Publisher: Kevin Hoffman
Publishing Date: August 2014
Publisher Description: Urus and his companions–Goodwyn, the greatest warrior in Kest, and Cailix, a mysterious orphan–must find a way to stop a powerful group of sorcerers from destroying the five long-hidden vertices that ward the world against threats from beyond, while fighting off threats from within. They soon learn that the scope of the coming danger may be more dire than any of them could have imagined. As the battle for the vertices spreads to the neighboring realms, Goodwyn must face the realities of war and death; Cailix discovers a devastating truth that could change everything; and Urus discovers his uncanny gifts and courage as he peels away clues to his true identity.
Review: This was a real entertaining read but it didn’t go down smoothly at times. Here’s why. You were expected to take the characters at face value in terms of their present circumstances. What was lacking was supportive material and relevant connections to their pasts. Most of these discrepancies in information can be explained away in successive novels, but we are reading the one in front of us and demand clarity. Another problem was some of the scene progression. For instance. Cailix gets thrown under a table and a bunch of books (trapped) while a blood mage kills one of his cohorts in order to save a warded map. As Anderis uses the monk, Toyce, to tell him where the Woan map is, Cailix “…stood transfixed, mesmerized by the power Anderis wielded”. How do you stand when you’re trapped under ancient books? In another scene the Loderans scuttle their boat only to have it appropriated by Urus, Goodwyn and Murin who “Held the boat steady while Goodwyn deftly slid on board…”. To scuttle a boat means to sink it. Other minor fall downs are Goodwyn’s statements about how badass Urus really is yet lacks the “warrior” spirit with no explanation given as to how Urus was culled and what type of tests he failed.
Despite my shjtpicking, this had great world building infused with creative insight. The characters were fairly well developed to promote your willingness to see them overcome obstacles. Cailix was a little too one dimensional and you ended not caring what happened to her. This novel verges on being placed in the Gay/Lesbian genre of fantasy as the developing romance was between two elite Kestian soldiers, Goodwyn and Therron. With a heavy dose of editing to clean up some obvious fails in logic, grammatical errors and story-line continuity this is worthy of a 5 star rating.