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Tower of Bones Kindle Edition
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Edwin is a simple lad raised on a farm and enjoying an inexplicable attractiveness to the ladies. One seminal day his father tricks him into passing through a portal into one of the other worlds called Neveyah. Here a healer, Marya, has been kidnapped by a thoroughly evil high priest, Stefyn D'Mal. Edwin is recruited by a bunch of temple-mages to journey on a mission to rescue her from her captivity in the Tower of Bones.
What follows is well structured and engaging heroic fantasy with detailed magic and world building. Japserson creates a believable system of magic, which we learn through the experiences of Edwin who has an unusual gift in mastering both healing and battle magic. His own redefinition of the manipulation of magical forces is a key plotline in the novel, and a valuable weapon as they challenge the despicable D'Mal.
I had mixed feelings about the characters. I really enjoyed the range of characters presented--Edwin is a likeable and well-rounded hero, with interesting moralising and suitable soul-searching as he comes to accept his part I the bigger picture. In a lot of ways he reminded me of Garion in the Belgariad the backdrop of the quest allowing us greater insight into his own coming of age. In fact there is a lot of Eddings' influence in this work (a good thing in my opinion), both in the quest, the influence of the gods, the coming of age, and the linear style of narrative.
The main bad guy, Baron D'Mal, is a fabulous creation. Handsome, psychopathic, bizarrely polite and organised, he is deliciously insane due to the manifestation of his deity through his mind. His magic allows him powers of suggestion and control, and it is this danger that means the quartet of mages must resort to an intricate plan in order to rescue Marya.
The supporting cast are a curious bunch: Cristoph, the healer, is Edwin's patron and develops a crush on his pupil. His own tragic past is sensitively handled, although I would have welcomed more exploration of it in the book. The battle mage couple, Aeolyn and Friedr, are also Edwin's instructors in swords-craft and battle-magic. It was refreshing having a married couple as characters in a fantasy book, although I think more dramatic tension could have been derived from their relationships. In fact if I had one minor grizzle about the book it was that the four mages seemed to get on far too well, almost all the time. Their dialogue is very courteous and they are so lovely to each other during some extremely stressful moments. I'd have perhaps welcomes a little more frission--maybe a few domestics!
It is a minor quibble and Jasperson handles topics such as rape, abuse, torture and insanity with skill and empathy such that despite the occasional heaviness of the subject matter it never feels too much, or excessive, or dark. That is a sign of real skill, and I look forward to reading the sequel to this book, The Forbidden Road, very soon.
Occasionally, when I read fantasy, I get a sinking feeling that I've been here before and the 'paint-by-numbers' scenarios are looming on the horizon. When this happens I try to read the rest, to give the author a fair chance, but it sometimes becomes a trial. I didn't get that feeling with 'Tower of Bones' and it kept me turning the pages - or rather flicking the Kindle - long into the night. If I'm honest there was one point close to the beginning of the book when I thought it was going to be predictable, but the lively writing style and vivid imagination of the author soon disabused me of that notion!
Someone mentioned David Eddings in the reviews and I too felt this influence in the writing and perhaps Michael Moorcock as well, but it wasn't Eddings or Moorcock; Ms Jasperson has a style all her own and I found delight in her ability to both craft a compelling tale and create emotional involvement for the reader - surely the twin facets of fantasy writing which separate the mundane from the truly enjoyable.
So, if you are a fan of fantasy you should enormously enjoy the world of Neveyah and the travails of Edwin, as I did. Of course you might not, but I can't be held responsible for your lack of taste :) Recommended.
The author wove an interesting story with some very unique elements that I'd not come across before. Her world-building was cleverly done in such a way that she made it believable and her descriptions were so good you could easily picture each area the characters found themselves in, particularly in and around Mal Evol .
Her magic system was well thought out and again used inimitable components that were surprising.
Her characters were designed with exceptional depth; I found the main four protagonists extremely likeable and rooted for them when they faced their trials and tribulations. I loved the way the relationships intertwined and how a novice mage (Edwin) became like a brother to those involved in the quest with him, and ended up instructing his teachers and mentors.
The antagonist was skilfully crafted, both in terms of description and the depths of his depravity. His magic system was different to that of the protagonists which made for an interesting twist. She built the tension well at the appropriate points and I certainly did not see the curve ball coming at the end.
The snippets of back story interlaced well, provided clarity to some of the unfolding events and were by no means overdone or overlong.
On the downside, I did find a few minor errors in the text, but they didn't spoil the pleasure of reading the book.
In conclusion, Tower of Bones was an enjoyable and entertaining read and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Overall I enjoyed the story and think that with a little more editing of dialogue and work it could be really great. I would be more than willing to read other work by the author, especially a sequel or prequel to this one.
The concepts are amazing and the language is that if a deft master. I also love the friendships between the characters, as well as the portrait of a happy marriage between Aolyn and her husband.