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The Soul Sphere: Book 1 The Shattered Sphere Kindle Edition
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The book is pretty well-written and easy to follow. The plot seems kind of static; the events of the plot don't build on each other as they unfold. You could cut the book apart into its separate episodes and rearrange them and, except for a few minor details of personnel, setting, and how much of the sphere has been reassembled, it wouldn't change the story. For this reason, as well, in spite of the difficulties the characters face in their quest, it all seems a little too easy; none of their adventures have any lasting effects on them, except another piece is added to the Soul Sphere. The prose itself is very clear and readable.
The book is also pretty thin on character development; none of the characters experience any noticeable growth or change, and the only one with any real distinguishing characteristics (besides the religiously devout paladin Rowan) is Lucien the goblin, taller than any of the others, green, muscular, and with an entertainingly dry wit. Lucien is far and away my favorite character, though the others are pleasant enough.
But the main point of the story is the world the characters travel through and the cool magical traps and puzzles they have to solve while trying to retrieve the pieces of the Sphere (hidden by the Dark One's minion Solek), and these are very entertaining and well-done, and I found myself eagerly tied to each chapter to find out how they get out of whatever trap or danger they're in. A few of the resolutions are a little deus ex machina, but a lot of them also rely on the characters' skill and cleverness, and they're fun to read.
There isn't a shred of romance in the story, which I personally found disappointing but I know other fantasy fans prefer their epic quests to be romance-free.
The book ends with the company about to embark on the most dangerous search of all. Apparently this was the author's first book, and the issues I mentioned, of thin character development and weak plot escalation, are common ones found in authors' earlier works, and they usually improve with time and practice. I will definitely read the sequel to The shattered Sphere to find out how it all turns out.
Dwarves, Elves, Goblins, Gargoyles, Demons, Dragons.....have I missed anything?
A band of humans and others go on a quest to find segments of a shattered sphere in order to fight the Big Evil, Solek, and save the land of Arkania from his legions of dead creatures.
Pretty standard theme, good style and action.
The only things that kept it from being a four star, for me, was because there was none of the usual conflict between the main characters. Not much, anyways. Get any group of folks together for any reason and there just has to be issues, even if you're attempting to save the Land! I also found myself skimming through some of the extensive travel scenes.
Not a bad read, however--well worth the time.
I thought the author made the journeys the group undertook all over the land seemed realistic and I liked the interaction between the main group and the other supporting members they encountered during all their travels. I also liked the variety of creatures/walking dead/other (e.g. mist) that the author included.
Overall, an enjoyable read.