The publicly ranked version of the
This author came our from nowhere, hence why noone knows about him yet. But belive me, in a few years he will be considered one of the best authors out there! Finally I read a book that I really enjoy, getting a place on the golden pedestal together with Patric Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson. Really? Yes! This book just awesome. Deep, intelligent, fast pacing story, page turner and sometimes as a reader you forget that your only reading a book - not being in the the head of the antagonist, experiencing the whole story first hand.
I did not have high expactasions for this book.....it looked like your standard violent-war fantasy, "wonder-boy" growing up. It was not. Whats it was, was an intelligent, well writen start of an triology, that did accually tell you a story with an almost-end, and not a cliffhanger, you do get to know what happens, but there are still some sorylines left unexplored. If you like Robin Hobb or Patric Rothfuss, you will probably like this. I for one am looking forward to part two.
Some perspective: to my mind, it's insane that this book is as hyped as it's been. The number of five star ratings on Amazon far exceed what's reasonable (and border on suspicious). I don't mean to say it's a bad book. It's essentially a well-executed story and page-turner. But comparisons to Rothfuss or Sanderson or others strike me as quite overstated. In the first place, the author needs to learn the basic rules of commas, or he needs a good editor, or both. The book's littered - still, even after being non-self-published - with grammatical mistakes, extraneous words (e.g., "of" before and after a word when the author plainly meant to strike out one or the other). This is not a triviality. It genuinely interferes with the enjoyment of reading the book. Not infrequently, one needs to back up and reread a sentence, or a paragraph, to figure out who it is who's talking, or to clarify the meaning of a sentence. I hope that future works by Ryan will be given to a professional editor (and perhaps the author will consider picking up a copy of Strunk
an early version's available here, http://www.crockford.com/wrrrld/style.html). As for substance, the author certainly keeps you turning the pages. But the book's also full of tropes and conceits - well-done, perhaps, but still conceits. There's the coming-of-age story, whereby the hero's rigorously trained through a series of trials, year by year, within a secret order. For anyone who's read the Harry Potter books (everyone?), the first half of the book or so may well seem very redolent of Harry's education at Hogwarts (training in battle supplanting training in magic). There's also the secret power lurking in the background that's gradually revealed but naturally remains opaque and mysterious enough to give it a veneer of profundity. (Once again, I was reminded of Dumbledore knowing all about the true circumstances of Harry's life, just as the Aspects and a few others know about Al Sorna, and he, together with the reader, gradually gets glimpses - but not enough that you won't turn the page.) The characters are generally hollow, including the protagonist, his love interest, the king, the princess, etc. The chronicler, I think, is an utter bore, and I wouldn't be surprised if this is a self-conscious, but poorly executed, effort to duplicate the basic structure of Rothfuss's novels. I could go on, but the point of emphasis is that this strikes me as a hastily-written, not-so-original fantasy filled with conceits and elementary-school comma (and other) errors. Yes, it's fun. It keeps you reading. But that's the best that I think can be said for it. The 1035 5-star Amazon reviews (at the time of this review) must reflect some gaming of the system. It's just not that good. In closing, perhaps this sounds overly harsh. If so, that's only because I don't think it's been honestly reviewed. If a fantasy fan who wants an airplane page-turner asked, I'd say, by all means, pick it up - you won't put it down until you arrive in Tokyo. Ryan has a gift for crafting a story and *could* improve. But it's simply not the kind of high-quality fantasy that seems to be suggested (strangely, I think) by many. It doesn't approach GRRM, Rothfuss, Abercrombie, Gaiman, Kay, and other writers of modern, original, well-written, and creative works in the genre today, which are *also* page-turners. So enjoy it, really, but for those who review books on Amazon (I don't), please post an honest review to balance out all the undeserved hype.
English is my fourth language, hence why I might not be bothered by all these typos, instead, just focusing on the quality and enjoy-ability of the story itself. In my view the story far outperforms those of Martin or Tolkien. But that's just my taste - and perhaps 1035 other 5-star reviewers? There might of-course always be the possibility that the rating system has been gamed, but until proved, I'd say it is more likely that the book has been honestly reviewed and genuinely loved by most readers. Also your comparisons, (and the resulting similarity) with Harry Potter and Name of wind are in my opinion not valid arguments that would make a book bad? Sure, there are some similarities, but we can find these similarities in 90% of all fantasy books!