Review: War Hour by Lauren Loscig

Posted November 30, 2023 by Lucy D in Book Reviews, Fantasy/High Fantasy / 0 Comments

Review:  War Hour by Lauren LoscigWar Hour (The Broken Trials Book 1) by Lauren Loscig
Series: The Broken Trials #1
Published by Self Published on November 26th 2023
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 424
Format: eBook
Source: Author

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

When powers are earned and not born, who shall wield them? Lysta lives in constant fear of Trialing, a deadly test that bestows an ability upon its victors, but only after pushing their mental and physical limits. Forced to Trial against her will, Lysta becomes a weapon others plan to use against the Untrialed, until an unexpected intruder from another Court presents her with an opportunity to stop it. But can she trust the plans of a man who seems to play the lines between enemy and ally?
Only through treason can Lysta save the people she once struggled beside. With the fate of her Court and the lives of the Untrialed at stake, the burden will fall on Lysta to convince the other Courts to intervene. Not to mention, the Crowns seem to fear the frustrating albeit handsome man who rescued her more than the one she testifies against. Lysta must find her own strength in a world of powers, battles, and court politics while navigating tumultuous relationships and hidden enemies.
Will Lysta save her Court or be ended by it?


I liked the premise of earning abilities but had issues with how the story unfolded.

In the world of the Broken Trials series, anyone can Trial and earn special abilities. Each city has their own special Trial.   Volunteers can risk death or worse for an attempt to be elevated to the prestigious title of Trialed and the rewards that go with that.

Lysta is from the City of Valor, a city where the Untrialed citizens hide in fear that they will be dragged away to face the Trials, willing or not.  The soldiers patrol the streets looking for any excuse to bring an Untrialed before the Lord Drytas, the ruler of Valor, to be judged and ultimately forced into Trialing.

Lord Drytas’s ultimate plan is to have an entire city of Trialed citizens and then he can take over the Council and rule over all the cities.  After Lysta is forced to Trial, the Trial arena collapses after Lysta’s successful survival and is ultimately blamed.  They want to know what she did to achieve this but other than being coerced into volunteering for the Trial under penalty of death, Lysta has no idea what occurred and won’t confess to her ultimate solution for the Trial just in case that did cause the destruction.

No longer able to Trial his citizens, Lord Drytas makes plans to invade his neighboring cities in order to use their Trials to complete his master plan and he decides Lysta’s new Trial talents is just what he needs to accomplish this.   Lysta is secreted out the City but is forced to leave behind her few friends.

Lysta is brought to the Capital to plead the case of her fellow citizens to the other Lords and Rulers but they refuse to believe that yet another Lord would attempt to take over the Council.  What?  It has happened before but no one wants to believe that citizens are being forced to trial.

Lysta has only a few short weeks before Lord Drytas arrives to convince the Council that she is telling the truth and to make a plan or else she might be tried herself for treason.

THOUGHTS (including some spoilers):
I found a TikTok request from author Lauren Loscig asking for reviewers of her upcoming release. I liked the idea that magical abilities could be earned and dropped my name in the pool to receive a copy.

The issues I had mostly boil down to a lack of information starting with you can’t talk about the Trial with anyone until you both make it through the Trial. This beats “The first rule of fight club, is you can’t talk about fight club.”  So we don’t know what the City of Valor’s trial is until Lysta walks in the door. We also have no idea what any of the Trials for any of the other City’s consist of. This is an easy way for the author to avoid having to work out details for seven different Trials, even though these Trials are the complete basis for the story plot and world building.

Torryn takes Lysta to the Capital City to meet with the other crowned leaders of the other cities and let them know that Drytas is forcing his citizens to Trial so that his City will be powerful enough to take on the other City leaders.  Drytas is power hungry but do these Crowns take her seriously? No. In fact, when Lord Drytas makes it to the Capital and simply goes, “That’s crazy. She’s a liar.” Lysta is all but thrown out of the Capital. What? No one questions that someone you’ve just been told is trying to take over your city, might start with simply denying it? How about asking to let ambassadors check out what is going on inside your walls? If he starts with a “no, you can’t come in,” you might want to question him some more.  Worse, we find out the Torryn’s father tried the same thing not so long ago, so why wouldn’t they be a little more concerned that someone else might be power hungry enough to try it?  And why after you just had one leader try and take over the entire council, are you still allowing each city to self-govern with no interference or review by the other cities.  There should have been immediate embassies created in each city so there could be a general Council oversight.

We also have that plot point where no one gives the main character all the necessary information so that they can be successful. Torryn brings Lysta to the Capital but then he all but avoids her, telling her only “Don’t trust anyone” leaving it at that. He doesn’t explain about his own family history. How someone so young is the Crown of the City of Self. Why he is Trialing in as many cities as possible so that it looks like Torryn is more a threat than Drytas to taking over the other crowns. He gives her no head’s up on anything, barely speaking with her.  He also tells her not to show off or tell anyone about her new Trial abilities since everyone keeps their powers a close to the vest secret.  Yet, showing off those abilities is what turns the tide of this story and Lysta’s future.

Lysta appears to be someone who would sacrifice for others, she is left to stumble blindly around the story, not really accomplishing anything until the last 20 percent of the book when she suddenly becomes inspiring and everyone suddenly believes in her.  View Spoiler »

If there is supposed to be a romantic thread in this story (and I am not certain there is or it is just the romance reader in me looking for it), I was disappointed how things were playing out. The few moments we have Torryn and Lysta together, they had moments of connection where I could see how they would complement each other if only we would continue and keep these characters in the same room. But Lysta spends most of her time in the Capital being escorted around by Evander who is such a blah character. He is simply “a nice guy.”  Evander is strikingly handsome and Heir to the Crown of ______.  Of course, there is a jealous rival to Evander’s interest who works against Lysta for Evander’s attention.  But is he the romantic interest or just a nice guy? They have hugged and he kissed her but there was absolutely no magic or spark between them.

In fact, a lot of these characters were very one dimensional, standard fill-in characters:
Lysta, the clueless heroine.
Torryn, the cranky, misunderstood hero or secret villain?
Evander, the handsome Quarterback-type.
Visha, the jealous girl who wants to be the Quarterback’s girlfriend.
Drytas, the evil Lord who wants world domination.
Lord Gennady, the wise and supportive leader on Lysta’s side and Lord Bralas, the leader who is completely opposite, fighting Lysta all the way.

In the end I read 80 percent of the story but knowing this was the beginning of a series, I knew it didn’t have enough of a hook to interest me to read further once everyone suddenly believed Lysta might be telling the truth.   The idea of the earned magical abilities, each is different for each person, was a great premise but the presentation didn’t really excite me.  I did see a note on someone else’s review indicating this ends with a plot twist and a cliffhanger but I am not interested enough to find out the twist or to read another story to see where the cliffhanger leads.

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