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Ahi (Portland)

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The Book of Transformations (Legends of the Red Sun)
The Book of Transformations (Legends of the Red Sun)
by Mark Charan Newton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Genre defiant series doubles down on "Weird.", 26 Sept. 2012
This aptly named book takes the Red Sun series to new and unexpected places.

It's not perfect, and at times the prose feels first drafty. Some of the dialogue is clunky, and the modern vernacular is distracting; ie; "What's up?" a character refers to their "rep," an angry boss yells "my office, now!" There are two mentions of Neandrathals, which seems to make no sense to this world. Presumably the dialect has been translated from a foreign tongue to modern English, but it can be jarring.

Newton deserves kudos for writing books like no one else. The introduction of what are essentially superheroes to a fantasy tale is risky, but he handles it deftly. Each of the Knights are compelling characters (though one wonders why there are only three of them.)

Urtica is an all-too believable villain; a petty, scheming greedy man who has risen to power via all means necessary. He doesn't get a lot of screen time, but he's written quite well.

The best part of this book, however, is the examination of underlying social issues. Even whilst reading the Knight's tales, we as a reader know that we are reading about the bad guys, the shock troops of Villjamur's 1 percent. That they don't consider themselves bad, that no one in the book does, is sign of a well-constructed story.

In short, Book of Transformations is a thinking man's fantasy, for fans of nuance and good characterization as much as epic battles and cool magic systems.


City of Ruin: Legends of the Red Sun: Book Two
City of Ruin: Legends of the Red Sun: Book Two
by Mark Charan Newton
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Plot Thickens...., 11 July 2012
I might be one of the few who liked the first in the series better. I enjoyed the weirdness, but it felt like it came at the expense of the pace. Especially as how the last book set up a conflict with the invading army--it seemed as though this one should start with it, but no serious confrontation happened until the very end. It felt like padding. I also think this book lacked the subtlety that Nights had. While some of the characters are quite complex, their motivations are rather blatantly told to us, rather than shown.

All that aside, this is really fun book to read, brimming with creativity and loaded with allegory. It's a worthy successor and and a very enjoyable read.


Nights of Villjamur (Legends of the Red Sun)
Nights of Villjamur (Legends of the Red Sun)
by Mark Charan Newton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Nights that say Niiii, 11 July 2012
Some books you can just tell that you like from the very beginning. This was one such case.

The world-building was creative, the prose was good, the characters varied and fully-formed, and the plot sweeping.

It's not perfect--the plot seemed a bit rushed and the pacing was at times uneven. But these are minor concerns.

Overall, this is a terrific book that hits a sweet spot somewhere between George RR Martin and Fritz Leiber.


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