By Sean Russell
Treachery and deceit run rampant throughout a devastated land, spawning dark alliances in the terrible war ignited by the enmity of two families. But unbeknownst to all, there are others who truly control the beleaguered kingdom's destiny—combatants emerging from eons of restless sleep to renew the bloody terror of a battle older than time.*Blurb Source: HarperCollins*
| ISBN-10: 0380793229
| ISBN-13: 9780380793228
| Publisher: HarperTorch (May 27, 2003)
| Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
| Cover Artist: Stephen Hickman
| Source: Kindle-Personal Copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 5 Stars
The Story. One word sums up this story. Spooky. This yarn is full of spirits, dark misty places, ancient immortals, and hidden worlds. This tale also abounds with ghosts, sorcerers, and reluctant heroes. Want more? Well how about mysteries and mystics, love and betrayal, loyalty and deceit while the line between good and evil is as blurred as the landscape. Layer upon layer upon layer of reading goodness.
The Good. This tale reminds me why I fell in love with fantasy to begin with. It literally has almost everything I love with the exception of dragons. Sigh. Not a dragon in sight but I will get over that, eventually. Unfortunately, fact of the matter is, almost anything I gush over here will be a spoiler. Which of course is making it really hard to gush with any effectiveness. I will just have to bank on my reputation as an honest reviewer when I tell you this ebook was just plain fun to read.
The Middling. There are some books that make you think. There are some that make you care deeply about the characters. There are others that explore deep philosophical issues. And then there are books that are just plain fun. This book and series to date, fit into the latter category.
The characters are interesting but not really endearing. For one thing there are too many of them. I would be hard pressed to call any of them main characters. Instead there are groups of characters. Different groups with differing goals; some which intersect, and some that are totally opposite. The end result is a collection of individual stories that all contribute to the larger story. Sometimes the divergent groups merge, sometimes individual members of one group switch to another group but regardless, the focus changes from group to group instead of character to character. May sound complicated but it really isn't. Just as some authors develop characters, Sean Russell instead develops entire groups.
The Bad. Bad is going to depend on individual reader's tastes and what they are looking for in a book. There is not alot of unique worldbuilding. This is a fairly typical medieval setting with the exception of the hidden portion of the world which is, for lack of a better term, kinda spooky. There is nothing special about the magic system either. Now for me, this was all part of the charm. I was comfortable in this world. I could immerse myself in the actual story with all of its mystery and mysticism without the distraction of complicated worldbuilding or complicated characters. I can easily envision this as the type of story told around a campfire with wide eyed children and equally wide eyed adults all leaning toward the storyteller so they can be sure to catch every word. If you don't enjoy a tale that is part ghost story, part mythology and part fairytale then you likely will not enjoy this series. If you do, or if it is just something that suits your present mood, then you'll like this tale.
Speaking of wide eyed children, the publisher has this listed as 18 and up. For once I totally disagree. If there was anything here that exceeded PG13 then I missed it. One character has a tendency to swim without her clothes on and there is one non graphic love scene but that is as racy as it gets. I've seen worse on a James Bond movie.
The Conclusion. A good middle book. Plenty of danger, suspense, magic, and adventure. There is a cliffhanger ending but since all three books are readily available in ebook form, the cliffhanger did not matter. I plan to jump right into book three. I will add one more warning though. These are not available in book form directly from places like Amazon or BAM. They are not impossible to get but if you do not use an ereader you will have to explore your options. The library may have them, or you can get them from third party sellers. Shame really. The formatting being poor like it is, I would definitely like to have the books instead.
Now if you'll excuse me, book three is calling my name. Like any good story I can not wait to see how it all ends. I have no idea where this tale is going and that tickles me pink. I hate it when I figure out the ending before the series is done. No worries here. I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen next but I am really looking forward to finding out. This edition, along with the first, is getting the coveted 5 star rating which means it is going on my reread list for those times when I just wanna curl up with a good story.
Amazon Rating 3.7 out of 5 stars
(23 Customer Reviews)
What Should I Read Next?
|Kindle: The Isle of Battle (Swans' War)
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Epic Fantasy Book Review of The Isle of Battle (Swan's War: Book 2 by Sean Russell - Reviewed by Mulluane - on August 26 2013 - Rating: