- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1104 KB
- Print Length: 330 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Kristell Ink, Grimbold Books (30 Jun. 2013)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00DQALB36
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #764,830 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Art of Forgetting: Rider Kindle Edition
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I was initially slightly caught off-balance. Having expected a particular type of book, it was something of a shock to find what I was reading was a lot more demanding. The easy, readable writing style, action-packed narrative pace, strong characterisation and familiar feel to the world initially had me sure of what I would continue to experience. And then Hall started delivering some smart surprises. I’m allergic to spoilers, so I’m not going to divulge the nuts and bolts of those surprises. However, the elite nature of the troops didn’t stop many of them being fairly unpleasant characters with a tendency to violence… This is fine on the battlefield, of course. But what if they are quartered in a town? And what happens when a large number of very fit, active young men want some female company? Without being remotely moralistic, Hall thoroughly explores this dynamic with uncomfortable consequences for all concerned.
And the curved balls kept coming… Aston’s narrative arc had my jaw dropping. While I was still reeling from the fallout to that shocker – Rhodri finds himself heading into action. But that action ends up taking a form that he could never have predicted – I certainly didn’t see it coming. Throughout all this, Rhodri is completely convincing. He yearns to find his father to help him sort out his own identity and while he may be the protagonist of the story, with a talent for calming horses and total recall, what he isn’t is a classical hero. He makes a multitude of mistakes – some of them are catastrophic. So many young main characters written by older authors show a chippy surefootedness that anyone who has spent time around real teenagers knows is not remotely realistic. Real teenagers are a mess of moody contradictions, poor impulse control, while capable of judgement errors that would have their ten-year-old selves rolling their eyes in disgust. Which is exactly how Rhodri and his fellow cadets behave a lot of the time.
Does it work? Oh, absolutely. This storming start to the series is an unusual, challenging read for all the right reasons and I shall definitely be tracking down the second book, Nomad.
In many ways, this will be a familiar type of book for most fantasy fans. For a start, the protagonist Rhodri has questions hanging over his parentage--he has been raised by foster parents in a village where people are suspicious of him because of his apparently photographic memory. (The photographic memory thing has been lightly used so far. I'm hoping it becomes a major plot point in the second book as this is something I've not often seen.) He leaves home to join the army and be part of the King's Third--a mounted regiment. Much of this book is spent following Rhodri through training, making friends (and enemies), and bonding with his horse Liberty.
I enjoyed this section a lot. The relationships are believable, and the relationship between Rhodri and horsemaster Keir is touching. (Incidentally, the horsemaster switches from Keir to Kier and back again at intervals. I did notice a fair few typos and a homonym error or two in the book, but not enough to spoil my enjoyment.)
There's a major plot point which I won't spoil. A part of me wishes what happens didn't happen, as it would have been interesting to follow the relationships afterwards. But in the environment the author is describing, the truth is they probably would have crumbled (for various reasons) so the conclusion of that particular thread, while sad, is probably inevitable.
It's important to note that this is the first half of a long book, rather than book 1 in a series as such, so reading book 2 will be necessary if you're to get the complete picture.
I'll certainly be reading book 2. I'm hoping Keir will put in an appearance again, though I greatly fear he may not.
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