“Reading Books can get you killed.”
In the land of Oration, magic is cast by reading aloud words of power from Spoken Books. Only a select few, the Speakers, are born with the ability to do so. But after a disaster nearly destroyed Oration, society grew to fear the Speakers’ power and they were hunted and enslaved, never taught to read. Now they live in oppression, unable to use their magic unless a spell is first read aloud to them.
Each year, young men and women from Oration’s ruling Libraries compete in the Acktus Trials, a journey that takes them through the wilds of Oration to the ruined city of Tome. Once Oration’s capital, it is now abandoned, though the Great Library at its center still holds a wealth of Spoken Books. As Speakers are no longer taught to read, they also cannot write, so new Spoken Books have not been created in hundreds of years. The discovery of a new Book is a coveted prize for any young noble.
Baztian is a slave to one of Oration’s poorer Libraries. When he is selected to accompany his master on the Actkus Trials, he thinks his life is over. The wilds are treacherous, his master incompetent, and their fellow competitors set on winning, whatever the means. But Baz also has a secret—one that could get him killed, but one that also makes him the most valuable of assets during the Trials. Baz can read, and after he saves his master from certain death, he strikes a deal—his secret kept safe in exchange for aiding his master in completing the Trials. But can Baz really help a young man who thinks of him as property? And even if he can, there is much he doesn’t know, like the evil that lies in wait beneath the ruins of Tome.
PUBLISHED ON: 28 January 2022
RATING: 4.5 Stars
BOOK 1 OF THE SPOKEN BOOKS UPRISING SERIES
The Acktus Trials by D.T.Kane is a SPFBO 8 Participant
CONVINCING YOU TO READ THIS IN 6 WORDS: Unique Concept, Amazing World Building, Dragons, Characters having their own voice & Lore
In a world where Reading can get you killed, Baz had seen first hand what happened to his brother when people found out that he could read. He could never forget that day and he could never forget what his now Master and Harbour did to his brother. And he had decided to avoid the history from repeating. He would carry his secret to the grave. No one would know that Baz can read.
With the turn of events, Baz has to accompany his Master and Harbour for the Acktus Trials. Baz always believed that Del could never complete the Trials let alone win them but when he accompanies Del and situations slowly change as one after one challenges come in their way and his secret is out, Baz knows there is only one way. He has to win the Trials for his Master. And so Baz begins his journey for the Trials. On the way, Baz encounters many scenarios which he never expected, especially meeting a dragon, let alone riding on it, when they have become so rare.
But completing the Trials is not easy especially since the other contestants constantly try to create obstacles. One after other, Baz slowly tries to find their way out and finally have a book as a proof for the end of the Trials. But when the Trial ends, he has something more than a book. He has become part of the History that is forbidden to others and promised to complete a task.
What will Baz do? Will his secret remain secret or he will face a fate similar to his brother. And what about the new promise?
“Everyone is a product of their environment.”
Before I go into the whole details of this perfect book and why I loved it. Let me start with two things, this book is an under-rated gem and I forgot that I was reading. And I think that is exactly what I want from a book. I generally take some time to ease into series. This book? Nope. I was engrossed from the beginning. The Prologue? Perfect. The beginning of the story? Again. Perfection.
Now, onto why I loved this book and using words that are not just Perfect?
The concept behind The Acktus Trials is amazing right? You are reading a book where reading a book can get you killed? Just think about it -it is pretty cool.
“Keep breathing, Baz,” Tax said, standing tall in the Harbour’s shadow. “Keep surviving.”
The characters? Oh I loved each one of them, even the one I wasn’t a big fan of? Each of them had their own voice, their own personality. They definitely played the role of what was expected from them but that did not mean that they had no personality. In fact, that was the best part… all of them despite their own role which they did to the best of their abilities had different opinions on different things. And with each step when they learned something new, they changed. Maybe not completely but slowly they started changing. But not in the drastic scales. They started changing little by little, still not losing the sight of who they were or what was expected. I think this was the best part of the story. Especially because you can see the characters struggling, trying to find a place for themselves and yet being stuck in a same place. How their aspect of promises or oaths came before what they wanted. And how despite the fact Baz disliked his Master, he thought that he owed his life to him and was ready to cross bridges for him. While if we see the flip side of the coin, Deliritous despite being saved multiple times by Baz doesn’t think this as any special occasion but rather moves on with his life as if that was expected. The constant contrast shows the difference between privileged and those who are not.
THE PLOT. On surface it can look like oh well, a book about not reading. But The Acktus Trials is so much more than that.! Since the society has divided the people between who can speak and write, new books are not written in decades, centuries probably and thus making all the spoken books as precious tressure. (As a lover of words, I understand this sentiment a lot). The trials are held so that you can acquire a new spoken book from the place where it all began. The journey towards to that book is not easy and in between you encounter so many things that you once counted as myth or a children’s bedtime story. And you learn parts of the history that are wrong or just changed to serve the purpose of one group.
…But when your gods are constantly trying to kill you, all you can do is fight back. And once one has been killed, it must be put to use. Death for no reason is a Lie. Waste is a Lie.
There are so many aspects of the story that I want to talk about but I just have one thing to tell you. Read this book and you will forget that you were reading. I was sick when I started this book. And believe me, all I did was read. I read this book in just one day. The Acktus Trials didn’t make me cry or worry too much. The stakes were not too much but I enjoyed every moment here. With each twist and turn and slowly how each part of history was reveled without any info dumping but just taking you through the parts…I loved every moment here.
Suffice to say, I didn’t have a chill and started Book 2 right away. Have you read The Acktus Trials or are you planning to read it?
I thought Tax died. And when we find out that he didn’t, I SCREAMED.
The scene with Del telling Baz that he will have him Blinded too. And how Baz kind of anticipated it before. But still seeing Rox made him feel something. I loved that scenes so much. Baz and Rox together are a whole mood and I want to know more about them.
I also think it shows so much about how Del at this point is holding everyone to their oaths and promises and when situation turned to him, he bluntly spoke that you really should not have expected me to keep my promise.
I loved it so much.!
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