I posted my last review in June 2011. Even I have a long list of books to be reviewed I quarreled with myself about my review style. So far I did not follow a certain scheme. I liked to be "form free". But there is a price you have to pay. In my case it was the amount of time I needed for a review. Therefore I started to think about changes. And when I start to think it will take some time. Today I present you the first result of my thoughts. Let me know what you think about it.
As you may know I have a knack for small publishers. They are good places to discover gems, book gems. Publisher Rhemalda Publishing is not unknown to me. Last year I reviewed The Bone Sword (2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0982743720] by Walter Rhein which I liked.
Therefore I did not hesitate when Rhemalda Publishing offered me a free download of epub version of the fantasy debut novel The Light of Epertase (August 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-0765365651] by Douglas R. Brown.
It is the first book in the Legends Reborn trilogy which will be completed with A Kingdom's Fall (August 2012) and The Rise of Cridon (Fall 2013).
Before I dive into The Light of Epertase I would like to show you a proud author with the first copy of his book. Keep in mind that The Light of Epertase is Douglas R. Brown's debut.
And as Douglas wanted I gave it a try and that is what I think about The Light of Epertase.
Book Store Information
In general my decision to read a book is mostly based on the cover and the blurb/synopsis delivered on the back cover. You do not get more information when you are in a book store.
Here we go:
The Light of Epertase (Paperback , 371pp, August 2011)
by Douglas R. Brown.
by Douglas R. Brown.
"Since the dawn of time, the Light of Epertase has determined when the throne was to be passed from elder to heir. For more than a thousand years, the Light's decision had never been challenged-until now. When a ruthless army advances on Epertase, the Light determines that corrupt King Elijah is no longer fit to rule - his daughter, and Princess Alina, is the kingdom's only hope for salvation. When evil men violently abduct her, Epertase's fall appears inevitable. But all is not lost, for Alina has a secret lover lurking in the outer mountains; a long-banished warrior willing to bring down armies and King Elijah himself to save her. His name is Rasi and he prepares for blood. Deadly men plan to sacrifice Alina for the Light of Epertase that lives within her soul. Rasi plans to kill all who try. The kingdom's fate hangs in the balance." [Source]
I expected an epic fantasy story revolving around Princess Alina and Rasi including love, misunderstandings, problems with parents and society embedded in a brutal war. So nothing really new under the sun. In this case it depended all on the execution. The cover shows a warrior with a back that looks like an octopus - an interesting element which intrigued me more than the blurb.
As far as I could identify The Light of Epertase houses several themes. Some of them are more obvious than others.
First and foremost Douglas R. Brown wants to entertain without a wagging finger and a moral sermon. That is done in a clever way which let the reader easily forget the omnipresent story of two lovers not accepted by their surrounding, the never aging story of David versus Goliath, the endless craving for power and the more psychological question of how do human beings react under extraordinary circumstances. The most obvious theme is the title of the series itself: Legends Reborn.
Dear me! That sounds highfalutin.
Let me say it more simple. There is a love story. There is a brutal war. There are people who do everything to gain their power. There are extraordinary beings in extreme situations. That means we face familiar themes which are intertwined in a clever way. One can't exist without the other. All that is subject of The Light of Epertase. I know, I know, I know it is nothing new but what counts is the execution.
Epertase is the continent of a fantasy world which shows familiarities with our world. The towns and hamlets reminded me of medieval Europe. It is good to have a map in order to identify the geological formations which play an important role for battle strategies. Transport wise we have ships and horses. There are no flying objects.
On the weapon side it is getting interesting. The inhabitants of Epertase use swords, bows and and crossbows. The Teks who are the invaders use "oil" driven war machines, cannons and firearms. I would not describe it as a steampunk element. It is like two worlds colliding. This is the ultimate fight between David and Goliath.
The world is inhabited by different peoples with own culture and partial long history. There are symbiont and mutants, shape shifters, beings with supernatural abilities and there is mind talking.
The depiction of the towns and the country side are not overwhelming but efficient which means you get enough information to imagine how the world looks like.
The Light of Epertase tells several stories a once and they are all intertwined.
First we follow Rasi and learn something about him and the country. Then we meet Alina. While they both cross their ways their story is entangled by the danger of an upcoming war and the secret plans of characters who try to gain power or other who try to defend their power. And these plot lines are honeycombed with stories and spotlights of some extraordinary beings. It is simple and complex at the same time. And not to forget the supernatural factor ...
The Light of Epertase is a character driven story. And the fights and battles are the stages for real warroirs. As the story starts with Rasi followed by Alina. The story widens by adding point of views from other characters.
The leading characters are the warrior Rasi and princess Alina. Both are well crafted characters. You can follow their development - especially the impact of events which last only a couple of minutes - plus their inner conflicts and so on. Even if you may not agree with Rasi's action you can understand why he acts as described. At the end of the book you will know why Rasi is one of the Legends Reborn.
Beside Alina and Rasi there are several other characters on both sides where we get information about their abilities their thoughts and their actions.
All these characters are far beyond to be anemic. Of course it would be nice to get some more information about peoples and single persons. But do not forget that The Light of Epertase is the first book in a trilogy.
My favorite character is the mercenary Simcane who is a mountain of a man. He loves his country and he prefers to fight for the country and not for the king. He is a fierce fighter and as people see only his fighting qualities they underestimate his intelligence and his heart.
I like the rhythm and the pace a lot. It is like an ascending sawtooth-shaped line which culminates in a climax which is not the end of the story. The end of the book is a calm down and an indication what to expect in the sequel.
I also like the alternation between thoughtful dialogues, depiction of country and inhabitants, romantic parts, fights and battles. It is done in a way which force the reader to continue.
The description of violence and romance gives the reader emotional showers. The prose fits well and is a little bit rough at times. Once a while you find a bit of humor.
Parts of the dialogues reflect mind talking. And the mix with real dialogues gives several scenes an idiosyncratic touch.
The Light of Epertase delivered much more than I expected. Loveable and fascinating characters, a rich palette of emotions, action from single combat to epic battle, thoughtful dialogues, intoxicating story telling and magic.
The Light of Epertase is one of my favorite fantasy debuts in 2011 !
You want to discover a new and promising voice in the world of fantasy?
Then readThe Light of Epertase.