Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars.
Author: John Gwynne
Category: Epic Fantasy
Publication Date: December 6th, 2012
This is old-school in a good way. It does contain a lot of the usual tropes, everything is familiar. Plot and characters have all been done before. Despite that it is an enormous amount of fun to read this book.
Primarily we’re following two characters plus an additional cast of 4-5, with significantly less chapters than the others. Corban is the boy with a destiny. He is not an orphan like many other chosen ones, but his story checks all the boxes. Mysterious mentors, training montages, animal friends, bullies, and coming of age. The book really takes its time with his introduction. John Gwynne eases us into getting to know this character and it is a pleasure to read his story.
As a counter-point, the second main protagonist is Veradis who is slightly older than Corban and is sent by his father to serve in the warband of the prince Nathair, the heir to the throne of the High King. From his point of view we get a wider glimpse of the world, the different kingdoms and of what the overall plot is going to be all about.
The change of those perspectives interwoven with the side-character povs are perfectly balanced, so that you never get the feeling to be stuck in a neverending coming-of-age tale, or a political intrigue novel.
As mentioned above, there are many unoriginal tropes that this book has. But Gwynne does balance everything well enough. Characters that should be boring and predictable still find a way to draw you in.
An interesting plot that keeps the charm of original traditional sword and sorcery fantasies. The best style of books we could compare this to are the Game of Thrones series with the large cast and a few other elements that seem to be borrowed. This story is original and different from that series, but it seems like inspiration was drawn at least in part by A Song of Ice and Fire.
I don’t have much to say but that traditonal fanatsy is not my style. Overall this book was, while dificult to get through, fun to read. All of the names are difficult to keep up with but I had a good time.
There really just isn’t a lot to say about this book. It was really a middle of the road kind of read. Everything was well-done but not really exceptional. There were definitely things that I liked about about this book but I don’t know that I would put any priority into continuing the series if I had not heard that it gets so much better as it goes along.