Valley of Embers: Volume 1 (The Landkist Saga) Paperback – 31 Jul 2016
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Top customer reviews
it is a brilliant story even if you get the avatar feel to it with the elemental control.
a really great set of characters with one leading the rest.
would recommend the book. so guys read it
Valley of Embers boasts an attractive and professional design both inside and out. Appearances really do matter - particularly in self-publishing - and in terms of superficial features Kelliher has really knocked it out of the park. The story itself is slightly less spectacular, but is engaging and original nonetheless. The underlying threat of dark creatures that only attack at night is reminiscent of Peter V. Brett’s Demon Cycle. However, unlike Brett’s post-apocalyptic world, Kelliher’s Dark Kind are a relatively new phenomenon; and there are some townsfolk who remember the times before the monsters showed up.
An exciting premise, for sure. Kelliher makes the most of it by giving us a taste of combat on the walls right at the beginning, introducing us to protagonists Kole and Linn through their skill and familiarity with night-time battle. This straight-to-the-point introduction works well on the whole. But the quickly-escalating battle and the cryptic-but-hurried discussions that follow seemed (to me, at least) kind of stop-start. This may be entirely down to personal preference. In fact, I expect that plenty of readers will be enamoured with such a whirlwind opening. And why not? Kelliher’s action scenes are great (if occasionally confusing), his settings vivid and varied and his characters likeable.
True, the action is well-described. But for me the combatants are a little too blasé about the nature of the enemy: perhaps it’s the coward in me speaking, but I would expect to see a certain amount of terror in the defenders regardless of how accustomed they are to their daily nightmare.
Furthermore, what begins as a fast-paced and intriguing story gradually becomes somewhat uneven, and overall the pacing is a little ‘off’. Key events lack impetus due to too much or too little build-up. One or two major battles outstay their welcome; and more than a few exposition-heavy scenes could probably have been cut without detriment to the story. (In fact, some of the dialogue actually obscures rather than explains: the swapping out of noun phrases – Dark Kind, Eastern Dark, Sage, Sentinels, Night Lord, White Crest – is often confusing, and the characters’ conversations about the Valley’s history tend to involve as much repetition as they do clarification.)
Don’t get me wrong: not once did I feel less than compelled to keep reading. But in many instances I was keen to read on because of my interest in the story rather than the specific scene in front of me. Most of the pacing issues would likely be fixed if exposed to an editor’s stern attention, as would the occasional homophonic typo, odd description or anachronistic simile.
Having read Valley of Embers, Kelliher strikes me as one of the few self-published authors with the potential to rise to the top; and while it’s evident that there is still room for improvement, so too is the fact that we have a talented new fantasy writer on the scene. In spite of my criticism I am very much invested in the story Kelliher has begun. Though not without flaws, Valley of Embers is a solid debut and a promising start to a new series.
For hundreds of years, the flame-wielding Embers have been the last line of defense against the nightmare creatures from the World Apart, but the attacks are getting worse. Kole Reyna guards Last Lake from the terrors of the night, but he fears for his people’s future.
When Kole is wounded by a demon unlike any they have seen before, the Emberfolk believe it is a sign of an ancient enemy returned, a powerful Sage known as the Eastern Dark.
Kole has never trusted in prophecy, but with his people hanging on the precipice, he reluctantly agrees to lead the Valley’s greatest warriors in a last desperate bid for survival. Together, they will risk everything in search of a former ally long-thought dead, and whether Kole trusts him or not, he may be the only one capable of saving them.
This is arguably one of the most well written fantasy novels that I have had the pleasure of reading, I will point out that I was given a free review copy of this and this is my honest review. I was totally blown over by this novel, it is a wonderfully original novel, a tale of exile and survival and one of the most intriguing magic systems in a fantasy novel. One of the greatest strengths of this novel is the continuity, the chapters are well paced as is the writing and allows the reader to stay well within the world, allowing for some clever world building. Speaking of world building, hats of to Steven for not info dumping us and easing the reader in to an intriguing fantasy world that even don't really understand.
Steven has also created some wonderful characters as well, the character of Kole is wonderful and it is thrilling to join on the epic journey that he undertakes. Steven takes a familiar trait withing fantasy i.e a character not so sure of themselves and re writes the rule book with some awesome results. My only negative is that there is not any more of this great story for me to enjoy! Steven! Please write more!
I would urge anyone reading this to pick up a copy of Valley of Embers and immerse yourselves in a new, intriguing fantasy world, you will not regret it!
Without wanting to give away too much of the plot and ruin it for those who have not yet read this, the action starts off very quickly and the plot is constantly changing keeping you on your toes and exhilarated. There are big changes going on in the world beyond the valley. This book also has a great feel of old school fantasy!
There's a lot of magic in Valley of Embers which I love in books and it is fresh and original. The tale is told through different viewpoints which gives the reader a big scope of the story. I like how the characters are not simply divided between good and bad which makes them feel human.
All in all a great debut and I'll be waiting for the next instalment!
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Let me start by saying if I didn't know it I wouldn't believe this is Stevens...Read more
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