Sunday, 13 January 2013

FANTASY REVIEW: The Faithful and the Fallen 1: Malice - John Gwynne

Release Date: 06/12/12


Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king's realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage. The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars. High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. They would be wise to seek out both, for if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind's hopes and dreams will fall to dust.


To be honest with you, I held back on reading this book for a while purely for the fact that I was waiting for a time when I wanted something that would fill my need for what I refer to as classic fantasy, characters and situations that whilst following a fairly straight road give the reader a story that isn’t overly complicated (as has become the norm these days with many authors trying to turn out the next Fire and Ice Series) but enjoys what it is.

That’s what I got from this debut and to be honest I’m quite happy to say that I’ll be reading this authors work again. Yes it is formulaic if you want to go that route, yes it has some simplistic characters but in a real world where we all too often have to either pick the lesser of two evils or rather the lightest shade of grey available it’s great to have a book where it feels so clear cut.

All in, add to this a writing style to suits the material albeit with some rough edges, the author definitely has a future ahead and I for one can’t wait to see the next book in order to discover how the characters develop alongside the authors skill at producing a cracking read. Back that up with reasonable prose, a solid enough pace and whilst not a book to set the world alight, it’s definitely one that’s going to feel not only familiar but one that returns the reader to the days of nostalgic golden fantasy.

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