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53 Reviews
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Herald of the Storm
This is the first in a series. There is quite a lot of introductory exposition on a lot of characters for the first six or so chapters in the book, so it is a book which I think you need to allow yourself some time to get into. Having said that, the characters are very intriguing right from the start. We read first of Massoum Abbasi travelling to Steelhaven; then the...
Published 14 months ago by Keen Reader

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Fairly standard, and readable
The novel begins with the introduction of a cast of characters who each get a couple of chapters to set them into the story. The author doesn't have much sense of dramatic structure, no big rise and fall of events. Throughout the book there's just a steady pace as events gradually build, and it's all quite standard stuff.

The cast list is basically a collection...
Published 29 days ago by Kublai


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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great start of a new series, 6 April 2013
By 
Christian (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Herald of the Storm (Steelhaven: Book One) (Hardcover)
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This is a fantasy book that starts ticking most of the required elements; troubled kingdom; different races co-existing; present threat from dangerous enemy; internal enemies; royalty; magic...I could go on. In fact the thing that quickly struck me was that this book seemed to follow many of the same world building outlines of Joe Abercrombie. I am still unsure if this was a deliberate homage (the name of Shanka seemed a nod to me) or if it was more of an inadvertent subconscious reference.

These thoughts stayed with me for the first few chapters before being replaced by a simple enjoyment of the story and the twists that began to bring the different main characters together with others as their stories were being told. I found myself getting lost in the gritty telling of the characters, be under no illusions this is an adult fantasy novel. The characters are all damaged in some way as the story is being told; things happen that have a permanent impact both on individuals and their relationships. This lead to a really satisfying read as I enjoy investing in a book that leads to change and resolutions.

This is a great start to a trilogy and I can't really fault it on its own merits. It finished strongly and left me really wanting to read more. I will certainly be looking out for the other parts of the trilogy and have high hopes. Recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply excellent, 19 Oct 2013
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Good plot development, good characters, good pace and well edited.
Tough to build a new world nowadays but I do like this.
Well done Mr Ford...now where's the next episode?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable dabble in Dark Fantasy, 1 Sep 2013
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I read fantasy as a bit of light relief. Herald of the Storm is just that. I don't think it's going to win any awards and some of the characters seem a bit close to those of Richard Morgan or Daniel Abraham, but at the end of the day, it's a well-written bit of violent fantasy, and there's nothing wrong with that.
I read the whole thing in a day and a bit so it must have flowed quite well and by the end, I even felt a twinge of sympathy for some of the characters, so Mr Ford must be doing something right. I look forward to the next installment.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The song of steel was not a pretty tune "., 25 May 2013
By 
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Herald of the Storm (Steelhaven: Book One) (Hardcover)
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I am going to open this review with a comparison that is probably about as original as many of the recent comments about the death of Margaret Thatcher. Herald Of the Storm is a colourful melange of Joe Abercrombie and George R.R. Martin . If you like either of them you will probably find something to enjoy in the first book in Richard Ford's new trilogy: Steelhaven.
Set in the city of the same name, Herald of the Storm like Martins A Game Of Thrones has each chapter concentrate on a set of disparate characters that co-exist within the city. Certain characters inhabit the upper echelons of society while others inhabit the lower rungs , while others truly exist on the margins, members of secret cabals and religious cults.
The wider context of the story has the King of the Kingdom known as The Free States of which Steelhaven is the capitol defending it's Northern borders against an invading horde whilst the denizens of the city coexist in fretful ignorance of where their fate may lie.This is widely ignored by the author as well as by most the characters.
There's nothing particularly original about Steelhaven itself, but as the entire novel is set in its murky streets, Ford has managed to breathe life into something which could have become tedious quickly. Each of the characters are connected to Steelhaven in ways that go deeper than simply living there. By setting the entirety of the book in one city, Ford manages to tie the reader to its fate and invests it with a colour and personality that make it seem real.
Like the aforementioned Abercrombie Ford brings a vibrant contemporary edge to his writing with much breezy profanity ( anyone who quails at a fruity expletive better steer clear of Steelhaven ) and wince inducing violence. His writing style too is lively without resorting to too much depth of the palette , a criticism that could be levelled at Martin with his love of long evocative passage regarding helms & feasts.
Perhaps the biggest problem I had with Herald of the Storm was its lack of a cohesive central plot but I feel that further into the trilogy the various strands of the story will tie in together and the crucial central thrust of the narrative will become clear. Herald of the Storm takes the elementary parts of gritty, epic fantasy and puts the focus on character first. Thankfully the characters are terrific if not especially original. The most telling point about this book is ,if I had my hands on the next book in the trilogy I would put aside everything else on my "to read" shelf and move on to that first.To summarise i cannot wait to visit Steelhaven again even if her "song of steel" is not a pretty one.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Start!, 3 May 2013
By 
T. Walker (Bedfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Herald of the Storm (Steelhaven: Book One) (Hardcover)
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This is the first of a series of books in what will be the Steelhaven series. It's a long book, over six hundred pages, and because it is the first of a series do not expect closure at the end.
Set in the mythical city of Steelhaven, we meet King Cael the Uniter who, as the story opens, is out fighting a war and holding off a host of barbaric hordes.His daughter Janessa is left at home to deal with domestic matters while he is away. Into this scenario comes Amon Tugha, spreading evil tidings and prophecies of doom.
Interlaced with in this are the stories of seven people whose lives are linked to Steelhaven. These characters are very well written and described, but if anything their stories seem to be vignettes that get in the way. There is no real cohesive central plot and this makes it a bit claustrophobic, especially as the novel is set only in the city itself. The characters are very concerned about the coming war, but we learn little of the events of that conflict.
It may well be that the author will address this as the series develops.
Nevertheless, this is a creditable start and one that I recommend to lovers of fantasy fiction.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific character-led fantasy adventure, 17 April 2013
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Book Critic (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Herald of the Storm (Steelhaven: Book One) (Hardcover)
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'Welcome to Steelhaven', says the blurb, and it's the city that ties the characters together. 7 characters, 7 disparate stories - or so it seems at first. Gradually, these lives begin to mesh and weave together, as you know they must.
The characters are the bread, butter and jam of the thing and they are REALLY good. Each character is so well drawn: there's never any confusion as to who each is, even when in disguise, even when (I think) there's supposed to be ambiguity and a touch of surprise - there's really is no surprise because everyone is so like themselves. The characterisation is that good.
The story is not over-wrought or trying too hard to be 'epic'. It has the usual fantasy setting, Medievalish in tone, but there's a strong thread of realism, Steelhaven feels like a real place in a real time. There is magic, but it's not high fantasy - in the sense there are no elves or dragons (thank goodness). This magic has mystery that is intricately woven into the plot, it's not a device, a get out of jail card, the story is far more subtle than that.
In short, this is a very finely crafted, excellently written, old-fashioned adventure yarn set in a gritty, realistic, fantasy world, and the whole thing driven by the best set of characters I've read all year. Excellent stuff and highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good page turner, 16 May 2014
By 
E. E. Hughes (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Herald of the Storm (Steelhaven: Book One) (Hardcover)
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This book was a good page turner. I enjoyed reading about the characters. There are quite a few though, and they each have their own chapters. This meant that I was a good way into the book before any of the characters were reintroduced. There isn't anything new or groundbreaking, but then I don't require every book I read to be that. I will be reading the next volume in the series, as I want to know what happens to the characters next. Overall I would recommend this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Beginning To A Fantasy Series, 15 May 2014
By 
H. Pierce (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Herald of the Storm (Steelhaven: Book One) (Hardcover)
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Fantasy is a topic that sometimes fails to meet the potential of avid fans. Luckily, I cannot say that about the beginning of this new series. I was surprised, and pleased, that this seems to have got off to a solid start.

The story itself is not outstandingly original, but that isn't really to the detriment of the tale. I find it increasingly difficult to find a fantasy novel that does not contain some of the traditional fantasy staples. When you think about it, though, this is true in any genre of novel. In fact, it is the fantasy staples that fans tend to enjoy so much.

All of that aside, the novel is well-written and is of decent size. The characters are of sound quality, and memorable enough to be able to differentiate them from each other straight away. There is a lot of action in this novel too, which keeps the tale moving on swiftly.

Overall, I would recommend this book to any fantasy fans, and to anyone else who fancies dipping their toes into the genre. I cannot tell you much about the plot for fear that it will spoil your enjoyment, but I do hope that you enjoy it as much as I have.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm..., 15 May 2014
By 
G. J. Oxley "Gaz" (Tyne & Wear, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Herald of the Storm (Steelhaven: Book One) (Hardcover)
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Got to admit that I'm not a big fantasy reader, but I can enjoy such novels if they're good (Joe Abercrombie, George RR Martin).

This is the first in a new series and is pretty good. There's a large list of characters who bounce around fighting each other, and there's plenty of bloodshed.

Thing is Mr. Martin has rather spoilt this kind of fantasty sub-genre for anybody else - and this is a sort of 'Game of Thrones' lite.

Not bad, but not great.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but..., 10 May 2014
By 
Mad Saint Uden "Mad Saint Uden - it's an anagram" (Kent - UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Herald of the Storm (Steelhaven: Book One) (Hardcover)
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I really didn't want to mention the game of thrones. I really really didn't. I've not read those books yet, but have been watching the TV show. But I have to mention it. Because the scope of this and its ambitions are so similar.

This is an epic read, with multi story arcs covering a far reaching geographical region with an element of earth gone bye mixed with fantasy. This is mostly fast paced and easy to follow. It does have if not an industrial feel then a more tool heavy one than either GOT or Lord Of The Rings. This is gritty, dirty, smelly. Having a sequel in place makes it a good investment of time and I would say - give it a go.
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Herald of the Storm (Steelhaven: Book One)
Herald of the Storm (Steelhaven: Book One) by Richard Ford (Hardcover - 25 April 2013)
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