Rating: I LOVED IT
Series: Seven Forges #1
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Epic, Fantasy
Published by: Watkins Media Limited
Publication Date: October 15th 2013
Author Website • Goodreads
Barnes&Noble • iBooks • IndieBound • Kobo •
Book Blurb: Captain Merros Dulver is the first in many lifetimes to find a path beyond the great mountains known as the Seven Forges and encounter, at last, the half-forgotten race who live there. And it would appear that they were expecting him. As he returns home, bringing an entourage of strangers with him, he starts to wonder whether his discovery has been such a good thing. For the gods of this lost race are the gods of war, and their memories of that far-off cataclysm have not faded.The people of Fellein have live with legends for many centuries. To their far north, the Blasted Lands, a legacy of an ancient time of cataclysm, are vast, desolate and impassable, but that doesn’t stop the occasional expedition into their fringes in search of any trace of the ancients who had once lived there... and oft-rumored riches.
And now Morello, the damned cook of all people, had alerted him to the howling screams of the PraMoresh. He wasn’t upset with the cook for noticing; quite to the contrary, he was very grateful. He was also extremely annoyed that neither he nor any of the twenty soldiers with him had heard them first.
Merros had no desire to be dinner. To that end he called for his soldiers to get their asses in gear.
He was very grateful for the ability to sound like he wasn’t ready to piss himself as he took careful aim and fired.
Really, it was hard to say which was more exquisite, the torture of shattered hands or a broken heart. Poets and physicians each have their own answers.
For me, Merros was hands down my favorite character. What I quoted above was in his PoV within the first chapter, except for the very last one. It was his voice that kept me glued to this book.
The story is an interesting one set in interesting lands. Merros, an ex-soldier turned mercenary, is hired by a wizard and advisor to the king to go into the Blasted Lands, which are barren ice lands, and create a map of the lands. Other expeditions in the past never faired well, so there’s already a sense of doom. Anyway, in these lands Merros comes across a race of people. These people want to travel to his homeland and start relations. Merros escorts them back.
Now, obviously that’s really, really dumbed down. There’s a few other stories going on, but they kinda all tie into these people coming to Merros’s home. But what makes the story engaging is the fact you’re never sure if you can trust these people. You’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Now, these new people are very interesting; solving disputes through violence, honor through fighting abilities, and so on. The story spends a lot of time exploring the differences between Merros and these new people. We get to hop into the minds of a few of these Blasted Land natives as the PoV wanders to a few different characters, and it definitely gives you a perspective from both sides. Still, something always feels off about the exchanges, which again is what keeps the reader glued.
Despite all the cultural exploration, the book moves rather quickly. It had enough fighting and action to keep the pages turning. The cast was diverse and entertaining, fleshed out nicely. I enjoyed them all, but Merros had hooked me from the beginning and I always looked forward to his PoV.
As for the world, it felt very nicely developed to me, and I never felt bogged down by history lessons. Yet Moore wove information into the plot effectively. Traveling through the Blasted Lands was my favorite because it was such a harsh and foreign environment compared to where fantasy is usually based. And Moore did an excellent job of describing the scene without boring me to tears.
Overall, if you’re looking for something that goes a bit off the beaten track in terms of setting, you should pick this up. It was a fast read, and as I said, entertaining.