pagman

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This could be the start of something big

Firstly I have to admit to a certain bias as this is one of my favourite genres, so it has a positive start before I even begin reading. I have found the style shows several aspects reminiscent of a number of authors I have read in this genre, but still differs from each in significant ways and as such is a unique style.

I like the way the fairly standard story of poor boy turns hero is developed and the interest is revived by small twists as the story progresses. Obviously I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but, for instance, the early part of the story is set in a world that appears to be still in the early/middle stages of development (wooden, thatched buildings; metal weapons rather than firearms; animal-based transport) and only later are there hints that probably this is actually a post-apocalyptic re-emergence rather than the first stirrings of so-called "civilisation". There are also hints in the final chapter of more twists and turns to come in a sequel.

I guess if you are looking for such things there are reflections of historical lessons that could be learnt about nationalism and the dangers of power corrupting and weak leadership along with moral commentary about stereotyping and prejudice; good versus evil; human motivations, etc. However, I'm really just looking for a good story I can get immersed in and this book provides that through believable characters who, although they exist in a different world, I can identify with counterparts in reality past or present and can empathise with or despise and rage against (depending on the character).

I did at times find parts of the early chapters (although I recognise them as a necessary back-story to the characters and plot-line) a little short of plot-driving action, but the desire to find out how this was all going to relate to the prologue kept me going through those points and I was rewarded when I reached the later chapters.

The many instances of (sometimes unconventional) humour also helped to keep the whole thing moving along and in some places provided a release from tense situations as much for the reader as for the characters involved. I also rather liked the hint that the characters may know that is what they are as in Chapter 1 when Silas uses the term "Author" where we may expect use of the word "God" or something similar.

This is obviously the first book in a set (possible trilogy?) which does mean that the ending is the usual mix of success and the promise of more trials and tribulations to come. However, it is still a good read in itself even though I would normally prefer to have access to the set to read consecutively - I will probably have to re-read it when the sequel becomes available to refresh myself on the characters and plot lines.

I do agree with Maja that sometimes in a book of this form a map and possibly a summary of major characters, places and historical events is useful, particularly if it is carried from one book to the next so it can help to refresh the reader's memory of the earlier happenings.

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