Sunday, June 10, 2012

Edi's Spotlight: Of Thieves and Elves by A. P. Stephens

Dear Readers,

with some delay I present you today my first review of a supernovella. What is a supernovella? I do not know the answer. You should ask author A.P. Stephens who proclaimed his latest publication Of Thieves and Elves (2012) a supernovella. A.P. Stephens is not unknown to me. I reviewed the first two books in his The White Shadow Saga:

- The Stolen Moon of Londor (my review)
- Shameless Wonders (my review)

A.P. Stephens has been so kind as to send me a signed digital copy of his supernovella Of Thieves and Elves (2012) [Amazon Kindle ASIN: B007SIT5XA] which is set in the world of Londor.

It seems there is a kind of a trend to publish short stories set in the same world as the books in a series. A.P. Stephens is no exception in this case. But he is an exception when it comes to the length of an additional story.
His supernovella is much more than a short story.

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. The world of books is changing which means I also will take in account blurbs and descriptions on GOODREADS and other places.
Here we go:

Of Thieves and Elves (2012) 
[Amazon Kindle ASIN: B007SIT5XA]

"A monumental tragedy has befallen the Clan of Ionor, an ancient brotherhood of elven warriors. Concerned when their Master does not reach his secretive business in a distant kingdom, the Elders learn that Tryn, their beloved leader, has been captured by a cutthroat gang of bandits known as the Steel Claw. Yet this is not the darkest of their tidings. The relic under the clan’s safekeeping, a weapon of terrible power that was forged by the gods themselves, is also missing.
The Ionor dispatch Eonen, a headstrong Elder, and a young and talented apprentice, Tride, to rescue the Master and the relic by infiltrating the bandits’ stronghold—the formidable Fortress of Toppledom. As the two determined elves hasten into the unknown beyond their borders to restore balance and honor to their clan, they encounter the true darkness behind the matter—the very origin of the world’s evil.
Allegiances will be twisted. The fates of many will be set into motion. And the destiny of one will be realized." [Source]

My Expectations

With The Stolen Moon of Londor and Shameless Wonders in mind I expected nothing less than a fast paced action adventure.

The Delivery

To warm up let me start with something formal.
The supernovella consist of 210 pages which are divided into 29 numbered chapters. To be honest I know full novels which have less pages.

This is the story of two elves. There is the young and talented apprentice Tride who is an excellent and strong Fighter. And then we have the Elder Eonen who is an experient user of elven magic.

Against all odds Eonen decided to choose Tride to accompany him on a secret mission. Both have their likes and dislikes. But it is not difficult for the reader to connect to these two characters. Even you may not agree with several decisions and actions taken, you always understand the reason behind it. Eonen and Tride have a kind of father and son relationship.

Beside Eonen and Tride there are more characters, each with an own reason and the pursue of their goals is like colliding boulders in an avalanche. The good thing is that it takes a while to identify the good and the bad guys and some of them remain gray.

At first sight has delivered a fast paced action adventure which takes you for a ride like leave in a storm. But the story delivers much more. There is the emotional relationship between Eonen and Tride which culminates in the essential question of trust and faith. Other characters try to remain in power or to come into power. In turn there are people who fight for their freedom or seek for revelation or salvation.

Let me come back to the action. Do not expect epic battles. With Of Thieves and Elves A.P. Stephens delivers one to one fights and group fights. His fight depictions are gripping. intense and partial bloody.
It happened to me that I ducked my head several times in order to escape a mortal sword blow.

For readers of  The Stolen Moon of Londor and/or Shameless Wonders the world is familiar. If you do not know one of these books then you get enough information to imagine the lands of Londor.

My expectations have been fulfilled to the point.

So if you look for a fantasy story with interesting characters (good, bad, gray) each with own motives, a story full of action interspersed with thoughtful parts and story with twist and turns then the supernovella Of Thieves and Elves is definitely a book for you.

And for The White Shadow Saga readers it is a most welcomed intermezzo before the final book of the series and another satisfying view into the lands of Londor.

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