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Huw the Bard Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
It has been some time since I read a book written in omniscient viewpoint, and I found it a little unsettling at first to jump between characters. However, as most of the story is from Huw’s point of view, I soon settled into the narrative. Jasperson has a masterful touch with characterisation and truly awesome world building skills, plus a way of imparting these in the natural course of the tale. This book is chock full of excellent writing, witty dialogue and great touches of humour, while the horrors, violence, rape and murder are equally well depicted without descending into gratuitous sensationalism.
Personally I would have liked a more urgent imperative to drive the plot – a solid goal to be gained in addition to the need for Huw to flee his homeland. The first half of the book was a little episodic, and I had one ‘huh?’ moment when, after many chapters of mourning his murdered father with no mention of another parent, Huw suddenly thinks about visiting his mother. If the foreshadowing was there, I’m afraid I missed it.
I also found that, after several adventures when dangers were outlined ahead of time, but never materialised, I lost the belief that Huw was in any real danger, although this did change later in the book.
So would I recommend it?Read more ›
It follows the journey of Huw Olwyn, a bard fleeing the massacre of his fellows/family, as he escapes northward admits political upheavals. The journey acts as a framework on which Jasperson fleshes out the history of Huw's world, and matures his character.
The narrative is very cleverly done. I found it's style quite unique, almost as if the prose was part of a ballad that Huw was recounting. The humour is well done, and balances well with some fairly intense scenes of violence and sexual content. The fact these aspects are handled in a very sensitive and empathic way are a testament to Jasperson's skill as a writer.
Inevitably the appearance of the various key characters in The Last Good Knight pepper the book, and help drive Huw's journey north. The encounters with monsters and creatures in the latter part of the book contrasts with the threats of evil nobles and their cronies in the earlier sections- and this progress in the story brought to mind elements of role playing games, and authors such as Jack Vance and Moorcock. A fitting pedigree for this excellent book to join.
The descriptions of Huw's world and the characterisation of Huw are two of the most striking aspects of this work. Ms. Jasperson's world feels like a combination of mediaeval Wales and a Tolkienesque Middle Earth, populated by fabled beasts like the firedrake and roving bands of mercenaries, some good and some very bad. Huw, at first a confused and frightened boy, gradually becomes a man, as he is forced to fight his way to freedom.
Everyone, it seems, is out to get Huw, simply for the fact that he is the last of the Bards and he narrowly escapes capture by a combination of luck and wiliness. He's a good looking boy, so a variety of women will not only give him an an occasional tumble in the hay, but will also help him along his way. Men, too, find him likeable - in more ways than one - and aid his attempted escape from the clutches of Crow mercenaries sent to find and destroy him. Will he get to the North and safety, or will he be killed as the forces of evil close in?
Ms. Jasperson manages to convey the drama of Huw's flight and his confrontation with several deadly perils, without hyperbole and in a laid back, accomplished prose style that creeps up on the reader in a quite enjoyable fashion. Huw and his world feel very real and that is no mean achievement in fantasy writing, some of which is hugely overblown.
All in all this is a rollicking fantasy and a terrific example of the genre. Five stars.
The action at the start of the book sets up everything that is to follow. We see Huw’s pain, and grieve with him, at the loss of the rest of the Bard’s Guild – including his own father, the Guild Master. The pain is very real, and while I was proofreading this book, I occasionally had tears streaming down my face. We feel his anger when he learns it wasn’t an accident, and his terror of being discovered as he tries to escape. It’s a 200-league walk, as the crow flies, to the one place he might have a friend, though the path Huw must take is anything but straight and he must face many hardships along the way.
Throughout his journey, we watch Huw grow from a young, vain man used to being the center of attention, into a courageous man who finds he is capable of far more than he ever believed possible. The way Mrs. Jasperson does this is so life-like, you often expect him to leap off the page. But her amazing characterisation isn’t limited to the main protagonist, the vast array of supporting cast have all received the same attention to detail; regardless of how much time the reader spends with them, you immediately get a sense of who they are.
Although this sounds like a ‘journey of self-discovery’, it is far more than that. There is enough adventure spread throughout to satisfy all but the most bloodthirsty of readers, while not being too gory for those that aren’t partial to violence.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An epic journey sees our hero thrust into battles with strange creatures and the bed of sensuous lovers. An epic journey with a strong lead character. Read morePublished on 31 Jan. 2015 by Ilovebooks
This book is like a good film, you can spend so long finding so-so stories that when you do find a really good one, you want to rave about it. I loved this book. Read morePublished on 26 May 2014 by Amazon Customer
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