. So it’s a corporate thriller? Energy-punk? Cyber-punk? Search me. The story focuses around the Bracken family - Lowell, the head of the gas energy company, his ex-wife Tris, and his three children, Sierra, being groomed to take over the company, Randall, a politician, and Taylor, just off to university. They are wealthy and respected, so life seems set fair, but of course there are storms brewing. No surprise there. I found it rather pleasant to see a family as the hub of a fantasy novel. Usually the protagonist is an orphan, or at the very least scarred by his or her dark past. But these seem like normal folks with normal problems - Sierra struggling to make her mark at work and dealing with an obnoxious co-worker, and Taylor showing off to his college pals and trying to get laid. I confess to having some difficulty with the juxtaposition of seemingly modern people and situations, yet with traditional fantasy elements in the mix as well. Much of the story concerns office politics (and some actual politics, as well), which feels just like a contemporary work, but sometimes the transition to an outbreak of magic or some difference between the created world and the real world was too jarring for my taste. It’s very difficult to invent a world which has many aspects of modern life yet still feels believably ‘other’, and for me it didn’t quite work. A couple of problems. One is credibility. The CEO of one power company makes an arrangement to visit the CEO of his opposite number, something that’s never happened before. That would be a huge deal, with all the senior executives present, and a metric ton of minders on all the doors, just in case of trouble. But no, he walks into the boardroom unannounced and overhears a secret conversation. No, I don’t think so. Let’s not even mention the daughter who decides on a whim to take a bag lady home to live with her, just because said bag lady has a cute little dragon. Or the son who finds himself in the midst of a cult that wants to drink his blood: 'Oh, all right then...'. Who signs a blood pact without even asking any questions, like - will I survive? And will there be hideous long-term consequences? Then there’s one power company boss’s brilliant idea to send someone overseas to buy up essential components needed by the other power company. It has to be someone who can’t possibly be traced back to the company. I know, let’s send the boss’s ex-wife, Tris. You know, the one who's never been abroad and who's only skill is in growing and arranging flowers. Just the ticket for a critical and highly secret corporate mission, and no one will ever connect her to the company... so that's really going to work well. Not. The other problem is the, at times, heavy-handed writing style. ‘But Lux produced a much more intriguing weapon from the back of his pants: a gun with the hammer positioned to come down on a pale green stone, which was lodged against a small three-pronged rack feeding little metal pebbles into the back of the tube. “Oh my, that’s Florjium. You can only find it in Didjubus and it’s acidic,” [Tris] said. The man glanced at her, not comprehending. “When you hit that stone to shoot the metal bullets, the toxins from the stone also hurt you!” ' Florjium - oh my! From Didjubus, even. A couple of questions arise from that: how would Tris know so much about it? A flower or a strange plant she might recognise, but a rare mineral? And, even if she’s somehow an expert, all that explanation would be much better as exposition rather than clunky dialogue. Throughout the book, the writing style seems rather flat, and loses much of the tension from the action sequences. None of this would matter if the plot worked, but for me it just didn't hang together. A lot of things happen to the various characters, but it all seems fairly random and none of it makes much sense. Everything that happens to Tris, for instance - why? Why do the people she interacts with treat her that way? Why is Taylor (the teenage son) of any interest to the blood-drinking cult? It makes no sense. I need to understand people’s motivations to really get swept up in the story, but here I was constantly saying: huh? Why would he/she do that? The main characters all seem rather passive, too, simply going along with whatever is happening around them, and surrendering far too easily in the early parts of the book. Some of it was just plain dull to me - the corporate skullduggery, the teenage boy at college, the political machinations... I don't read fantasy for that stuff. Now, there are moments where things get interesting, with hints of magic or the little dragon, the hooded man and the weird cult, and a cool sword fight in the boardroom (yay for swordfights! if there has to be a boardroom then let’s have swordfights in there) - intriguing things that kept me reading to find out more about them. Frankly, I could have done with a lot more of that. And there was plenty of action going on, with suitably villainous villains doing villainous things to our heroes. If the villainous villains seemed a bit on the moustache-twirling end of the spectrum for my taste, there are plenty of readers who like their fantasy black and white, with no messy grey ambiguity to muddy the waters. As the story plays out, several of the characters change from passivity to taking charge of their lives, and this is absolutely fine. It’s just a pity that in most cases the means for them to do this is simply dropped into their laps. Taylor and Tris simply reversed into their situations, without a single coherent thought, it seems to me, and even Sierra’s moment of decision happens by chance. Only Lowell decides to take measures to make his own good fortune. On the plus side, this is a highly original blend of traditional fantasy with modern technology, and I applaud the author for the attempt. I like the idea of basing a story around a family, and the fundamental message is a good one, if portrayed a little heavy-handedly. There are some imaginative touches which work well, and if it wasn't really my cup of tea, there are many readers who enjoy this kind of straightforward tale of basically good people trying to make the world a better place (and get rich or laid at the same time). Two stars, and a small cheer for the swordfights; all corporate mergers and takeovers should be decided by the CEOs personally using swords, in my opinion.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pie Pie

    4 word review: Go read this book. More than 4 words: This is a great book with a totally different take on fantasy and sci-fi. It blends the lines between the two genres so well that I can't exactly tell what it's supposed to be. The planet the humans live on this time is physically different from earth in two notable ways. First, night lasts 100 hours or basically 4 days split into 4 cycles. This isn't technically sound if the humans evolved on that planet, so I'm assuming that this is a colonized 4 word review: Go read this book. More than 4 words: This is a great book with a totally different take on fantasy and sci-fi. It blends the lines between the two genres so well that I can't exactly tell what it's supposed to be. The planet the humans live on this time is physically different from earth in two notable ways. First, night lasts 100 hours or basically 4 days split into 4 cycles. This isn't technically sound if the humans evolved on that planet, so I'm assuming that this is a colonized world that has technologically regressed. It could also be a created world. It helps me envision it, but these ideas might not be the author's vision. The second difference is there appears to be no sulfur for gunpowder. Guns and bombs exist, but they are created from alternate materials like biofuel, natural gas, and possibly magic. (there is magic, but guns aren't explained in detail) Ok. So in the book, we follow the Bracken family who are all pretty freaking awesome. 3 kids, a dad, a wife from a convenience marriage, and an ex wife who the dad still loves. The dad, Lowell Bracken, runs the biggest corporation in the area providing energy to the Clawlands (home) and neighboring regions (who act as separate states). Each region is controlled by major family run businesses. There is what seems to be an ineffective and corrupt government, but that government still holds enough power to take down a corporation if they do something really wrong. We follow the family through intrigue, magic, and eventually (view spoiler)[war at the end (hide spoiler)] It's a fun ride and I can't wait for the changes in this book to show their ramifications in the next one! Now as to the two critical flaws with this book. (The science stuff I can overlook, but I wish it were more sound and explained) First, the length. The story is so freaking short that it's hard to see all the monumental change happening so quickly. The author does a good job moving you around, but as the reader you have to kind-of fill in the gaps. Second, and I think this is 100% caused by the first problem, character personality changes are not explained very well. It all wraps up nicely at the end, but I would have loved to see Tris and Taylor's transformation as much as we got to see Lowell and Sierra's. Even sierra's relationship with the old woman could have been fleshed out more. I grew to care about the old woman, but hardly got to learn anything about her. These two flaws are glaring and I surmise that they are artificial failures created by the current book publishing industry that favors small books. I dearly hope that the author gets to write longer sequels and fleshes out the character stories as he goes. It was incredibly easy to fill in the gaps myself based on what was written, but I shouldn't have to darnit! Specifically I wanted to know more of Tris and Lowell's life before his second marriage, what brought Tris to helping the needy, Bracken Energy's past, the old woman with the animal's (view spoiler)[dragon (hide spoiler)] past and present with sierra, Taylor's desire for joining up with the underground movement, and Bolt's daughter. (view spoiler)[Melody's one dimension is fine because I'm assuming she'll be around in the next book(s) as a villain. (hide spoiler)] . I'm sure there's more but you get the idea. In conclusion, the book is fantastic and must be read. Due to some major flaws I have to give it 4/5 stars. But not only is it a great introduction to a new world, a new economy, some old school magic, and a loving family; this book is also a complete story in itself with a satisfying ending and some small foreshadowing for the future. Not enough that I feel shafted for reading it, but just enough to get me excited for the next in the series.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jefferson Smith

    As CEO of the world's most successful energy company, Lowell Bracken is at the top of his game and beginning to plan for his children to succeed him. But when a small upstart solar power company enters the scene, it triggers a series of political dominoes that will completely destabilize the power structures of the entire planet, and Lowell will be lucky to escape with his children - and his skin - intact. This one is hard to pigeon hole. Part eco-drama. Part fantasy. Part political thriller. It' As CEO of the world's most successful energy company, Lowell Bracken is at the top of his game and beginning to plan for his children to succeed him. But when a small upstart solar power company enters the scene, it triggers a series of political dominoes that will completely destabilize the power structures of the entire planet, and Lowell will be lucky to escape with his children - and his skin - intact. This one is hard to pigeon hole. Part eco-drama. Part fantasy. Part political thriller. It's set on an alien planet, but with a tech level similar to our own. There is some kind of pseudo-magic, and dragons, but both are kept fairly low key in this first installment. Despite these promising elements, this one didn't quite grab me. Lowell in particular seemed rather inconsistent. He's touted as a ruthless and ultra-savvy CEO who built his company up from ashes, against heroic obstacles. But when the chips were down, I never saw any of that heroic ferocity and competence in evidence. If anything, he comes across as a has-been who is now easily duped and slightly bewildered. It's one of those cases where the author describes the kind of character we all love to admire, but doesn't actually write him in a way that's consistent with that hype. And while some of the other characters do live up to their billing, they are so uni-dimensional that I wasn't able to bond emotionally with any of them. Overall, I felt like this book took me to the brink of a really enjoyable ride, but left me standing there. It didn't quite have the horsepower to tip me over the edge and deliver.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Harry

    Some very good ideas and the possibility of a GREAT book here. But the execution lets it down somewhat. I love the raw ideas, the setting and mixing of genres, even the outline of the story itself is compelling. My problem mostly is with the pacing. It's too quick. We jump from place to place and person to person rapidly. Plot threads that could have taken some time to develop are rushed through. A mystery is set up on one page to be solved two pages later. I'd ask the author to take his time wi Some very good ideas and the possibility of a GREAT book here. But the execution lets it down somewhat. I love the raw ideas, the setting and mixing of genres, even the outline of the story itself is compelling. My problem mostly is with the pacing. It's too quick. We jump from place to place and person to person rapidly. Plot threads that could have taken some time to develop are rushed through. A mystery is set up on one page to be solved two pages later. I'd ask the author to take his time with the next book. Let us savour some of the situations the characters are in and take it in. Taylor just joins Nissa with that group because...? He's horny? Okay, I'll buy it but draw it out. Make that a longer seduction. You don't just meet a hot girl and join a terrorist group just like that. Come on. That's the sort of thing I mean. There are some good ideas here though. I liked this book and will certainly read the rest of the story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    N3O

    Ok, it was confusing at first. But, as I read, I eventually liked it. I had read number of reviews as I was reading the book because I was confused as to the genre. Was it a fantasy where a world such as Middle Earth had jumped ahead into the future with technology while maintaining a measure of the old magic world? Was it a sci-fi set on a different planet with fantasy elements? It took a while to get into it; all the “shop talk” concerning the energy, gas, corporations, etc kind of slowed it d Ok, it was confusing at first. But, as I read, I eventually liked it. I had read number of reviews as I was reading the book because I was confused as to the genre. Was it a fantasy where a world such as Middle Earth had jumped ahead into the future with technology while maintaining a measure of the old magic world? Was it a sci-fi set on a different planet with fantasy elements? It took a while to get into it; all the “shop talk” concerning the energy, gas, corporations, etc kind of slowed it down a bit. But, after it got moving, I realized that the story HAD to be built up with important background info for the reader, characters had to be introduced in a certain way so that one would know who was who when things got hairy. I did end up liking this book. I will be reading the second book to see what plan the family made and what the lives of all the main characters turned out to be post-Cumeria destruction. This was a unique storyline with interesting and imaginative story telling. Very creative.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Interesting read For reasons I don't know, I put this down about halfway through quite some time ago. I picked it up to read a few days ago and was enthralled. It's got a dragon, swords and some kind of strange magic, all within a semi-modern setting (though not on Earth). I find myself liking the Bracken family and would like to see what comes next. Interesting read For reasons I don't know, I put this down about halfway through quite some time ago. I picked it up to read a few days ago and was enthralled. It's got a dragon, swords and some kind of strange magic, all within a semi-modern setting (though not on Earth). I find myself liking the Bracken family and would like to see what comes next.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gwynneth Ott

    Evil corporations, or evil people? The maps are good, and the descriptions are enough to put the picture in your mind. Lots of characters to follow, but the story flowed really well. I am interested in the second book to find out "the rest of the story". Evil corporations, or evil people? The maps are good, and the descriptions are enough to put the picture in your mind. Lots of characters to follow, but the story flowed really well. I am interested in the second book to find out "the rest of the story".

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Good book You people should just read this book yourselves and write your own review on this novel yourself and I really enjoyed reading this book very much so. Shelley MA

  9. 5 out of 5

    John Patrick

    What do you get when you mix Game of Thrones with a little bit of Mad Men for flavor? That is exactly what I thought of when I started reading The Scars of Ambition by Jason Letts. I found this book through the Fantasy & Sci-Fi Fans, Artists, Readers, Writers, Filmmakers & Cosplayers facebook group and started reading with a very open mind. The book is the story of Lowell Bracken, CEO of Bracken Energy and patriarch of the powerful Bracken family. His company is the most powerful energy provider What do you get when you mix Game of Thrones with a little bit of Mad Men for flavor? That is exactly what I thought of when I started reading The Scars of Ambition by Jason Letts. I found this book through the Fantasy & Sci-Fi Fans, Artists, Readers, Writers, Filmmakers & Cosplayers facebook group and started reading with a very open mind. The book is the story of Lowell Bracken, CEO of Bracken Energy and patriarch of the powerful Bracken family. His company is the most powerful energy provider in the continent but a cleaner energy competitor is starting to eat away at their margins. A fight is brewing and it will not just take place in the market. His competitors have already dispatched agents to his facility and after a magical assassination attempt in the parking lot of his headquarters it looks like it will be war by the old ways. What struck me most was how fresh the premise of this book seemed. While the concept of fantasy in a technological world is a theme that is most recognized from the Shadowrun Universe this world is something different. The land of Cumeria isn't a world that started with one and the other just spontaneously arrived on the scene. It was a Fantasy world that developed technology and the society we see in the book reflects that. The feudal lords have become captains of industry and rule over corporations with various domains. Battles and feuds are just as easily fought with lawyers in a courtroom as they are with fully armed mercenaries. But even in this enlightened world of satellite power grids and electronic wire wars there are still barbaric places where power comes from skill with a sword. I really enjoyed this book. It was a fresh concept with a unique world and story. There were a few times where the things seemed to not quite make sense and I had to go back and re-read a section because I had missed a key point. But that is more my fault because the more I get into a story the faster I tend to read. I really would have liked to see more back story for the world. In the final act we find out a dark secret of how the Bracken's first came about their power but this very important fact is revealed in a few sentences and one cryptic foreshadowing earlier in the book. It didn't seem to have the gravity of how important it was for the reader to have this information. There were also a few side plots that left me scratching my head even when they came together in the final act. But all of these things just give me hope for the next book in the series. I'm hooked and I can't wait for book two so I can see if the answers I was looking for in the first book will be revealed then.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jake Scholl

    Ever get tired of a Medieval Fantasy setting? Or have you ever wondered what would happen when Middle Earth's technology would become like ours? With The Scars of Ambition, Jason Letts answers these questions. The novel takes place in a land called Cumeria, where the government hardly has any serious power, and wealthy all powerful corporations control nearly every aspect of life. Much like Game of Thrones, these wealthy families behave much like the squabbling Houses of Westoros. But, the backg Ever get tired of a Medieval Fantasy setting? Or have you ever wondered what would happen when Middle Earth's technology would become like ours? With The Scars of Ambition, Jason Letts answers these questions. The novel takes place in a land called Cumeria, where the government hardly has any serious power, and wealthy all powerful corporations control nearly every aspect of life. Much like Game of Thrones, these wealthy families behave much like the squabbling Houses of Westoros. But, the background setting is much like modern day. There are airplanes, gas powered vehicles, computers, phones, guns, etcetera. You may ask how Scars can be Fantasy with all of these modern pieces of technology, there still are some elements, like magic, creatures, and swords, that are in most Fantasy Novels. I honestly didn't know if Letts could pull the fusion of new and old elements off, but Letts does amazingly well, and makes the plot his own rather than follow the normal conventions of the genre. The story centers around the Bracken family. It centers around Lowell Bracken, the father & head of the family business called Bracken Energy. The Bracken's have been leaders in the land of Cumeria for hundreds of years without resistance. That is, until forces beyond his control turn on him, and he doesn't know who to trust...That's all I can say about the without spoilers. All I will say is that the tale will keep you guessing till the end. :) As for the characters, they are well done too. Every character is fleshed out well, even characters who you only see a few times will stick with you. Overall, I give the book 3 1/2 stars! If you are a fan of G.R.R.M, the TV show Dallas (When you read it, you'll know what I mean.), and Steampunk Fantasy, this book is made for you.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Trey

    There's a lot of weird things in this book that could use some fleshing out. I was never very clear on how technologically advanced the civilization was. They had all these technologies and then something like a gun is rare and often crudely made? There was some mention that gun makers were often the target of thieves (and assassinations?). It was just sorta weird that they had an internet and then in the last fight scene you have guys with spears running alongside armored cars while catapults f There's a lot of weird things in this book that could use some fleshing out. I was never very clear on how technologically advanced the civilization was. They had all these technologies and then something like a gun is rare and often crudely made? There was some mention that gun makers were often the target of thieves (and assassinations?). It was just sorta weird that they had an internet and then in the last fight scene you have guys with spears running alongside armored cars while catapults flung flaming vegetables into a city. The plot was decent enough to keep me hooked through most of the book. Some of the advancements of the characters seemed a little forced and the timeline a bit wonky (I'm still not sure how long exactly Sierra was a senior partner before becoming the head honcho). Taylor's time with the terrorist cell was also so brief that it almost seemed unnecessary. The revelation that the kindly professor was the head of it was another thing I had a hard time caring about. They had one brief conversation before their confrontation. Maybe if more time had been spent on Taylor at school (Sierra at the law firm, or Randall and his politics) I would have actually cared about any of these parts. It honestly felt like the author was so excited to get to the end that he glossed over a lot of important details. The ending was pretty great until the confrontation at the end with the villains. I'm always a bit disappointed with running monologues revealing ghastly plans and reasons for treachery. Overall, above average book that kept me wanting to know how it ends. I'm looking forward to seeing what the Brackens are going to do to turn the city of Madora into their new seat of power.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    From the beginning I was excited to read this book. I wasn't quite sure how boardroom politics would meet fantasy but it sounded like an interesting combination and something fresh. Ultimately I wasn't disappointed. The book was a fun ride and would have been a nice quick read if school hadn't conspired to completely take away my reading time all month. For those of you who wish for shorter fantasy novels, here's one. There were some great fight scenes and most of the characters I really enjoyed From the beginning I was excited to read this book. I wasn't quite sure how boardroom politics would meet fantasy but it sounded like an interesting combination and something fresh. Ultimately I wasn't disappointed. The book was a fun ride and would have been a nice quick read if school hadn't conspired to completely take away my reading time all month. For those of you who wish for shorter fantasy novels, here's one. There were some great fight scenes and most of the characters I really enjoyed. A few problems that really bugged me were the technology. Somehow I couldn't quite place where Cumeria was as far as technological advancement. There was mention of cars just becoming more popular but yet they had cell phones and some form of internet. Not a huge deal but it was just a nagging question in the back of my mind as I read. The length I think was a double-edged sword, if you'll forgive the almost-pun. While it was nice to have a shorter read, I think that with everything that happened more length could have been used. A lot of events happened between the pages and also a great deal of character development was missed out on. It felt a little jarring to suddenly see a character acting differently and doing things and we didn't get to see the events/thoughts/emotional development that went along with it. (Tris, Sierra, and Taylor got the brunt of this I think.) Even with those points though I think the book was a great series debut, and I look forward to seeing where the author goes with it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    Having enjoyed some quality Urban Fantasy works recently, I was immediately drawn to the premise of this book. A civilisation that's utilised abundant every sources to leapfrog an industrial revolution and wrap many modern trappings up with a more brutal and fantastical setting. It's unusual to see such an exciting attempt at different world building in a self-published novel. And mostly it's pulled off. Towards the end some of the included technology takes a leap to believe would have been inven Having enjoyed some quality Urban Fantasy works recently, I was immediately drawn to the premise of this book. A civilisation that's utilised abundant every sources to leapfrog an industrial revolution and wrap many modern trappings up with a more brutal and fantastical setting. It's unusual to see such an exciting attempt at different world building in a self-published novel. And mostly it's pulled off. Towards the end some of the included technology takes a leap to believe would have been invented and perfected so soon, but generally speaking I found the merging of the technology and the corporate world that's been created around it believable. The same with the main characters. The story is built around the head of the Bracken family and the coloration but ironically, I found the stories of his siblings much more interesting. To the point where I wish more had been made of them rather than certain aspects of their lives being skipped over. The main issue I have with the story is the villains. There are some initial glimpses of originality in their backstories, but ultimately they descend into hackneyed stereotypes there simply to provide a protagonist against the 'heroes'. This doesn't spoil the story, but with the glimpses you get into the history of the nation it felt very much like an opportunity lost. So, a tight and concise story, littered with original ideas that's well written (couldn't find any errors, which is again very unusual for a self-published book). At the price its an entertaining steal.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    I was going to give this book 3 stars because it never truly grabbed me, but I think that's simply because it's not completely my genre. The corporate espionage side of things was kind of dull to me while the fantasy section was fantastic! There was a dragon. Instant star for that alone. Letts wrote a hard book to categorize - Contemporary Fantasy is the closest I can come up with. There's not much out there to compare it to. It's like The Firm meets King Arthur. Although I wasn't a huge fan of t I was going to give this book 3 stars because it never truly grabbed me, but I think that's simply because it's not completely my genre. The corporate espionage side of things was kind of dull to me while the fantasy section was fantastic! There was a dragon. Instant star for that alone. Letts wrote a hard book to categorize - Contemporary Fantasy is the closest I can come up with. There's not much out there to compare it to. It's like The Firm meets King Arthur. Although I wasn't a huge fan of the boardroom drama, I did like how the fantasy elements were woven in. They came slowly at first, just little glimpses like mysterious messages delivered with dire consequences and did I mention the dragon? As the story picked up steam I did become more engaged though there were some jarring moments that I looked at the characters and thought, "What!?!" (SPOILER - Sierra being grabbed by the throat, slammed up against the wall and then slapped across the face by another employee. How does she let that happen without immediately telling everyone, 'Hey, this guy just assaulted me! Get security!') All in all, though, it was a good read. Very different, very interesting. And the ending was great. It's a true ending, no real cliffhangers here, but it leaves a great set up for the next book to kick off immediate action.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tomáš Wünsch

    What I liked was courage to left many of main characters (even the positive one!) to freely die - even by purposeless dead. And a bit of chaotic movement trough events - like in real world, nothing is happening in line and to just one hero. What confused me was absence of any acquaintance with mechanic of the world, his history or laws, so even after first book I really dont know, if is it work of sci-fi (if planet was founded like colony by people of Earth and evolved or enhanced themself by tech What I liked was courage to left many of main characters (even the positive one!) to freely die - even by purposeless dead. And a bit of chaotic movement trough events - like in real world, nothing is happening in line and to just one hero. What confused me was absence of any acquaintance with mechanic of the world, his history or laws, so even after first book I really dont know, if is it work of sci-fi (if planet was founded like colony by people of Earth and evolved or enhanced themself by technique or some paralel universe with different laws of physic) or fantasy (with magic in his core). You find swords and helicopters at same page with no explanation at all and thats a lot confusing. You dont know if you can expect middle age society (many social structures and powerty is hinting this), but than you find internet there with functioning airport in middle of war and fully evolved modern corporate society... So I dont know in the end nothing about background or technical stage and I hate this aspect of story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    I was forced to abandon this book. The writing isn't particularly good or bad, and some of the world building is very interesting. The problem was, I just didn't give a damn about these characters. For the most part it's a story of unpleasant, power hungry-group A versus unpleasant, power-hungry group B. Each group also amorally fights within itself. This isn't a deal breaker by itself, but the people involved need to be interesting. There were some glimmers here and there, but not enough to make I was forced to abandon this book. The writing isn't particularly good or bad, and some of the world building is very interesting. The problem was, I just didn't give a damn about these characters. For the most part it's a story of unpleasant, power hungry-group A versus unpleasant, power-hungry group B. Each group also amorally fights within itself. This isn't a deal breaker by itself, but the people involved need to be interesting. There were some glimmers here and there, but not enough to make it worth the slow burn. On the side we have group A's leader's oldest daughter, the power-hungry, law-ignoring lawyer. His youngest boy, who's not actively offensive, nor is he interesting. Finally, the man's ex-wife is perhaps the only sympathetic character in the whole book, but her sub-plot really doesn't make a lot of sense. This book was just a big collection of "almost." Maybe I'll follow up more later.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    I went into this book not knowing what to expect. But when the author opened it with a scene of industrial espionage--a theme that is prevalent throughout the story--I was immediately intrigued. Lowell Bracken is the patriarch of the Bracken family and the head of Bracken Energy, the leading supplier of energy to the country of Cumeria. In this story, we discover Lowell's at odds with Bolt & Keize, a competitor. Yet as we delve deeper and as the pages turn, there is a conspiracy brewing with the I went into this book not knowing what to expect. But when the author opened it with a scene of industrial espionage--a theme that is prevalent throughout the story--I was immediately intrigued. Lowell Bracken is the patriarch of the Bracken family and the head of Bracken Energy, the leading supplier of energy to the country of Cumeria. In this story, we discover Lowell's at odds with Bolt & Keize, a competitor. Yet as we delve deeper and as the pages turn, there is a conspiracy brewing with the weight of politics hanging over Lowell's neck. As the story evolves, Letts takes each of the Bracken family members on journeys, seemingly to help Lowell. Letts brings these characters to the brink in order to discover something about themselves, or the situation they face. Highly recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sterling Gate Books

    Plaudits for this superior read. Sci-fi/fantasy novels are not my preferred genre. So it says a lot for this first book of The Cumerian Unraveling that I literally couldn’t put it down and I finished reading it in one sitting! It’s a quick read. This may have something to do with the fact it’s only 95,000 words give or take, but I suspect it’s more to do with the superior storyline crafted by author Jason Letts: it’s fast-paced and action-filled with very little downtime. The book’s catchy tagline Plaudits for this superior read. Sci-fi/fantasy novels are not my preferred genre. So it says a lot for this first book of The Cumerian Unraveling that I literally couldn’t put it down and I finished reading it in one sitting! It’s a quick read. This may have something to do with the fact it’s only 95,000 words give or take, but I suspect it’s more to do with the superior storyline crafted by author Jason Letts: it’s fast-paced and action-filled with very little downtime. The book’s catchy tagline – “The battlefield meets the boardroom” – nicely sums up this highly original story of corporate espionage, wealthy families and political intrigue. It beautifully sets up the sequel, The Vendetta Clause. Can’t wait! -Lance

  19. 5 out of 5

    Angie ~aka Reading Machine~

    In a world much like our own, Lowell Bracken is proud of his work and legacy at Bracken Energy. Lowell's hoping to pass the reigns of Bracken Energy to his daughter Sierra. Lowell has two sons Randall and Taylor. Mysterious group is stalking all of the major power families without no clear purpose that anyone is aware of at this time. As each member of The Bracken Family faces an unnamed circumstance that will have lasting consequences for all of Cumeria. Who belongs to this mysterious group? Ca In a world much like our own, Lowell Bracken is proud of his work and legacy at Bracken Energy. Lowell's hoping to pass the reigns of Bracken Energy to his daughter Sierra. Lowell has two sons Randall and Taylor. Mysterious group is stalking all of the major power families without no clear purpose that anyone is aware of at this time. As each member of The Bracken Family faces an unnamed circumstance that will have lasting consequences for all of Cumeria. Who belongs to this mysterious group? Can Lowell follow through with his plans? What is The Bracken Family facing? Your answers await you in The Scars of Ambition. This new to me author has created a vast and unique world that has similarities to our own. The story and characters were flawed, raw, gritty, real, compelling, bold, and full of charisma. I would definitely consider reading more of this author's work in the future.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cory Rose

    Read 75% and couldn't take any more Didn't read the whole thing, got to 75% and just couldn't take any more. 5 main pov's a father, ex-wife, and the 3 children two grown and a teenager. All 5 have pretty different story arc's , none of them very interesting or entertaining, the story jumps from 1 to another fairly regularly so you don't get to know any of the characters well, they are all unintelligent, naive, and just plain uninteresting. Rare give a 1 star review, only on something so bad I jus Read 75% and couldn't take any more Didn't read the whole thing, got to 75% and just couldn't take any more. 5 main pov's a father, ex-wife, and the 3 children two grown and a teenager. All 5 have pretty different story arc's , none of them very interesting or entertaining, the story jumps from 1 to another fairly regularly so you don't get to know any of the characters well, they are all unintelligent, naive, and just plain uninteresting. Rare give a 1 star review, only on something so bad I just couldn't force myself to read the whole thing, even something terrible that I really didn't like I would give 2 stars too if I actually read the whole thing. Gave it an honest effort 3/4 of the way through, and it's just too terrible for me to continue wasting any more time on.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Megg Jensen

    I loved this book. From the sweeping, imaginative world to the flawed and infinitely intriguing characters, Letts takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotion. The Bracken family is far from perfect, but their loyalty to each other supersedes the political turmoil threatening to tear them, and their whole land, into shreds. While I read The Scars of Ambition, I felt the shadow of the classic dystopian Blade Runner merge with the scope of scifi's greatest novel, Dune. Letts has created a v I loved this book. From the sweeping, imaginative world to the flawed and infinitely intriguing characters, Letts takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotion. The Bracken family is far from perfect, but their loyalty to each other supersedes the political turmoil threatening to tear them, and their whole land, into shreds. While I read The Scars of Ambition, I felt the shadow of the classic dystopian Blade Runner merge with the scope of scifi's greatest novel, Dune. Letts has created a very important world, one that deserves to be explored by generations of readers to come.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Audrey Saxton

    This was another one of those books I got free on my Kindle, so no expectations. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this novel thoroughly entertained me. The author does some interesting things with genre and fantasy conventions; the book has a distinctly fantasy flavor, but it's set in a corporate world full of scheming, espionage, and family drama. I appreciated Letts out-of-the-box-thinking and wouldn't mind seeing what happens to these characters. This was another one of those books I got free on my Kindle, so no expectations. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this novel thoroughly entertained me. The author does some interesting things with genre and fantasy conventions; the book has a distinctly fantasy flavor, but it's set in a corporate world full of scheming, espionage, and family drama. I appreciated Letts out-of-the-box-thinking and wouldn't mind seeing what happens to these characters.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ralph

    I received this book free from the publisher through Netgalley.com. Though the plot sounded interesting in the description, I found it hard to get into this story. Most of it seemed to dwell on two companies that supplied energy to the country(s); one by solar power, one by gas. To me it just felt more like a story about how to protect the nature of the planet. Not what I expected.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    Several good and interesting ideas, but the pacing seemed a little off - some areas seemed to drag on forever while others felt rushed. I felt that, while there were several characters, I didn't really get to know any of them as deeply as I would have liked. Perhaps this is rectified in book 2. Even so, not a bad start to a series. Several good and interesting ideas, but the pacing seemed a little off - some areas seemed to drag on forever while others felt rushed. I felt that, while there were several characters, I didn't really get to know any of them as deeply as I would have liked. Perhaps this is rectified in book 2. Even so, not a bad start to a series.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Beldyk

    Cool Very well written, didn't drag and kept me interested all the way through. The setting was unique as well. Letts managed to create a fantasy world with modern technology and some culture similarities to Earth while clearly standing on its own as as something new and different. can't wait to read what happens next! Cool Very well written, didn't drag and kept me interested all the way through. The setting was unique as well. Letts managed to create a fantasy world with modern technology and some culture similarities to Earth while clearly standing on its own as as something new and different. can't wait to read what happens next!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cortney

    Thank u goodreads firstreads for letting me win this book free with no charge at all!!!!! This is a wonderful book. Im a really fast reader when i get a good book i normaly read it with in a day or two. i read this one is one day. i would recommend this book:)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gavin Cook

    Really really cool setting but meh execution. 4 stars because the author is awesome (did a cool promotion on reddit) and because of the AWESOME SETTING. His prose skill will get better with time - I'll be keeping my eye on him. Really really cool setting but meh execution. 4 stars because the author is awesome (did a cool promotion on reddit) and because of the AWESOME SETTING. His prose skill will get better with time - I'll be keeping my eye on him.

  28. 4 out of 5

    David Teachout

    A mish-mash of genres I could never quite get into the characters, as none of them were deep enough to care about. There was so much world-building and context-creating the story happened but out of surprise then actually following it. Not bad writing, but trying to do too much.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Ace

    For the record, I wasn't able to finish this book. Only 32% of it, it was that hard. Some good ideas here but WAY too many plots at the same time. Other reviews mentioned touches of Mad Men and Game of Thrones. I saw that too but this was just too confused for me. For the record, I wasn't able to finish this book. Only 32% of it, it was that hard. Some good ideas here but WAY too many plots at the same time. Other reviews mentioned touches of Mad Men and Game of Thrones. I saw that too but this was just too confused for me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Got this book for free from Amazon. I can see why. Characters were really not likeable, and were mostly one-dimensional. The blurb said for fans of George RR Martin, Jason Letts is no GRRM. I don't care to read the next two books. Also found a typo, they had the word capitol instead of capital. Got this book for free from Amazon. I can see why. Characters were really not likeable, and were mostly one-dimensional. The blurb said for fans of George RR Martin, Jason Letts is no GRRM. I don't care to read the next two books. Also found a typo, they had the word capitol instead of capital.

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