Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Edi's Spotlight: Spirit of Fire by Stephen Zimmer

Dear Readers,
a warm welcome to you and of course 
to author Stephen Zimmer.

Today is a special day for me and for Edi's Book Lighthouse because
today this blog is the center, the navel of the



And what will you get today?
MY REVIEW OF
 Spirit of Fire 
(2012) [Kindle edition, ASIN: B0087P0EOW

Introduction

It is no secret that I have a special relationship to Stephen Zimmer. I like his Fires in Eden fantasy series a lot. But this relationship does not have any impact on my reviews. I even bought a copy of Spirit of Fire for this review (and of course for my reading pleasure).

These are the landmarks of the Fires in Eden series in chronological order:

Book One
Crown of Vengeance (2009) [ISBN-13: 978-0983108627] my review.
Book Two
Dream of Legends (2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0983108627] my review

Short Stories
- Into Glory Ride (December, 2011) [Kindle edition, ASIN: B006KYX44O] by Stephen Zimmer (Chronicles of Ave Series) my review 
- Land of Shadow (December, 2011) [Kindle edition, ASIN: B006KZ143G]  by Stephen Zimmer (Chronicles of Ave Series) my review
- Lion Heart (December, 2011) [Kindle edition, ASIN: B006KZ1TI6]  by Stephen Zimmer (Chronicles of Ave Series) my review

Book Three
Spirit of Fire (May 2012) [Kindle edition, ASIN: B0087P0EOW]
"A maelstrom of war engulfs lands resisting the designs of the Unifier to bring about a new order, of a kind that has never existed within Ave. Battered by a massive invasion force from Gallea, the tribal people of the Five Realms and their Midragardan allies are being driven eastward, towards the sea, while the Saxan lines are wearing down ever thinner on the Plains of Athelney.
Time is running out quickly, as an ancient creature of legend soars through the skies with a brave young Saxan. They carry the desperate hopes of two realms sorely beset by a voracious enemy. Diabolic entities conduct a great hunt, as a malignant darkness deepens across all of Ave. Exiles from another world must gain refuge, or find themselves ensnared by the long reach of the Unifier. The very nature of creation itself stands in the balance." [Source]

My Expectations

I read all previously published books and stort stories. I expected nothing more then the excellent sequel of the great epic fantasy series Fires in Eden.

The Delivery
The Fires in Eden series is far beyond to be an example for short novels. After Crown of Vengeance with 612 pages and Dream of Legends with 746 pages, Spirit of Fire delivers 772 pages. I leave it to you to imagine if it makes sense to read Spirit of Fire without knowing the previous books.
As in the previous books Spirit of Fire is divided in sections - in sum seven - and each section is divided in several named chapters. Each chapter is told from a character's point of view.
But there are obvious improvements. For the first time readers get a map and an appedix which delivers information about characters, races and places. The number of character point of views has been reduced. That gives the story a more smooth flow and to follow a character on more than three consecutive pages increase the intensity of the story.

That leads me directly to my main and only critisism.
To be honest there have been passages I skipped. Imagine a dinner. What do you want to know about this dinner? First of all there is always the question which information are important for the progress of the story. The second question is what kind of atmosphere do I want to create.
The following example has not been taken from the book itself. I created it on my own in order to demonstrate what I mean:
Imagine a royal dinner. You get the description of the room which includes the color of the tapestry, the motives, the ornaments on the cutlery including information about the history of the cutlery, the temperature of the plates and so on. It takes pages until the story continues. Instead of two pages you get six. I'm sure there are people who like that. I do not belong to this group of people. And to be honest passages like the described one slow down the story. Stephen Zimmer is an author from the bottom of his heart with great attention to detailed descriptions. Partially it looks like he is obsessed by details. I mean obsessed in a very postive way to deliver an all-embracing view of the world he created for his readers.
In the end it is the author who decide what to offer his readers.
When I read a book I want to enjoy the whole book and dropping passages is not the way I read. Nevertheless I will definitely read the next books in the Fires in Eden series.

Even it took some space to explain my criticism there is much more to say about Spirit of Fire.
Let me return to the characters. features  familiar characters like Janus, Dragol, the Wanderer, Gunther, the Unifier and more. We learn more about these characters.
I must confess I loved every appearance of the Unifier, this janus face antagonist, this wolf in sheep's clothing. Every book reveals more of his plans. Beside that there is a strong development of some characters, especially Dragol. Compare the Dragol from the beginning with the Dragol from end of Spirit of Fire.
Not unexpected was the introduction of new characters like the young boy Thomas and the female archer (and more) Brynhild. We will definitely meet them again in book four. And with Spirit of Fire, Stephen Zimmer gives the reader a wider scope of the impact of war on the average Ave inhabitant. The  sudden destruction of a peaceful living , of daily routine, love and happiness  gives you goose flesh and increase your sympathy for people like you and me.

Action? Yes, there is action, dramatically, full of adrenaline. The otherwordler, their allies and the inhabitants have to face new and impressive creatures like the Uktena (70 foot serpent) or the powers of the Aetherworld ....

Spirit of Fire is the profound sequel of the series. A story which seems to be linear offers unexpected twists and turns which keep the pendulum between desperation and hope moving.

Spirit of Fire
- delivers new characters and character development of the familiar characters,
- let you discover of new regions of Ave,
- let you face more terrible creatures,
- let you look through a spy hole into the Unifier's thoughts and plans,
- let take you emotionally part in the desperate wish of survival of the Ave inhabitants,
- Reveals new hints regarding The Prophecy.

Spirit of Fire is the expected, well executed (apart from my criticism) and highly entertaining, strong advancing adventure which makes it nearly unbearable to wait months for book four.  

After Crown of Vengeance and Dream of Legends , Stephen Zimmer delivers with Spirit of Fire  the next highlight in the Fires in Eden series.
This character driven epic fantasy adventure in a fascinating but still not fully known world where beings follow devious plans  and face much more resistance than ever expected, delivers hours of entertainment.


Finally I have to reveal something really new. I deciphered the secret message hidden in the title

Spirit of Fire




and



S o F



stands for




Stephen offers Fantasy


For more information about the publisher, the author and his books then please visit following websites:
www.seventhstarpress.com, www.stephenzimmer.com, www.firesineden.com, www.risingdawnsaga.com

As any author Stephen Zimmer is keen to read comments and reviews of his book. So feel free to comment here or to contact the author by MAIL: stephen at stephenzimmer dot com, or at FACEBOOK.

And as any blogger I like to read comments ......

ENJOY READING

6 comments:

sgzimmer said...

Thank you for reviewing Spirit of Fire, Edi! I confess I see things so vividly in my head that I do err on the side of detail, but hope that it wasn't too much of an impediment to your enjoyment of the story itself. :)

ediFanoB said...

Hi Stephen,

I hope my review expressed my love for the Fires in Eden series.
I wanted to be honest and therefore I explained what I did not like.
I tought I expressed my criticism ina kind why plus a possible motive why you do that.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The man behind the book! I have the first one on my iPad and hope to get to it soon.

sgzimmer said...

hi Edi, I ALWAYS welcome constructive criticism so I know what readers experience, and your insights are very much appreciated! :)

Alex: haha! Yes, I take responsibility for the book, LOL. Hope you enjoy Crown of Vengeance! :) The first book in my other series, The Exodus Gate, is free today on Amazon all day, by the way. Snag that one too while it is free! :)

ediFanoB said...

Alex,
if you want more information about the man behind the books, I recommend the videos he presented during his awesome blog tour.

ediFanoB said...

Hi Stephen,

I just wanted to be sure that I used the right words.
Now I'm convinced you understood what I tried to say.
Nevertheless I know a lot of people who do not like the extensive landscape descriptions within The Lord of the Rings.
In the end it is a question of taste.

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