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Seven Forges [Paperback]

James A. Moore
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

19 Sep 2013
The people of Fellein have lived with legends for many centuries. To their far north, the Blasted Lands, a legacy of an ancient time of cataclysm, are vast, desolate and impassable, but that doesn't stop the occasional expedition into their fringes in search of any trace of the ancients who once lived there - and oft-rumoured riches. Captain Merros Dulver is the first in many lifetimes to find a path beyond the great mountains known as the Seven Forges and encounter, at last, the half forgotten race who live there. And it would appear that they were expecting him. As he returns home, bringing an entourage of the strangers with him, he starts to wonder whether his discovery has been such a good thing. For the gods of this lost race are the gods of war, and their memories of that far-off cataclysm have not faded.


Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (19 Sep 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0857663828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857663825
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 908,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

James A Moore is the author of over twenty novels, including the critically acclaimed Fireworks, Under The Overtree, Blood Red, Deeper, the Serenity Falls trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley) and his most recent novels Blind Shadows and the forthcoming Seven Forges. He has twice been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and spent three years as an officer in the Horror Writers Association, first as Secretary and later as Vice President. The author cut his teeth in the industry writing for Marvel Comics and authoring over twenty role-playing supplements for White Wolf Games, including Berlin by Night, Land of 1,000,000 Dreams and The Get of Fenris tribe. He also penned the White Wolf novels Vampire: House of Secrets and Werewolf: Hellstorm. Moore's first short story collection, Slices, sold out before ever seeing print. He currently lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Explosive read, despite the glitches 20 Mar 2014
By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This the first book that I have read from this author, so this review will not provide comparisons with the author’s previous works. I very much liked this book, although I had initially expected to be disappointed. I guess it just shows to what extent preconceptions can be misleading. More interesting perhaps are the reasons for having liked this book, for looking very much forward to the second volume and for hoping that the glitches that this first volume contains will be addressed in the second one.

The first strongpoint is that this book reads easily. I found it rather griping. I read it from cover to cover in less than a day and a half, snatching every spare moment to read a few more pages and finishing it off during a rather extended lunch break.

One of the reasons for this is the world setting, or, more accurately, the description of the Blasted Lands with all their inhospitable landscapes resulting from a disastrous war fought a millennia ago and with plenty of danger lurking just out of eye sight. Also impressive are the very mysterious Seven Forges, each a mountain and a separate kingdom consecrated to a special god and shrouded in as much mystery that the author could come up with. I was however less impressed by the description of the Empire of Fellein, or at least the bits we learn about in this volume, including its capital, and which I found rather bland. Another little reservation is that a map of the continent would have been a useful addition and is somewhat missing to appreciate the main characters trekking back and forth between the Imperial capital and the Seven Forges, and the vast distances involved.

Another interesting part is the theme of an ancient continent, once upon a time shattered by a devastating war.
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4.0 out of 5 stars More fantasy like this please! 13 Dec 2013
By Scarlet
Format:Paperback
It seems like it's been a long time since I read a fantasy novel that's not YA with strong characters, amazing world-building and the sort of ending that leaves you wanting more. Luckily, that's exactly James A Moore did with Seven Forges so I'm so glad I decided to read this one.

The story starts off with Merros Dulver leading an expedition to land previously uncharted. People have set off on numerous expeditions but have never returned. Not only that, there is talk of creatures called the Pra-Moresh who if you encounter them it's likely to be the last thing you do! The area they're heading to is desolate, a range of mountains called Seven Forges and unexpectedly, inhabited by a race called the Sa'ba Taalor who have grey tinted skin, are never seen without their veils and impossible to tell whether they are male or female. The Sa'ba Taalor are warriors, taught how to fight and use weapons almost from birth and this meeting between the two peoples is about to change history. Merros, his second-in-command Wollis and a small band of Sa'ba Taalor return to Fellein, are introduced to the emperor and to what, rather confusingly, appears to be the nation's only sorcerer - Desh Krohan, with his own personal harem of apprentices and healers. There a couple of other characters introduced here too, a young man called Andover who is almost essential to the plot but in an understated way, in terms of what happens to him and a visiting Royal princess who may or may not be telling the truth.

I loved Seven Forges, the idea of there being seven gods for each of the seven mountains was fascinating as was the mythology behind the Daxar Taalor (their name for their gods) and that they were all gods of war.
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By W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Seven Forges has left me confused after finishing it, more so than any other book I've read this year. Why? Well, Seven Forges has so many elements going for it: the world-building is great, the characters are interesting, snappy dialogue, interesting plot. Yet for some reason, the elements didn't gel together smoothly and so the book made for an uneven read. And I'm having a hard time putting my finger on why exactly I found it to be so.

What initially drew my attention to Seven Forges and what somewhat set it apart for me was the world building. Moore sets his story in a world where the largest desolate and harsh environment isn't your usual desert, no he chooses to set it in an icy landscape that is bleak and dark and completely inhospitable. He also hints throughout the story that there is more to this world, that the geography of it is unreliable as it's seemingly changing in unexpected ways: distances getting shorter and features of the landscape, such as mountains and islands, moving or disappearing. I found the world our protagonists travel through fascinating, from the sea shores of Roathes, the political intrigue at the castle in Tyrne, the bleakness of the Blasted Lands, to the majestic, but cold, splendour of the The Seven Forges, they all held my interest.

Similarly, Moore does a good job with his characters. While there are numerous points of view throughout the book, about thirteen if I remember them all, the main viewpoints are shared between Merros, Andover, Desh, and Drask. Merros is a likeable sort, who gets drawn back into the Empire's service after having retired as Captain. I liked his sense of responsibility, especially towards those under his command.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  77 reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Competent Epic Fantasy created from great elements 4 Oct 2013
By W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Seven Forges has left me confused after finishing it, more so than any other book I've read this year. Why? Well, Seven Forges has so many elements going for it: the world-building is great, the characters are interesting, snappy dialogue, interesting plot. Yet for some reason, the elements didn't gel together smoothly and so the book made for an uneven read. And I'm having a hard time putting my finger on why exactly I found it to be so.

What initially drew my attention to Seven Forges and what somewhat set it apart for me was the world building. Moore sets his story in a world where the largest desolate and harsh environment isn't your usual desert, no he chooses to set it in an icy landscape that is bleak and dark and completely inhospitable. He also hints throughout the story that there is more to this world, that the geography of it is unreliable as it's seemingly changing in unexpected ways: distances getting shorter and features of the landscape, such as mountains and islands, moving or disappearing. I found the world our protagonists travel through fascinating, from the sea shores of Roathes, the political intrigue at the castle in Tyrne, the bleakness of the Blasted Lands, to the majestic, but cold, splendour of the The Seven Forges, they all held my interest.

Similarly, Moore does a good job with his characters. While there are numerous points of view throughout the book, about thirteen if I remember them all, the main viewpoints are shared between Merros, Andover, Desh, and Drask. Merros is a likeable sort, who gets drawn back into the Empire's service after having retired as Captain. I liked his sense of responsibility, especially towards those under his command. He isn't afraid to fight and knows death and loss is part of that, but he hates losing men on his watch regardless. I loved his bond with his second-in-command, Wollis. They had an easy-going bond that comes from long association and I really liked the banter between them. In contrast, Andover is a youth who is just growing into being an adult. While I found his story arc immediately engaging, he's a typical teenager and as such not always very sympathetic. But he was well-written and there is a lot of potential there. Desh is a quite human character, despite being a centuries-old sorcerer and I quite liked his snide sense of humour. His exchanges with Emperor Pathra had me sniggering quite a few times.

Drask is the first Sa'ba Taalor the Empire, and the reader encounters and as such he's an important figure. He sets the tone of what we can expect from the Sa'ba Taalor, or does he? I found this new race the Empire encountered completely compelling. I really liked the mythology and religion Moore has crafted for them and the way they have adapted to the harsh living conditions they were forced into by the fall of Kowra and the creation of the Blasted Lands. They are a warrior culture, trained in battle from the moment they can stand, regardless of their sex or their standing in the community. While we learn a lot about them, a lot remains hidden - most notably the way they look, as they wear veils at all times in the book - and there are a lot of additional hints at more mysteries towards the end of the book.

I loved that especially among the Sa'ba Taalor men and women are equal and the women have just as much agency as the men. Unfortunately, however much agency the women have, they are all written through a heavy male gaze and this was the one giant drawback for me. Time and again we are told how stunningly beautiful Tega, the Sisters, and Princesses Lanaie and Nachia are, and how strangely alluring the female Sa'ba Taalor are with their blend of physical prowess and unapologetic feminine curves. I could have excused this in Andover's case, because he's a hormonal, love-struck teen, but he's not the only one to look at the women in this way. All of the characters do it, except perhaps Drask and Tusk, the Sa'ba Taalor leaders. I don't mind all the female characters being gorgeous or attractive, not at all, but after the first time it's been observed, I don't have to be told over and over again. Especially in the case of the three Sisters that assist Desh, the emphasis on their beauty and the implied use of their physical attributes to get done what they need to get done, became grating.

The writing and pacing of the book felt somewhat uneven, with quite obvious tonal differences between passages and a rather slow build-up leading into a lightening ending. I had a hard time for about the first 100 pages of the book. Seven Forges seemed like it should be a quick read, but I found myself being easily distracted from it during that first third of the story and it was only once I passed the halfway point that I found I was really invested. While this may have been due to me being tired, I think that part of it is that this is clearly the first book in a series and there is a lot of setting up for the rest of the story. However, Moore is great at snappy dialogue and banter and his characters had me laughing out loud several times.

Seven Forges didn't knock my socks off, but it's hooked me enough to make sure I'll be back for the next instalment. After the explosive plot twist in the last chapters of the book, how could I not be? I'm hoping we'll see lots more of the Sa'ba Taalor and their society and of Merros. Moore has set off some bombs in the final pages of his story and it'll be interesting to see how his characters deal with the fall out in the next book.

This book was provided for review by the publisher.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A digestible Game of Thrones 21 Oct 2013
By PWDecker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
*I received this book as an eARC from Angry Robot on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Seven Forges is a digestible Game of Thrones. It has all the intrigue and high fantasy, but packaged in a Lunchable instead of an eighteen course feast.

There are a lot of characters, but they all are interesting and complex, having their own goals and motives. Within each chapter the character perspective may change multiple times. I found this hard to follow at first, but I quickly got used to it.

The world of Fellein is an interesting and complex world. There is an emperor with kings under him ruling different countries. At the start of this novel, a new people are discovered in an area thought to be inhospitable. The book follows the changes these people's appearance bring to the world.

The mythology and religion of all the different cultures are very interesting. There are just enough details given that are relevant to the current situation and overall story. In A Song of Fire and Ice, there are so many details that aren't necessarily relevant to the plot at that time. Seven Forges gives you just enough information, leaving you hungry for more.

I liked how magic was portrayed with the emperor's aid, Desh Krohan. Magic always has a price and its not very common. I thought the silver hands were really cool and I thought the story might dip its feet into sci-fi territory, but it didn't in this book. Maybe it will lead that direction in sequels.

The royal intrigue is also present. There are characters from all walks of life, from a homeless teenage boy to the emperor himself.

I keep comparing this to George R.R. Martin's series, but that is only because its one of the most popular fantasy series out there right now. Seven Forges didn't feel as epic. Many of the high intensity moments fell a little flat to me. I wanted more to happen. I wanted things to get more complicated. And toward the end they did. And I want more!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I want more. I am now invested in this world and want to know more about it. I will definitely be looking for a sequel. If you are having Game of Thrones withdrawal or want to read something more manageable, I suggest this book. I give this book a 4/5!
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of storytelling 28 Sep 2013
By Tracey Sheppeard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Good evening constant reader.

If you like a sword and sorcery epic with characters who all but grab you by the hand and drag you through the narrative, a story line that takes your interest and holds it hostage until it's had it's way with you, a lot of action, is well-paced and is so good, you don't want to put it down, but at the same time, don't want to finish it too quick (then the awesome is over), this book my dears, is for you.

Merros Dulver is leading a group of men making their way to explore the Seven Forges, spikes of mountain that can be seen from the distance of their home land Fellein, but until now have remained unexplored. They encounter a race of people who populate this wild and barren land and it seems as if they were "expected" - Merros's arrival was foreseen. The strangers he discovers there join him on his return to Fellein, but Merros wonders if this might be a mistake, to mix his people with the newcomers. The newcomer's Gods are rather martial and they have wild ways about them. Yet they return to Fellein, and the stage is set.

As I kept reading, I got more and more sucked in to this world and the magic and interesting creatures that abide there. There's more than enough sword play, a sorcerer who gave me the wiggins and made me never want to trust him, a young man who loses a lot and gains more, so much more, but at what ultimate cost, female characters that are more than just pretty faces, though there are some pretty faces, too, and an ending I didn't see coming and when it arrived, with too few pages left in the book, told me we're in for another installment in this series.

My biggest gripe about fantasy writing is it can get too caught up in itself and stretch on and on and on and on, lasting for umpteen volumes. With each new installment, the story starts to stretch our further and further from the core that captured one's attention in the first place. This is why in my pleasure reading, I tend to shun multi-volume epics. Until now.

Mr. Moore, James if I may...I hope you've got the next volume in this series written, or if not written, at least well mapped out, because I want more, and so will everyone else who has any taste other than in their mouths.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seven Forges: Interesting But No Connection 28 Sep 2013
By Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Seven Forges by James A. Moore caught my eye by the cover and tagline "War is Coming." (Maybe I was subliminally hoping for something similar to another popular series >.>) I didn't actually realized until I finished Seven Forges that the guy on the cover has a silver hand, so I am helping you by pointing that out :D. Isn't it cool?? Anyway, Seven Forges has a pretty interesting premise in that it manages to mix traditional high fantasy with fairly realistic implications for isolated groups of humans separated for thousands of years. I'm hoping that there is a sequel, since I can see it going in a lot of interesting directions, but I'm just not sure since there isn't a series indicated yet :(.
Note: I received an advanced copy of Seven Forces through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Strengths:
That guy on the cover is from a race of humanoids that got isolated from the rest of the world when natural disaster struck, notice anything strange about him (besides the hand that I already pointed out :-P). No? Well just wait :D. I was quite a fan of Seven Forges' cool new fantasy race and am thrilled to encounter a book that actually has isolated populations diverging from each other!
Wow, that twist. In some ways I think I should have seen it coming, and I kind of did, but Seven Forges just lulled me into security and BAM! Craziness!
There is a definite air of mystery around a lot of elements in Seven Forges. It's understandable that two races that are still trying to figure each other out wouldn't share everything down to their favorite color, but it's more than that. We never really get confirmation about a couple of mystical things and it worked well since it just made them all the more mystical :D.

Weaknesses:
Seven Forges has a strange habit of "foreshadowing" by just throwing in a sentence about what will happen in the future. It almost felt like these sentences should come with a freaking spoiler warning. I would have preferred a bit more subtlety like that mystery discussed above.
There are A LOT of characters and each of them have the typical first and second name and possibly a nickname. It's really confusing to keep the switching POV straight when sometimes a character is called his/her first name and sometimes last name and sometimes nickname/honorific. I felt like I needed a cast list.
I honestly didn't really connect with any of the characters. While there is a crazy amount of POV switching, there are definitely main and secondary characters, but I didn't really get to spend enough time with any of them to deeply connect. I kind of shrugged at the end of Seven Forges since what happened to various characters didn't bother me.
Crazy cliffhanger warning. If there isn't a second book in the works, I will be sad. I must know the answers!

Summary:
Seven Forges is a mix of fresh and awesome fantasy and kind of struggling motivations. I didn't get a lot of feels and had a bit of trouble following all the interweaving POV. However, I applaud a book that is willing to go as crazy realistic as Seven Forges did with that plot twist. I would very much like to read another story in the Seven Forges world, but maybe with just one POV?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fantastic Forge! 25 Oct 2013
By Mace & Lacey Gannon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
We to begin?
We have never heard of this author, but the awesome cover art by Alejandro Colucci and interesting title caught out eye.
Now, after just finishing Seven Forges, we have to say that not only did this new fantasy author we took a chance on reach our expectations, he exceeded them!
We've noticed some reviewers model this book to Game of Thrones. Wrong analogy.
SEVEN FORGES is much more in the league of Joe Abercrombie meets Robert E. Howard Meets Ken Scholes' Psalms of Isaak series. (But really, it just has James Moore's uniqueness.)
The 1st chapter captured our attention right away, and then it never let up till the end.
James Moore is one of the new talents we've recently tried out in the fantasy genre, and has really proven himself with his 1st fantasy novel that he has a great and talented voice for this genre.
In fact, out of all of the Angry Robot books we've tried through the years, Moore is by far the best of them, in our humble opinion. AND had one of the best cover designs. How this book does not have lots more positive reviews is crazy.

Perhaps by reviews such as this one will make people purchase this amazingly effective, inventive, and action-packed novel that is sure to thrill fans of above authors we mentioned.

James A. Moore doesn't waste time introducing the reader to his savage landscape of the mysterious and dangerous Blasted Lands, where creepy monsters lurk and ancient dead cities await rediscovery. Author Moore never lets up from there, giving the reader a chock-full of adrenaline rush that runs the gambit from high stakes adventure to mysteries to court intrigue, all done with aplomb.

To say this first in a brand-new series is akin to Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian series would be pretty accurate. Even Conan himself would have a heard time against the best part of this book - the mysterious and barbarous people called the Sa'Ba Taalor. Gray-skinned and veiled muscled warriors from out of the Blasted Lands, even their women are killers of the worst kind. This is just one area where Moore shines his pen light, weaving his yarn of secretive ancient gods of a lost land whose people come out of the vast, desolate, and frozen landscape to save the only expedition that has made a successful mission to this impassable mountain range known as the Seven Forges.

Being hardcore readers for several decades in this genre, having read all the top billing authors out there, along with numerous newer ones such as this, we have to say that Seven Forges brings back that lost Sword & Sorcery genre that has seemingly been lost. We love this type of adventure writing. This is more primal and savage, with its vengeful gods and lost warriors coming out after countless millennia, to come forth and face Mankind again - but on its own terms.

We have to say that the ending was very abrupt. Not that that is a bad thing. It just felt like a strange way to end a book.

But it left us wanting more. So, in that respect, the author has captured our attention.

We loved the stylistic approach that Moore used here. Even though there were tropes that he used that we've seen in other fantasy novels, he still manages to infuse his own brand of colorful world-building and numerous interesting characters that we cannot wait to revisit in his next book - The Blasted Lands.
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