Sometimes, you find a book that you know--just know--you have to finish. You know it after the first page. After the first question is asked. At times, after the first sentence is read. Because the ending taunts you with its secrets. The story tightens like a net around you. When you find Eulogy, you'll know it's such a book.
The cover draws you in. When I first saw it, it brought horror to my mind more than fantasy, but in retrospect, it's appropriate. This isn't a clear cut tale of good against evil. There's real characters here, with darkness in their hearts, demons clawing at their souls.
There's a mad king, a guard, a spitfire. There's others too. With such a vast cast of characters, it's remarkable that I found something to like in each of them. And in a few, something to love.
Irreor Ark lies at the center of the tale. He's the guard, the nice guy, forced to fight for the ones he loves. At the beginning, some may call him the farm-boy. Reminiscent of Luke Skywalker and Rand Al'Thor, he starts out the Archetypical Hero. But, oh, how he changes. The overwhelming circumstances Irreor is put in, the horrible, twisted things he is made to do, made me feel sorry for him. They made me care for him.
I loved Irreor. Rooted for him throughout the entire book--so important in such a long book. And yet, Conklin did something near impossible. He made me love another character even more.
Kipra. The spitfire. The perfect blend of fire and ice.
Her sister followed in their mother's footsteps. And their mother was a whore. But Kipra is different. She will not be used. Right from the start, she's a complex character, and I loved picking away at her thoughts. See, Conklin throws you into a character's head, submerges you in their personality. His skill level in that aspect is almost on par with Robert Jordan. Simply, he's one of the best.
And though I could compare his plotting to Brandon Sanderson, and his prose to another writer or two, there isn't much need. Conklin has a unique voice and a fresh story to tell.
You haven't read anything like Eulogy before.
I wish I could talk more about what happens in the novel, but giving away even a few details may spoil the plot. There's so much mystery. So many important events. That's why you'll have to finish this book. You'll have to know the end. Expect many long nights of reading, as you strive to reach it.
The complex story takes a while to build up--common in epic fantasy. And though I may have preferred the first half of the book to move along faster, I understand why Conklin did what he did. He took his time, piling brick upon brick, building my expectations, so that he could bring them crashing down on me at the end. Squeezing my heart. Making me fight for every breath as I read the last page.
Eulogy closes with a bang. And it has stuck with me for days after.
Congratulations, Mr. Conklin, you've written a tale that I'll remember forever.