Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off #2: The Fall of the Three
Everything needs an evocative title to draw the reader in and, whilst not quite the hyperbole of a Sun newspaper headline, these three haven’t truly fallen. It is more to do with our collective tastes.
Now, we are motoring (with all the speed of a Ford Mondeo towing a rather large caravan down a Cornish country lane) through the books that Fantasy-Faction has been issued and it’s been interesting. We’ve upped our readers to four and worked through many of the books, the first three chapters (or whatever the Look Inside feature allows) and made some initial notes. On some books we’ve agreed, on others we haven’t – the joy of subjectivity. Also, one of the authors (not listed below) has decided to withdraw his entry due to a conflict of views with Fantasy-Faction.
The three books below we all saw promise in, but ultimately there were other books we thought more suited to our taste. Without further ado, here they are in no particular order:
The Skeleton Stone by Troy Osgood
Nestled in the mountains, Minoda was a small and peaceful mining village filled with industrious and hardworking people.
Until the skeletons came.
Overrun with the magical undead, can even the help of the wandering Far Rider, Culann Hawkfall, save the village?
Or will the mystery of The Skeleton Stone doom the village forever?
The Skeleton Stone is the first story from The Taleweaver’s Song, a new family of fantasy adventures.
The story begins with a man battling a skeleton, right in the heart of the action as every good book should do. And there is magic from the off too. It all bodes well, but sadly the simple writing style didn’t grab any of our readers. The danger at the beginning gets lost due to some confusion over the point of view and a few info-dumps.
On a positive: If you’re going to start a book, start it in a battle.
The Wolf Riders of Keldarra by Nathalie M. L. Romer
When the ancient protectors of Keldarra became corrupted, from it came the Wolf Riders. When an ancient discovery was made, from it came the Order of Truth.
Wolf riders are savage, knowing only violence and dissention. How or why they started is unknown. Keepers of Truth are only spoken of in whispers behind closed doors. They keep themselves hidden from the world.
Nineteen-year old Marrida is an Acolyte of Truth. Alagur is a Wolf Rider who comes to invade her city. But he is seeking an answer there for dreams.
A well-aimed stone brings their fates together, and sets into motion events that lead to the discovered beginnings of each of their factions, and the discovered truths and lies they uncover, leads them to unconditional love, trust and knowledge that can change the world, and that can set it free from the corruption that exists…
When you start this book there is the definite feeling of history about it. A sense that there is a backstory full of legends and wars, there is a weight to it. I get the feeling that this book is a labour of love for the author. However, the tenses are mixed together; past, present and future fight a war that none can win. Without a consistent frame of reference the story is unclear and was difficult for our four readers to follow. Via email the author has corrected my erroneous statement that this was a translated work, and that the mix of tenses is a style choice. I can certainly applaud the bravery of such an authorial choice even if, for the four of us, it doesn’t work. Sadly, at present, there are other books we found easier to read in our pile.
On a positive: There is that feeling of history, of scope to the opening.
Hunter’s Moon Rising by S. A. Randel
What is a Halfing? It’s Brune and Willa living with their parents contentedly and reclusively with others of their kind in the Forest Darden. But that’s only half the story…
Beyond the forest boils a cauldron of human civilizations and rivalries. Brune, Willa, and their ethereal companion Selia, uncover the secrets of their own origins and the power of the Lens, hidden from Halfling and human alike by the Halfling Mother. But are they in deeper than they can manage?
Secrets are stolen. Alliances are made. Because of this they find themselves unwilling pawns in a bigger game of war and conquest, pulled to choose sides as they seek to recover their precious and essential Lens.
It begins with a trial, a courtroom where the lives of our heroes is at risk. Their crime? They were seen by the humans. Worldbuilding starts straight off and there are conversations where some of the history is dropped in. The prologue is a letter which tells of a story in the past, which then begins and is told, a chapter in or so, with another flashback. Maybe starting in that last flashback would have got the story off to faster start? The trial that forms the backdrop and should drive the tension, for our reviewers, fades.
On a positive: Getting your worldbuilding in without info-dumps is a thumbs up from me!