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Review of Outpost by F.T. McKinstry

Review of Outpost by F.T. McKinstryOutpost by F.T. McKinstry
Series: The Fylking #1
on September 29th 2015
Genres: Epic, Fantasy
Pages: 368


In a war-torn realm occupied by a race of immortal warlords called the Fylking, trouble comes with a price. Using the realm as a backwater outpost from which to fight an ancient war, the Fylking protect the portals between the worlds by the sword. Their enemies, without pity, are bent on annihilation. Arcmael is a seer with a tormented past. A servant of the Fylking, his solitary life takes a turn when he’s set upon by a warlock gathering an army of warriors that cannot die. Othin, a seasoned ranger who defends the realm, is snared in a political trap that forces him to choose between love and honor. A knitter touched by the gods catches the eye of a dark immortal with no name and the power to summon storms. Bound by synchronicity, these three mortals are caught on a wave of rising darkness, murder, treachery, sorcery and war. Finding allies in unlikely places, they must rally to protect the boundaries of the Otherworld against a plot that will violate the balance of cosmos, destroy the Fylking and plunge the world into ruins. The god they serve is as fickle as a crow.

This is a really hard book to summarize. I’d have to lamely say it’s about some new bad guys that pop up and our good guys try to figure out who/what they are. I mean, that’s really bad. There’s a lot going on in this book, a lot of character growth, a lot of character confusion and mystery.

I have to start by saying if I had a map, I might have loved this a bit more. My problem is that our group travels to, or talks about, lots of places. Because I’m visual, I had one hell of a time imagining where they were at any given time, which hindered my understanding of certain timelines and events. To make matters worse, there’s a lot of terms thrown out very early on in this book, and if you don’t pay attention you’ll be lost. If I had felt more grounded in the story, I could have easily loved this book. As it was, I found myself lost one too many times.

Normally those negatives would end up lowering my rating farther, but I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the world. There’s ghouls and Fylking and elves and goblins and so many other things that I can’t remember them all. The world has as much going on as the story; tons of nuances and a wide range of creatures. There’s gates that lead to other worlds and, if broken, allow in a variety of creatures. Wardens protect them, along with their Fylking guardians. Those creatures were very interesting indeed.

As for characters, I liked them all, which is rare for me. Millie was a free-spirited woman living in a village where one of the gateways I mentioned earlier exists. She’s got a power we don’t initially understand, but it was delightful and frightening to see it grow. Archmael was my favorite character, probably because the poor guy kept getting pushed into a direction he didn’t want to go, no matter how much he fought it. Forced to a life as a warden, it was easy for me to relate to his battle between his love of solitude and his need for companionship. Othin was a ranger; your typical good looking, womanizing hero. He does have a love who owns his heart, regardless of his frivolous sex life. I think the reason I liked him was because his scenes had the most action.

Pacing was okay in this book. I’d have liked some of the explanations to be spread out, delivered at more pertinent times. A few info dumps had me glazing over, which probably explains why it took effort for me to grasp all that was happening. There was a lot of imagery in this book, and sometimes it slowed things down for me. Regardless, I did enjoy the writing.

Overall, I’d say anyone who likes a plethora of creatures should definitely pick this up. I highly suggest paying attention in the beginning—no matter how arduous it is to you—so the rest of the book makes sense. I certainly wish I had taken my time with it.

EDIT: I just looked at the author’s website and there is a map available. Rather beautiful too. I really wish it would have been in the book. Click here to see it.

About F.T. McKinstry

I write fantasy, swords and sorcery, and fairy tales. I like books, forests, winter, cats, music and computers. I live in the northwoods of New England, don’t get out much and have one foot in the Otherworld. For years, in the closets of high tech jobs, I created fantasy worlds. Now I spend most of my time there.

I have a dark side, as all things do. Among other things, it often takes the form of a warrior, a rather nasty, belligerent fellow with a penchant for whisky, swords and trouble. He isn’t much into considering the upshot. Other times, my dark side is primordial, feminine, but not in a nice way. She pulls weeds, mercilessly edits manuscripts, and broods for days before painting or writing something. She destroys to create; she doesn’t suffer the sun and she packs a scythe. I’ve made peace with these beings by giving them free range in my work. In return, they don’t drive me mad. They show me things. Beautiful things.

I constantly looking for answers, and have spent my life delving into any and every esoteric thing that catches my eye. I love Northern European legend and mythology. Also woven into my stories are threads of plant and animal lore, mythical creatures, medieval warfare, shamanism, pagan themes, verse and shadows. I’ve published a series of fantasy novels called The Chronicles of Ealiron, many short stories in various fantasy/sci fi magazines, a story collection called Wizards, Woods and Gods and a dark fantasy novelette called Water Dark. In November 2015 I released Outpost, Book One in a new fantasy series called The Fylking..

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