A Fantasy Series Book Review
Genre: Fantasy Series, Sword and Sorcery, Hero, Adult
At the height of the Midsummer festivals a stranger stumbles into the capital city of Kingsholm. Looking like exactly what he is, a travel weary farmer, he is largely ignored by the crowds around him, but little does every one know the importance he will soon be to the very safety of their kingdom. Devlin Stonehand has come to be the Chosen One, called to serve by the Gods, bound by a geas that forces him to protect the kingdom from danger, even at the cost of his own life. But Devlin Stonehand is far from your typical hero. His plan is to take the 10 gold offered for the position and then to be killed, like all the recently Chosen before him. The gold is to be sent back to his former home to provide for his brother's family, his death is to lay to rest the inner demons that haunt his every waking...and sleeping...hour. Not at all what you might expect from someone the Gods have called to serve.
Publisher: Spectra (April 30, 2002)
Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
Let me start off by saying, I love this book. As a matter of fact, this seems to be the type of book you either love or hate and I fall into the former category. Devlin is an enigma. On the one hand he has a sense of honor that is unrivaled only by his sense of independence. This man is raised to be self sufficient and unlike those who he finds himself championing, he can not conceive of asking for anyone to do anything he isn't willing to do himself. On the other hand, this is a man who suffers and suffers greatly from the loss of everything he has ever loved. His sense of honor makes him come up with a plan to take care of those who he left behind, and an equally honorable way to end the life he no longer feels is worth living.
Then we have Stephen, Devlin's unasked for companion. Stephen is a wannabe bard whose head is full of romantic notions as to things like battles, heroes and champions. Devlin comes as a complete surprise and disappointment, and yet Stephen is determined to attach himself to Devlin's side in hopes he will find a source for the ballad he hopes to write which will rocket him to bard stardom. Stephen is in for a surprise or three which will shock, amaze and make him rethink all of his views on life.
There is plenty of political intrigue, my second love behind seriously flawed heroes. The King is weak and inefficient, ruled by a council which is full of lords and ladies with their own agendas, none of which include letting this foreign hero exert any influence over the king they currently control. While the king sits on his throne, deathly afraid to make any kind of decision about anything because it might prove to be wrong, his kingdom is falling down around his royal ears, and nobody but the lords and ladies of the outlying areas, those who have suffered the most, and the royal guard seem to care. Devlin has even less reason to care then the king and his council, he hails from a country which was "annexed" by the Kingdom of Jorsk, (Devlin's homeland of Duncaer differs on that term, rightfully calling themselves conquered) and yet here he is, appointed champion of his hated enemies. Fun stuff!
I think that one of the things that makes me such a fan of this book is the definite but steady development of the characters. Not a single character here (except maybe the bad guys) fails to grow and by the end of this story not one of them is exactly the same person they started out being. There isn't alot of world building, another thing that while I admire it when its original, I can generally do without. I'm much more intrigued by characters and specifically character development, and I wasn't disappointed here.
As far as content, well there are several schools of thought on what makes a book YA verses adult. By one definition, Devlin is a middle aged man dealing with middle aged issues which makes this a book not targeted for a YA audience. I'll err on that side of the argument but as far as the other side of the argument, violence, sex and language, there is nothing here that keeps this from being YA appropriate. There is no sex, no romance, battles against both human and magical beings but the detail is not graphic and if there was any language I don't recall noticing it.
I enjoyed this book immensely. It was a fast read, full of great characters and it has the potential to become much more then what was covered in book one. I'm off to see if those potentials are realized. See you all then!
Other books in the series
Librarything Rating 3.70/5
Amazon Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
(33 customer reviews)
What Should I Read Next?
|Kindle: Devlin's Luck: Book I of The Sword of Change|
Buy Book: B&N - Powells
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