20257379An arranged marriage.
A lost heir to the dwarven throne.
An ancient undead seeks to manipulate four unlikely heroes.

Princess Sloane is to become a queen. Her marriage will unite the last two human kingdoms of Orundal. As it is not a marriage of choice but of necessity, she struggles with the responsibility laid before her, not knowing that the sacrifice she makes for her homeland will be but the first that she must endure. Her twin sister, Princess Sacha, has been called from her studies at the Monastery to support Sloane in her time of need. Sacha has begun to learn the ways of the arcane and deals with her own troubles concerning the loss of a family that has been taken from her.

The sisters will not face their fates alone as Erik and Kinsey, steadfast companions, become their guides. Erik seeks only solace for himself and his adopted son, but soon learns that such a wish is impossible to attain as the events around them unfold. Kinsey, orphaned at birth, wrestles with his newfound rage not realizing that its cause is tied to his unknown heritage.

A tale of adventure filled with dwarves and elves, men and mages, were-beasts and the undead who clash together in a conflict so vast it will consume them all. These four troubled souls will become champions in the struggle for survival, as dark forces gather to destroy them. 

Source Format Pages Publisher Genre Publication Date
Amazon ebook 443 Idea Forge Publishing Fantasy December 7th, 2013

I decided that this year I will start to go through my Kindle backlist. I have got books from, eh, 6 years back or so that are just sitting there. I reminded myself that buying the books isn’t reading them, that I actually have to read as well, you know, for the full experience. Who knows why I decided to pick this title up. I can’t tell you exactly but my hazy memory does say I got this title because someone in the blogging community read it, reviewed it and made it compelling enough for me to want it. So, if you know it was YOU who essentially sold this book to me, give me a shout 🙂

The book itself. Hmm. Hm-hm-hm… I think it’s one of those times where there is a ton of potential, and the book is good, but it would have been better if it wouldn’t have tried so hard by giving the reader so much to start with. It’s not that it’s confusing, there’s no issue keeping track of who’s who, or what’s happening. Both those things are actually clear and intriguing. The thing is, the story itself is blown into such epic proportions, that all these frayed ends from every possible side at the start is quite much. And when you have all these spinning plates, sometimes it doesn’t give more to the story, it starts taking that ‘something’ away. Am I making sense?

That said, I enjoyed this book, and I was intrigued by the story. It really helped having these classical fantastical characters making an appearance to present the elves, ancient gods (at least, I think they’re sort of gods…?), dwarves, goblins and hobgoblins, humans (ha!), some kind of wicked supernatural beasts that haunt the worst nightmares. As you can see, this is a pretty decent cast we have got. It truly helped that the representatives of each, shall we say, faction was delivered in a way to make me want to know more.

The Elven Erik has a story to tell… As a character, a balanced and calm figure with wisdom and inner peace. And yet, there is something in his past we are being teased with, and potentially in the future, that will make you want to know more. Erik is that reclusive hot dude standing confidently in the corner, at a party, with air of mystery around him and you just know that if you can’t have him you want to be him.

Erik has an adopted son Kinsey who just happens to be dwarven. I say dwarven not dwarf because he is half dwarf, half human. Kinsey is also instantly likeable although he is like a volcano. Safe to look at from a distance, looks solid and calm, a whole pile of something hot bubbling underneath. And you know, kaboom… Kinsey also has a rather questionable lineage and I am keen to read book #2 because its focus will be on Kinsey.

We have the human princesses – twin sisters- one set off to marry for political reasons, the other of seemingly quite a different nature. And ho-lee shit, is there a twist with those 2 in the book. I mean, I am curiouser and curiouser… The whole human faction, in truth, is as per the norm full of politically ambitious assholes. I mean, what else is new, right? Kesh – man, I need someone to stick a hot poker up his butt. But we all love that uber-ambitious weasel who swings from benefactor to benefactor like a flag at full mast… Lord Graves – well, there’s a whole different story with him, let me tell you! Or, let me not because spoilers! Moving swiftly on, humans are the worst! 😀

The goblins and hobgoblins seem to be the servants of these super powerful power-creatures who I, for some reason, think of as some ancient gods… So, yeah, unless I skipped an important bit in the book (more about the skipping later… yikes), I actually don’t know what their endgame is? If you’ve read the book, can you just tell me if their motivation was mentioned or not? But again, as per the norm, they’re the puppet masters pulling the very human strings… where, oh where does this all lead?

I can tell you this… there’s a lot of various things introduced in this title, the first in what I think is a series, of which 3 have been published to date. Everything is blown wide open and plenty of nuggets have been revealed to make me want to know more. Whilst I had a good time spent with this book, I never felt more: this is a solid 3 star read. It was good, but it could have been brilliant. So, why wasn’t it brilliant? For me, the flow. I skipped a page, pages, here and there because it didn’t seem to add anything to the story. For one example, the childish giggling and yammering and excitement of the princess’s ladies in waiting during a royal wedding, ogling at guys or marveling at blablabla…. I just said, whatever, and skimmed through until we got back to business at hand. This type of scenario happened maybe 3 times, or so. Essentially, I skipped about 10% of the book and I feel like I missed nothing of import. I get it – it’s important to pull the reader into a moment, a place… but, I guess I was just not in the mood for it. Hmm…

The writing itself was good. In fact, I think the dialogue and character presentations were done super neat. One thing I was wondering was the fact that the book seems to be written by 2 authors and I was wondering will this vibe come off the page where you can feel these 2 potentially opposing sides? Well, I didn’t get any such vibes, so that was awesome.

And there we go… My first book of the year. I am glad I read this and as mentioned I intend to read the second book, for sure. I still have a lot of questions that need answering… Which reminds me, who the hell is Teacher and what’s he’s deal… He’s in the book but he’s ‘profession’ is at present as elusive to me as were the very few chapters he made an appearance in. I think he got the whole of 2 very trippy, very cryptic chapters… Anyway, on I shall continue… After that, who knows…? 🙂

Edit: well, hell.. it looks like these books are no longer in ebook edition? Amazon only has paperbacks and if I want to read the 2nd book, and get it in paperback, then the weird me would also think I should have book #1 in paperback… and dear lords… if you ever see ebooks of this series anywhere, let me know!