A Fantasy Book Review
Genre: Epic FantasyPublisher's Blurb:
Publisher: Five Star (ME) (June 17, 2009)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Read an Excerpt (PDF)
Calen Gollnet lives in a tumultuous world. Surrounded by hostile forces bent on its destruction, his country Klune has been free for ten years, having thrown off the yoke of oppression thanks to a small group of heroes known as the Covenant; but the cost of this freedom was great, and the nation's liberty is becoming tenuous. The Covenant is broken, and Klune is now kept safe only because of a treaty struck between the human king and a race of honorable but xenophobic mercenaries known as arlics who have patrolled Klune's borders for the past decade. But the treaty is due to expire, and both the arlics and humans are restless, each claiming that they have been weakened by their dependence on the other.
As negotiations between the two sides break down and dark armies gather while politics bogs down the governors of city and country, Calen flees from the army attacking his home city, unaware that there is more to fear than mortal warriors; the appearance of the horrifying Soul Wall and other omens point to the fulfillment of the Prophecy of Return, in which it is said that three signs will signal the return of a great evil. The first two signs have come to pass, but the prophecy is obscure on its final prediction: the tide of the conflict may be changed by the third sign, but no one knows what that sign is, or whom it will favor.
The Third Sign is pretty typical epic fare. You have a band of diverse characters off to save the world from destruction or die trying. You have a prophecy driving events, an obvious evil force bent on world domination with an obscure greater evil force waiting in the wings. In other words, this is exactly the type of book that I enjoy.
This is the perfect book for those days where you are not in the mood for gritty or deeply emotional but just want a good story. The pace is even, and the world building is interesting without being overly complicated. The characters engineer just enough sympathy to make you care what happens to them, without becoming emotionally involved. Even the line between "good" and "evil" is fairly clear and although there are times when you question which side who is on. This is the type of book that while you might find that you can easily put it down and go to bed, you really do not want to.
There are things that give this book an unique flavor. The Arlics are an interesting race with alot of possibility. There is plenty of internal conflict to balance out the external conflict. I personally like internal conflict; it gives the characters more depth. Actually, balance is the watchword for this story. All of the elements that drive this tale are so well balanced it is amazing. You have just the right dose of everything to keep the story moving right along, without any aspect overwhelming another. I honestly cannot bring to mind another book that accomplishes this so well. Reading this book for me was like spending time with a good friend, comfortable but interesting. In addition, once you are done, you consider the time well spent.
Good, traditional epic adventure, something that you do not find much of these days with authors trying to push outside of the genre box. Not that unusual and different is a bad thing but sometimes I just want to read good old-fashioned epic fantasy and this book fits that bill beautifully. Engaging, easy to get into and simply a good read. I look forward to the remainder of the series.
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