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The Shadow at the Gate (The Tormay Trilogy Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Action in book 1 was particularly lacking and in book 2 somewhat better.
In book one Jute opens the box, and we know that he is the master of wind. It takes up to 76% of book 2 for him to be told this, because everyone who is about to tell him this gets interupted, this reason gets a bit stale.
By this stage in the book we would expect him to have some idea of his powers, but instead it is like he is a level 0 character who has not learnt a thing.
He is travelling with a would be mage, a ranger/thief of sorts and a hawk, yet they are not teaching him anything in fact the story revolves more around "Ronan" than about Jute, the main hero of the book.
I found this a bit disappointing because the language is exceptional, the sentence structure, descriptions etc, very well written, but the plot development is confused and still being expanded without really getting anywhere, much like Robert Jordan became.
I did find myself warming up to 'The Knife' or Ronan. In the first book he was more of a side-character, but Christopher really used this book to explore his character a bit more. And may I say, if you like surprises READ THIS BOOK. I was seriously stunned after I found out who he was. Christopher Bunn used this book to give the reader some more time to get to know the other characters but especially ... to learn about Tormay and its history.
Every good (!) fantasy book should have a background. It doesn't all have to be in the book, but there has to be at least a reference to other countries, cities, important people from the past, to give it the richness that make good fantasy books, like 'The Lord of the Rings' outstanding. Tormay has such a background. You didn't hear as much about it in the first book, but this book takes a lot more time to expand. For example, we visit Severus' wizard school and we learn more about the Anbeorum. Christoper Bunn really created an original story and with his fluent and imaginative writing style he is sure to captivate anyone who likes a good story.
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I found the mechanism of magic, and how it works, starts to be better explained in this volume, so that we (at the same time as Jute) begin to understand it. The world that is described is one that you both would love to live in and avoid completely for your own safety.
Things go wrong, even with the best of planning or the strongest of power. Chaos unravels order, in fits and starts. Jute begins to come into his own, and the Knife becomes a surprise.
I cannot reccomend this series enough for a different kind of fantasy I think you'll enjoy reading.
The story took some time to pick up momentum, but I believe that is partly because I forgot quite a few details about the boy Jute, Severan the scholar, Levoreth and Ronan the Knife. But the story gathers steam and reaches its climax at a showdown during a ball where all the important lords and ladies gather, and another climax during a tense escape by some central characters from the city.
The writing is mostly clean and crisp and even flowing poetically at a few spots. The plot thickens and there is plenty of tension. The worldbuilding gets more intricate and fantastic, in the most positive sense of the word. Importantly, some characters show depth, especially Jute, Levoreth and and Ronan, although their development is a bit lacking, in my view. Also, without spoiling too much, I am happy that Christopher Bunn is not afraid to kill his darlings.
The Shadow at the Gate is not perfect, unfortunately. The pacing is good for two-third of the novel, but lags at places, especially towards the end. The antagonists seem quite one-dimensional, which is a pity. Although most of the magic is very well thought out and steeped in mythology, it at one point lapses into cliches like people turned into mice and annoying ghosts.
Overall, after reading two-third of the Tormay Trilogy, I am looking forward to read the final installment, and won't wait as long as between the first and second book. If you're looking for an affordable indie trilogy of high fantasy, the Tormay Trilogy is a good find.(less)
This is the story (I should actually say that 'these are the stories', for there are many engaging characters and a finely detailed storyline for each one) of a young thief named Jute who is drafted into committing a burglary. After an attempt to kill him fails, he begins an adventure that had me spellbound throughout the entire book.
Whether or not you are a fantasy/science fiction fan, if you love excellent writing, great characters and engaging, well-crafted plots, these are the books for you. I'd give them 6 stars if I could. If you are like me, you will want to start the next book in the series straight away. I just bought the third book and can't wait to start devouring it.
I was disappointed in some of the characters that were killed off; particularly Nio who was so interesting. I guess I was hoping for some sort of redemption, but alas, it was not to be.
This is a good book for teens and young adults, but not younger than 13, I would say. There's no sex or profanity, but there's a lot of killing in this installment, and some of it is violent, like when Smede gets eaten alive by cats. It's not really a complaint, just an observation.
That being said, I love this series so far and I am anxious to continue the next installment.