Friday, 23 August 2013

FANTASY DEBUT REVIEW: The Long War 1: The Black Guard - A J Smith

Release Date: 05/08/13
Publisher:  Head of Zeus


The Duke of Canarn is dead, executed by the King's decree. The city lies in chaos, its people starving, sickening, and tyrannized by the ongoing presence of the King's mercenary army. But still hope remains: the Duke's children, the Lord Bromvy and Lady Bronwyn, have escaped their father's fate. Separated by enemy territory, hunted by the warrior clerics of the One God, Bromvy undertakes to win back the city with the help of the secretive outcasts of the Darkwald forest, the Dokkalfar. The Lady Bronwyn makes for the sanctuary of the Grass Sea and the warriors of Ranen with the mass of the King's forces at her heels. And in the mountainous region of Fjorlan, the High Thain Algenon Teardrop launches his Dragon Fleet against the Red Army. Brother wars against brother in this, the epic first volume of the long war.


To be honest this is a fantasy book that I had some trouble getting into. It didn’t feel as smooth as it could have been but as the story developed I became more and more engrossed in this wonderful inventive world by AJ Smith. It is a story of a great many twists, has some solid prose and when added to a supporting cast of interesting characters really makes this a starter for a fascinating series.

Yet all said, for me, it was the principle characters that stole the show, they were fully rounded, had some great flaws alongside strengths and when added to what I would have thought of as realistic points of view took this book to a new level. All round a solid start and I’ll definitely be watching out for the second title in the series to see what lessons are learned alongside having the chance to check that the second book curse doesn’t strike.

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