All the stories in this compilation book were great, and they all resonated with me; some more than others. I really enjoyed Dragon Born, and Cambion; both were masterfully written and were perfect for this book. However, the story that I loved the most was The Renegade Apprentice. That story got right up under my skin. I hate bullies and those who torment others, I think that's why Renegade Apprentice reached me so well.
Evren and Daver are students lecterns of Kiro the Master; father of the gods. As lecterns-in-training the teachers expect them to behave well and not resort to fighting in order to settle their differences. However, they are continuously pressurised into fighting in the in-house fighting team by the older boys. Evren at least, has no choice. He fights to protect his good friend Daver, who is weak and frail due to the harsh life he has had. After taking many years of harsh treatment by the older lecterns-in-training and the senior lecterns who use the combined punishments of starvation, thirst, and sexual abuse to control the students; the two boys are at the end of their endurance. On top of that, the older boys make Evren and Daver's lives an utter misery, making them fight, and beating them up constantly. When a senior lectern decides he needs to teach Evren a lesson with his personal form of 'prayers', Evren and Daver decide to escape, hoping for a new kind of life in Vothmot on the streets. It's either escape or murder the lectern when he returns. Evren says escape and Daver agrees. The rest of the story is filled with risk and fear and a life that is more difficult than either of the boys expected.
I liked all the characters in this story, they were really animated and interesting, even if some of them were the bad guys, I still found them great and in a few cases, disgustingly bad!
The lives of the young trainee lecterns were really grim and the author did a great job of relaying the horror of these young boys lives without using overtly explicit language to do so. When the two boys escaped from that hellish place I was really glad for them.
This book was a really great read. Certainly one to keep in my ebook favourites list. I will definitely look up other books by these authors.
4.0 out of 5 starsSome really good introductions to some fine fantasy authors.
19 September 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Good mix of stories with a little something for everyone.
The Silent Blade - One man's stand against organized crime. Interesting characters, but nothing really surprising plot-wise. It's epic in how much happens in the span of one night. Jack Bauer would be impressed. Good yarn.
The Killings at Rockman's Ford - Wonderful mix of mystery and fantasy magic adventure. The characters really shine in this one, and the plot is both familiar and yet engaging. If this one doesn't send you looking for the author's other works, I'll be surprised.
The Renegade Apprentice - An adventure that manages to be epic while staying confined to a single district of a single city. That's not something that's easy to accomplish in the wider world of fantasy, where everyone expects your characters to go out fighting dragons and armies and demons. Well-written, engaging and sympathetic characters, and this has the distinction of really taking wounds into account when characters are injured.
Dragon Born - This one wasn't bad but felt like the meat had been cut out of the middle. An entire year passes in the span of a paragraph and left me with the impression that a lot more interesting things happened that we are left ignorant to. What plot remains isn't bad but it felt like the two "parts" didn't quite meet in the middle, where that year-long hole is. The dragons are a nice touch in this one, though. If you like dragons, this one will resonate with you.
Cambion - I thought I was going to really enjoy this one, but couldn't get into it. It started off like the movie "Horns," and something about it just failed to hold my attention; it may have just been the first-person narration. Don't take my word for it on this one; YMMV.