Thursday, November 30, 2017


Gedlund (Tales of the Verin Empire #1)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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The Mad Lancers

The Mad Lancers: A Powder Mage NovellaThe Mad Lancers: A Powder Mage Novella by Brian McClellan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ben Styke is a war hero and commander of a garrison in Fernhollow. Fernhollow is a small relatively peaceful out of the way town until a Kez Squadron spends the night. Major Prost, The Fatrastan Governor's brother, beats a local business owner for asking him to pay his bill. Styke intervenes on the business owners behalf and the real trouble starts.

Ben Styke is one hell of a killer which for the time period is fine, but he has an equally fierce temper. I can't help but feel as though if anyone with the slightest bit of diplomatic sense had taken Styke's place when confronting Major Post that the entire book would be different. Styke acts first and thinks second and Fernhollow suffers because of it. When he's thinking he's a horrifying monster to face. Styke is the biggest hammer in a world full of nails. He can't help but smash them. Styke fights like Rocky Balboa. His face may be all bloody and he may be unable to see, but you should see the other guy.

The Mad Lancers felt somewhat unnecessary. Perhaps at some point as Gods of Blood and Power progresses I will be curious about the Mad Lancers origins and the beginning of the Fatrastan Revolution. Right now I'm uninterested by Fatrasta and it's history. Styke is a curiosity, but I largely wonder if he was the inspiration for Kez's Wardens. He's the most physically resilient and powerful non magically augmented individual in the Powder Mage universe to date.

The Mad Lancers was a solid origin story of the military group with the same name.

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