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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 4 June 2013
Landon is a pretty average guy. And this story starts with his death.
We follow him to Purgatory, and to the revelation of his destiny. To be a champion for humankind, and be able to wield all manner of magic and bend the world to his will. The downside - he's not fighting for good or evil; he's in fact fighting to make sure there is no outright winner, because if either side wins, humans will pay the price. Which means that both sides consider him the enemy, and he has no allies.

Landon is sent back to earth to restore the balance. The war is currently tipping in the demons' direction, and he needs to find a way to set them back.
This involves angels, vampires, weres and marines.

I downloaded this for free from Amazon a while ago, and eventually got round to reading it. I'll be honest, I wasn't overly drawn to it by the description, and I am always sceptical of high reviews, but thought I'd give it a go.
The first couple of chapters were ok, but I felt like I was reading the book accompaniment of 'The Matrix', which was only compounded by references to the film. I was worried that the rest of the book would continue to rely on established media. And do you know what, it did - but I am going to have to eat my words; because as it went on, the little references to The Matrix, Star Wars, Captain America (and any others I might have missed) were all really funny and made my geek side smile.
As soon as Landon is sent back to earth, he stumbles along from one incident to another, gradually learning what he is capable of and how to control it. He gathers an unlikely team to help him, as we learn more about his enemies.

Balance is a perfect mix of action, adventure, angels and demons. It is a thrilling ride as Landon tries to keep some sense of direction in the war he has been thrown into the middle of. There is magic, sword fights and gun battles, and they are all expertly written, never feeling clumpy or overdone.

So all in all, I turned from a sceptic to being absolutely blown away. It was so exciting that even my usual glass of wine was completely neglected as I was so wrapped-up in reading just one more chapter. I'm not sure how that translates into Amazon stars, but I'm going to give it a 5 without doubt.

I cannot wait to read the rest of the series and see how it all unfolds for Landon.
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on 30 June 2013
I can't rate this highly enough. The story and characters gripped me from the start. Really enjoyable. This has a very different slant on life and that beyond it. Get this and you won't regret it !!!!
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on 17 January 2014
Balance is the first novel in the trilogy by M R Forbes, it tells the story of Landon who is killed while protecting a chalice as a museum guard. He then finds himself drawn into the eternal conflict between Heaven and Hell, but not on either side, he's tasked with helping to mainain the balance (although rather conveniently the balance is currently tipped towards evil). He is a rare creature, that of being a perfect balance between human, angel and demon.

He's new to the business and the first lesson is to discover what he capable of while at the same time trying to restore the balance. The book draws a good balance between the discovery of this new world (or perspective on an old one if you prefer) and action. I preferred the discovery parts of the story, mainly because I usually enjoy peoples' different takes on theology and metaphysics and this story has some interesting ideas that are well presented.

The action works well and keeps the story going to a decent conclusion while leaving the way open for the rest of the trilogy. There's a good blend of characters, although they do stray a little into being caricatures for the different sides of the war, although not by too much.

I do have one issue with the book though and that was that it needed another edit pass, removal of all the unneeded 'coulds' was the main offender. It wasn't enough to really hamper my enjoyment, but it was noticeable. Overall though, this was a fun read and worth checking out if you like your classic good vs evil stories, albeit with a new vibe in this case.
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on 1 March 2014
One of the best things about the expansion of self-publication is the opportunity to read new authors who may have struggled to be published through traditional avenues. Not because their books are less interesting or well-written than published authors, but just the struggle of trying to be seen among so many aspiring writers.

I searched via Goodreads and Amazon for urban fantasy novels featuring a hero rather than yet another derivative kick-ass heroine or romance thinly disguised as fantasy and M R Forbes popped up on the search. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy stories that feature a well-rounded, three-dimensional heroine, but sadly the popularity of The Hunger Games has spawned way too many spin-offs with dull characters and even duller plots. And don't get me started on the romance.

Enter M R Forbes. Intriguing plot? Check. Good, well-rounded characters? Check. Well-written? Check. There were a few typos (rather than grammatical errors) that an editor would have picked up but I want to emphasise these were minor and in no way detracted from the enjoyment of reading a great story. I liked the twists and turns, the uncertainty of motivation, and most of all, the moral ambiguity.

Authors who independently publish do it the hard way and if you enjoy urban fantasy with a little humour thrown in, then do give this book a go.
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on 26 August 2014
Hmmm.........Landon dies. He goes to purgatory and gets sent back to earth to try and keep the balance between good and evil, not fighting for either side but making sure the scales stay level.

I'll be honest........This book is very well written. It keeps you did for the first 100 pages with me. I'm sure people will love this. In fact the reviews say they do.

But for me? Sorry, I don't do Twilight or clones of it.

Gets a boo hiss from me.
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on 10 July 2015
I had most of this series on kindle and forgot I had them as I had so many others I hadn't read yet.Start this one 2 days ago and really liked it a lot.I am looking forward to reading the 2nd one now.It is called betrayal
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on 29 January 2015
Pretty good story, very much in the same vein as Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, though unfortunately not quite up to the same standard.

I enjoyed this book a lot, and it does not suffer from a lot of the problems that the later books in the series suffer from. This is mainly because it is the first book and one of the biggest problems is plot contradictions and holes that appear in comparison to what has been said in this and later books.

Another problem, and this is the major problem of the whole series for me. Un-intelligent, oblivious or just plain stupid characters.

On almost every occasion it is made painfully obvious when there is an up-coming plot twist, and sadly there have invariably been so many clues about the outcome that you get irritated with the characters (particularly Landon) for his inability to avoid ANY of these blatantly telegraphed betrayals, ambushes or other setback.

On the rare occasion when he does see something coming, and on the more numerous occasions when he doesn't, his response is invariably to attempt to bull through with main force. So if you are looking for something with intelligent characters solving puzzles or problems creatively, this is probably not for you. This is a shame, because making the characters just a little more intelligent or not giving the reader so many clues that they have figured out the puzzle at least a chapter ahead would have made a huge difference. Combine that with some more creative solutions to problems and this would be an excellent series. Sadly, as I write this I am mid-way through book 4, and it only gets worse (certainly the lack of intelligent solutions).

The lack of a professional editor is noticeable, but more because the errors when they occur are obvious easy fix mistakes. The most common being people apparently talking to themselves or giving things to themselves. This interrupts the flow of the story as you figure out what is actually supposed to be going on. It is obvious that an attempt has been made to edit, it is just a shame it wasn't more thorough.

These are the main issues that hold it back. I'm not saying that if these were fixed it would be a match for something like The Dresden Files, but it would be fairly close.

Overall this is a fast paced action adventure for holiday/ travel reading or if you just want a bit of escapism without being challenged.
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on 11 July 2013
I love my Kindle primarily because of books like this. It gives unpublished authors a chance to reach a wide audience with interesting and different work. I put a question mark on the title of the review because the book tends to cross so many genres it is difficult to pinpoint where to put it. It is an unusual storyline and well worth the read, this coming from a fan of High Fantasy novels. I could try and describe the story but I think you should give it a go for yourself, it will reward your efforts. Ultimately I liked it so much I immediately bought the second book and eagerly await the next one.
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on 1 September 2014
I found The Balance to be a solid modern fantasy with a great story. Forbes writes a good character with strong dialogue though sometimes it can be a little stilted hence the four stars.

This kind of self publishing is exactly what the Kindle was made for.
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on 10 November 2014
I can't believe how enjoyable this book was I had it on my Kindle for months and after finishing another book I decided to read Balance. To be honest I wasn't expecting too much from this book but within one chapter I was hooked and can't wait to read the next book in the series.
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