Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
Epic Fantasy at its finest.
on 22 April 2017
I tend to be generous in rating books. As another reviewer put it, if we expected every book we read to be a good as Tolkien, we would left with very little to read. But every once in awhile you find an author who really could compare favourably to Tolkien and it simply feels as a five star rating is not enough. This is one of those books. I read at least two books a week and have often gone years without reading anything that even approaches this in quality.
This is a difficult book to describe. It isn't quite like any other book I have ever read, and I have read quite a few. The books it comes closest to in my opinion are Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and the eddas. It is not based on the Norse myths but has undoubtedly been influenced by them. The main characters immediately made me think of Loki and Thor, but the resemblance is only in character. The story itself is completely original.
It begins with a minor prince, far removed from the crown, and more importantly, the crown jewels and coffers. Prince Jalan spends his time gambling, drinking and chasing women.. or running from their enraged fathers, brothers or husbands. His one claim to fame is a bit of accidental heroism in a minor war. His only virtue is honesty, unless lying better suits his needs. But he is at least honest with himself. He is a coward, lazy and selfish. So when he sees a chance to save himself from the wages of his own inequities by sacrificing an innocent man, he takes it.
Snorri is very thing Hal is not. He is brave, noble and virtuous. Though he wields an axe rather than a hammer, Snorri has all the same qualities as Thor, he is a defender by nature and will do anything to find and defend those he loves.
But things don't go quite to plan for Jal. Instead of Snorrii getting him out of trouble he gets him into a lot more. He soon finds himself bound by a deadly curse to the very same man he tried to harm. One of them is possessed by a spirit of light and the other by a spirit of darkness. The twist is, Jal is possessed by light and Snorri by darkness. Everything about them right down to their very nature will be tried on an epic quest. For Snorri, it is a rescue mission as he desperately tries to save those he holds most dear. Jal wants to save his most dearly beloved as well - himself.
I realise I have not done justice to this book. Reading the description,it hardly sounds like one of the best books you will ever read. I have tread carefully, to avoid any spoilers, but the magic in this book is not so much in the quest, but in the incredible development of the characters, the wit and humour as well as the horror. There is action, adventure and the fellowship of the road but there is much more than that. The author weaves his own magic with the words of his story and it is a magic that defies description. My apologies if this review seems rushed. It is. I just can't wait to delve into book two 'The Liars Key'.