Gedlund by William Ray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Tammen Gilmot is a young educated man that joined the army as a common soldier. Tam's goal is to see the world and get experience to write a book, but he quickly realizes he likely made a mistake. Tam is heading to dangerous Gedlund, a land where the Lich King rules the living, the dead, and things more frightening than both.
Gedlund truly was not what I was expecting when I first picked up the book. It wasn't until around 33% before anything felt fantasy like. Prior to that there were fights with goblins, mentions of Elves, and talk of an undead Lich King, but nearly no real magic to be seen. The storytelling was slow for much of the early going. My biggest complaint about the story is that large portions of it felt needlessly long. I was more than 200 pages into the story before it really caught my interest.
Gedlund did display a level of intricacy that I didn't notice until further into the novel. At the beginning of each chapter there were excerpts of hearings, reports, books, letters, and other bits of information that all took place during or after the Gedlund invasion. Once I finished the book I flipped back to the excerpts as they were telling a story that details the future in an interesting manner.
Nearly the entire story was told from Tam's point of view, but at about 58% of the way into a book a new point of view character was shown. It was slightly jarring to get a new point of view character after so much of the tale being told by Tam. That being said, I'd say that one of the two additional point of view characters seemed warranted.
One thing that surprised me was the utter lack of respect everyone had for common soldiers. If a person who isn't wealthy joins the Queen's Army they are treated like criminals on a work release. People, including the majority of their families, want nothing to do with them. It's truly hard to believe anyone would sign on for so much danger when nearly everyone would hate them for becoming a regular soldier.
The characters in Gedlund were largely average, the type of characters depicted by one or two characteristics and little else. Two characters particularly stood out to me, the affable Captain Valdemar (Val) Hoskaaner and stern Corporal Glynn. Val is an easy to like character as he's largely everything a writer could want in a hero. He's kind, brave, heroic, and uplifting. Despite being the Captain, Val was in the mix of every battle and would not ask anyone to do what he was unwilling to. Glynn is largely Val's opposite, but no less brave and heroic. Tam was ok, but I would have enjoyed Val or Glynn as the main character more.
Gedlund is a solid story that's different and deeper than it's description.
3 out of 5 stars
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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