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The Verkreath Horror (Deathsworn Arc Book 2) Kindle Edition
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The characters in this fantasy tale are what make it an excellent read, that and the philosophical debate about 'the truth' (I don't give spoilers).
Carrying on from book one, the group of travellers battle various enemies as they continue their quest, but it is the character development and relationships that are most interesting...although Vashni is my favourite because of who she is, her talents, her bravery and her determination not to be what others expect.
There are secrets revealed and, I expect, more to come as the adventure continues, however, it will be fascinating to see the plot development and how the questions are answered.
Well-written and entertaining.
This book surprised me in a lot of ways. Usually by the time I get to the second book in a series, I feel like I pretty much have the motives and personalities of the characters figured out. Not so much in this series. One of the things that impressed me the most about this book is the way the characters have grown since the first in the series. Martyn Stanley takes his world, his characters and his story seriously enough to care that they learn as they go, grow into the heroes you want them to be and become worthy of continuing on with another book.
The Verkreath Horror also surprised me because of the sheer intelligence in his battle scenes. Whereas many fantasy books annoy me because the battle scenes are either too short, too long or everyone ends up running and screaming or standing around confused when they would logically have been chopped to bits in a real battle, this author doesn't allow his characters that luxury. The descriptions are incredibly good and keep you holding your breath as you turn pages, hoping your favourites make it out alive.
Whilst this is a darker book than the first, I also saw a line of hope and redemption in this story. I'm still trying to figure out how he managed to make a book so conflicting with itself, and yet pull it off so smoothly.
My only complaint:
I miss the goofiness between two of the characters. I won't add a spoiler here by saying which two, but one of the reasons I adored the first book so much was the banter and awkwardness between these two. It wasn't present in this story and that made me a little sad.
Finally, the ending was not what I expected. Generally these books end on some massive cliffhanger, where everyone is in peril. These characters actually seem to be relatively squared away for the moment. I had to analyse this for a bit before writing this review. I believe this is the best way this book could have ended. The author now has me wondering not if, but when the danger will come. I'd rather wait for the next book thinking characters I have grown to love are safe for the moment. It makes it seem more real. How long can a terrifying beast stay suspended in mid-air whilst we wait for the author to release a book? Nope. This ending was genius.
If you love fantasy books and you don't love reading the same thing that has already been done a million times before, this is a great series to go with. Even as someone who has spent much of their life reading fantasy novels from many authors, I still see originality in these books. Check them out, you won't be sorry you did.
Hurry up and write me another book, Mr. Stanley. I am not altogether patient.
The Verkreath Horror is even better than the first book of the series. The author's writing is confident, descriptive and more visceral, especially in battle but also in all sensory aspects of the different scenes. The Verkreath are a challenging addition, lots of fantastical and frankly horrific elements come with them, and it's all handled well and ups the tension intensely. I admire the way the author stayed true to each character, really allowing each type of being to be shown with their particular gifts as unique and important, like when Votrex rises to leadership with his dwarfian expertise of the underground tunnels.The warrens are claustrophobic and the author works the tension here very skillfully. As a reader I'm confronted with the question: would I have what it takes to triumph over underground savages to complete my quest? All of the details, plot developments and descriptions are fascinating and make Arc 2 a great read.
More than that, what I also really like is the truthseeking aspect of the story. There is a subtext about how important it is to keep an open mind, how we might shrink our minds to survive stress but that our strength, like the spells herein, come from openness and focus, and our peril comes from drawing within, and our weakness is revealed in a delusion of not appreciating this one life. Great stuff to think about, and another reason the Deathsworn series is an epic fantasy for our times. There's more to come...the quest keeps growing in scope and in need for wrongs to be avenged, so we have a lot to look forward to.
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