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The Fall of Erlon by Robert H. Fleming – SPFBO #6 Finals Review

The Fall of Erlon by Robert H. Fleming – SPFBO #6 Finals Review
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Book Name: The Fall of Erlon
Author: Robert H. Fleming
Publisher(s): Self-Published
Formatt: Paperback / Ebook
Genre(s): Military Fantasy
Release Date: September 29, 2019

As empires burn, heroes must rise.

Elisa Lannes was once heiress to the mighty Erlonian Empire. But when her mother abandons the empire and her emperor father is defeated on the battlefield and sent into exile, the world she would rule collapses around her. As enemies converge on the capital, Elisa must join with the last of the empires loyal soldiers to escape the evil that hunts her and her family.

With the help of her fathers generals, can Elisa find the strength to fight for her people? Or will a twist in the tide of the empires last war awaken an evil far greater than the enemys blade? The Fall of Erlon is the first in the new military fantasy series from author Robert H. Fleming. If you like deep fantasy worlds filled with colorful characters and massive battles, the gods and generals of the award nominated Falling Empires Saga is for you.

The Fall of Erlon is a military fantasy clearly inspired by the Napoleonic Wars. There is a deposed emperor and brilliant military strategist whose nation—Erlon—was defeated by an unprecedented continental alliance. As the story opens, the emperor is in exile, living under house arrest on a remote island. Back home, his best friend leads the ragtag remnants of his once-unbeatable army in a hasty retreat; his daughter flees through wilderness to evade capture by enemy forces; and his sorceress wife is missing in action.

On the other side of the conflict, an arrogant prince chafes against the strictures placed on him by duty and societal expectations while his equally arrogant father tries to take control of the fallen empire. A naval power strives to maintain the fragile truce among Erlon’s conquerors, while other leaders seek to take advantage of the chaos and achieve their own brand of world domination. Everyone is determined to achieve their goals through war, treachery, or magic—whatever it takes.

Our Thoughts

Our team was starkly divided on The Fall of Erlon. Some loved it, some strongly disliked it. On the positive side, judges enjoyed seeing the conflict play out from different perspectives, with characters of widely ranging competencies (from fool to genius). Each of the half dozen factions is represented by a point of view character, which gives great insight into the goals and tactics of each side. The action sequences and battles are also quite well done and exciting to read. The book includes interesting steeds (giant wolverines psychically bonded to their riders) and promising hints of magic and deities that could be important later in the series.

The main negative was a lot of repetitive internal reflection and inconsequential stage business (e.g., characters needlessly looking at things, walking across rooms, picking things up, etc.), which bogged down the pacing between those well-done action sequences. The degree to which the filler and repetition bothered each judge varied widely, but we all thought the book would have benefited from another round of editing to streamline the storytelling.

Selected comments from judges include:

A. M.

The action sequences were pretty well done in this novel, and I liked what the author was attempting to do by contrasting the two point-of-view characters struggling with self-doubt with the two who were brimming over with hubris. However, the action sequences were few and far, far between, with massively long stretches of repetitive monologues about these same characters’ self-doubt or overbrimming confidence. Entire chapters consisted of people doing inconsequential things while thinking the same thoughts they’d had in previous chapters, which failed to move the story forward and felt like a waste of words. I also was extremely bothered and distracted by logistical problems involving long-distance communications and inconsistencies in travel times. All in all, this book was not for me.

Kerry

I liked this story, as we got to see it from various points of view and from all sides of the conflict. This book has all the trappings of a good fantasy series. An exiled emperor, loved by his people; his daughter Elisa who, now the hope of a nation (with a little help from a god?), is beset on all sides by the same people who brought war to her country. Even though Andre is one of the antagonists, I liked his chapters and the way he communicates with animals and uses slavering wolverines to bring down his prey. Then there is Rapp, the prince of Brun, who just wants to be on the killing fields. He thinks he’s a lot smarter than he really is and so is easily manipulated.

A couple of issues I had were the long, unnecessary descriptions of events, such as whole chapters about being stuck on the back of a horse for miles. Another was I wish there had been a map; especially when the book talks about the logistics and movement from different armies. I would have liked to see where all the warring countries were in conjunction to Erlon as the geography of each country seems to shaped each of population’s characteristics. I feel if it underwent another edit it would be a stronger read.

Lynn

This was a really splendid military fantasy that focuses deeply into the characters as much as the warfare. There are gods and sorcery and magnificently crafted animal mounts for the terrifying Horde army. Although our protagonist, and the center of the tale, is a fourteen-year-old heir to the empire, it’s a very adult fantasy. With POV chapters, the reader always knows where they are. The pacing goes from slow politics to raging battles and headlong flights from terrifying enemies. I was deeply hooked and looked forward to my reading time with this book. The downfalls were repeated incidents of editing issues.

  • A good line editor could be of great help to this great tale.
  • Repetitive thoughts and emotions, if removed, could make this become a much cleaner and more powerful book.

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Our judges are A. M. Justice, Julia Kitvaria Sarene, Kartik Narayanan, Kerry Smith, Lynn Kempner, and Mariëlle Ooms-Voges. If you’d like to learn more about us, including our likes and dislikes, you can read about them here.

Any queries should be directed to A.M. Justice via DM (Facebook/Twitter).

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