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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Promising Start to a Trilogy
The barbarian horde of the Likurian Steppes moved from the east and conquered the Denova Set. Cremond, Barronel, Gormand, Dregon and Vorgaven fell before Loethar's barbarian army. Penraven, the most powerful kingdom of the Set is the the last one standing, however the end is near. King Brennus of Penraven has to take difficult decisions in order to preserve the life of...
Published on 20 Oct 2009 by Yagiz Erkan

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read, marred a little by poor editing
First and foremost, I need to say that I enjoyed this, my first Fiona McIntosh book. She has a knack for surprises and doesn't shy away from grisly scenes - indeed, according the to author's notes, it was the most gory scene that got her started in writing this book.

However, there are problems. According to the author's notes there were three editors. Well,...
Published on 11 April 2010 by Kev Partner


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Promising Start to a Trilogy, 20 Oct 2009
By 
Yagiz Erkan (Boulder, CO) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Royal Exile: Book One of the Valisar Trilogy (Valisar Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
The barbarian horde of the Likurian Steppes moved from the east and conquered the Denova Set. Cremond, Barronel, Gormand, Dregon and Vorgaven fell before Loethar's barbarian army. Penraven, the most powerful kingdom of the Set is the the last one standing, however the end is near. King Brennus of Penraven has to take difficult decisions in order to preserve the life of the only Valisar heir, Prince Leonel.

I hadn't read any of Fiona McIntosh's books before and I was pretty excited when I received a review copy of Royal Exile. As I've been reading the books of the Malazan of the Fallen series, I'm always looking for interesting books to alternate between two Malazan books. So I was hoping to find an interesting story in Royal Exile. Especially when I read what Robin Hobb had to say about Royal Exile, it raised my expectations for Fiona McIntosh's work.

Fiona McIntosh's style is very smooth and easy to get used to. That makes the book very easy to read. The first hundred or so pages, the introductory chapters, went without much excitement. Just when I was getting worried that it was going to be a story full of clichés and not enough action, things sped up and the book gained a steady momentum. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the pages were turning fast with my desire to know more.

I love complex world building in fantasy & sci-fi books. However the world building in Royal Exile is probably done at a bare minimum to keep the story going with some hidden secrets left for the future. I'm hoping to hear more about the Set and its surroundings in the future installments.

My feelings towards the characters in the story have been very mixed. I cared for a few of them. Some others didn't seem believable enough. In more than one occasion, I scratched my head asking myself "would I or anyone do that in the same situation?" On the other hand, I welcomed the late-introduction of other protagonists, and interesting ones in that, who promise a superior upcoming book. Royal Exile started mainly with a single story thread, however, to my joy, Fiona McIntosh carefully crafted multiple parallel threads in the second half of the book.

Royal Exile is a well-written, easy-to-read book. Its plot is captivating despite the shallowness of the world building and of most of its characters. The first book of the Valisar Trilogy is a promising one and I, for one, am looking forward to read the second book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read, marred a little by poor editing, 11 April 2010
By 
Kev Partner "Writer, geek, dad." (Alton, Hamshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Royal Exile: Book One of the Valisar Trilogy (Valisar Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
First and foremost, I need to say that I enjoyed this, my first Fiona McIntosh book. She has a knack for surprises and doesn't shy away from grisly scenes - indeed, according the to author's notes, it was the most gory scene that got her started in writing this book.

However, there are problems. According to the author's notes there were three editors. Well, there's little evidence of that. For example, unless I am completely losing my mind, at least two of the characters learn something shocking on p298 1/3 of the way down only to, apparently, forget it because when they learn it again at the bottom of page 340 it comes as a surprise! I'd have thought an editor who actually read the book might have noticed.

Some of the language is clunky, or perhaps rushed - maybe the book needed another draft (or the intervention of an editor). There are aspects of the plot that are cliched and very obvious (such as the role of the former servant) whilst at other times she manages to surprise. The final issue I have is that the ending really isn't an ending - it's just that the pages run out.

As I said, I enjoyed the book and will continue to read the series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad story, ruined by poor English., 9 Dec 2010
This review is from: Royal Exile: Book One of the Valisar Trilogy (Valisar Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
While I quite enjoyed the actual story in this book, I regret buying it and its sequel at the same time. I shan't be reading the sequel as the poor use of English was so jarring.

Suicides are described as murders, by people who witnessed them, censure is used when censor should have been. The book is littered with usages that are just not quite right, almost as though the author had a word of the day calendar with the meanings removed and she had to guess.

If you want an average fantasy story and you don't wince when you read someone use a word incorrectly, or just mis-describe an earlier event, then go for it. The story is OK, the characters are straight out of the fantasy character cliché box and the dialogue is... laboured. If you can live with that, then you've a stronger stomach than I. Actually less pleasant to read than Kevin J. Anderson.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fiona on Form, 23 Jan 2009
This review is from: Royal Exile: Book One of the Valisar Trilogy (Valisar Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
I like this one. Good characters. Good story. Pacy. Puts her characters in difficult circumstances and asks them to make difficult choices and sometimes shocks you with their their resolution, yet at the same time manages to convince that the solution was the right one for the character concerned.I did keep wanting to find out what would happen next, so I hope she can keep it up through the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valisar Trilogy, 21 Sep 2011
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This review is from: Royal Exile: Book One of the Valisar Trilogy (Valisar Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
Loved this Trilogy and had to read all three books together so waited to buy them when all three were written. I do this with most trilogies now. Spent 5 days doing nothing else but read. It was great. I recommend these books. They are a light read but enjoyable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not Again, 9 Jun 2009
By 
Richard Duddell "rduddell" (Over Here!) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Royal Exile: Book One of the Valisar Trilogy (Valisar Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
Oh why do I do this to myself - I buy a book - read it and then find I have to wait ages for the next instalment.
This is a good (not great) book that moves a a good pace and is starting to generate some interesting characters, some good, some bad and some who need to be killed off. The plot is thin at the moment and fairly predictable but it's a whole lot better than some of the stuff I have read, and I believe its just the begining. Very little magic, no elves or dwarves (yet?? - and hopefully free of such things) but the subtleness just draws you in, making it essential to read the next page/chapter. Not to the standard of the Riftwars in terms of worlds and not quiet as brutal as George R R Martin just yet - but I think a good blend of something in between - I wait with baited breath for the next one - and will read the others by the author in the meantime
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3.0 out of 5 stars Run of the mill Fantasy, 30 May 2009
By 
Chris Griner - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Royal Exile: Book One of the Valisar Trilogy (Valisar Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
The book was a standard Fantasy novel. Nothing spectacular or noteworthy about it. Don't let this put you off, if you are simply relaxing and want a book to churn through. But if you are looking for a novel which stands out from the crowd, this is not one.

I was surprised to find out this wasn't the novelist's first book, as the plot is standard fare, the structure predictable and the characters not really noteworthy. It does flow well, but with a little more effort to add depth and subtlety could have become a really good novel.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking something, 21 April 2009
By 
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Royal Exile: Book One of the Valisar Trilogy (Valisar Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
Well, previous reviewers seem to have enjoyed this a lot more then I did. I really enjoyed some of the author's previous work, she writes fantasy with a real dark edge and when she pulls it off it really works. Here it didn't come together for me, I found the pace a little slow and lacking the inventiveness previously displayed by the author. While the dark violent side is there, it just didn't engage me sufficiently to keep turning the pages. This is the first part of a trilogy and I'm sorry to say I shall probably not bother with the next two.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More please!, 3 April 2009
By 
C. o'neill - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Royal Exile: Book One of the Valisar Trilogy (Valisar Trilogy 1) (Paperback)
A great page-turner, so much so that I had a couple of late nights reading it as I found it difficult to put down. I like Fiona McIntosh and this series has started out strongly and so I have high hopes for the rest of the series. Her characters are always well defined and she is not afraid to shock if its serves the plot (or the tension!). As a minor criticism, I just wonder whether some of the themes of her other books will be repeated (will one of the characters turn into a bird perhaps?) and I will be disappointed if those plot devices crop up again, but not enough to stop buying the books or enjoying them enormously!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 8 July 2014
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Yet another good trilogy
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Royal Exile: Book One of the Valisar Trilogy (Valisar Trilogy 1)
Royal Exile: Book One of the Valisar Trilogy (Valisar Trilogy 1) by Fiona McIntosh (Paperback - 5 Jan 2009)
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