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The Written (Emaneska #1)

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  712 ratings  ·  114 reviews
His name is Farden.
They whisper that he s dangerous.
Dangerous is only the half of it.
Something has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell. Something very old, and something very powerful. Five scholars are now dead, a country is once again on the brink of war, and the magick council is running out of time and options.
Entangled in a web of lies and politics and d
Hardcover, Second Edition, 464 pages
Published February 2nd 2011 by (first published October 25th 2010)
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Community Reviews

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So I'm not going to lie, this book was one i've had my eye on for years because of the beautiful cover designs for the books. Considering that this is a self-published book and series, I think the fact that the covers are so beautiful is a great asset to the books because otherwise the likelihood of me buying the book or hearing about it would have been much less. With that said, it's not just a pretty cover, in fact there's actually a very wonderful story contained within the pages of this book ...more
Unfortunately, I was not overly impressed with this. The cover art is great, which is why I picked it up. I think it has more cons than pros, alas.

So let's start at the good points:

- The idea of tattoos giving someone power, and different tattoos giving different powers, was really neat.

- I liked the bond shared between dragon and rider, which altered the rider's appearance. Though, this is not the first story I've read where dragon and rider become inexorably linked.

- The theme of addiction, wh
I won this book through Goodreads First reads.

I have just finished the first chapter and I have decided that I will not read any more because:

1. The first chapter reminds me of my college freshman creative writing workshop class...and that is NOT a good thing.
2. Actions taken by the characters were summarized rather than described while the setting or inanimate objects are overly described.
3. There are cliches - "He smiled like a wolf..."
4. The word(s) "Suddenly.." or "All of a sudden..." were u
Paul Nelson
Sometimes your initial expectations of a book can leap twofold simply by its cover, this is one of those books, a mage walking away or into battle, sword in one hand and a fireball in the palm of his other hand. Thankfully the book didn't disappoint in the slightest.

This novel is set in a world called Emaneska, the Arka are ruled from their capital city Krauslung by the magick council & the Arkmages. To become a mage one must first go through the intense school of training and finally undert

Overall Rating = 3 & 1/2 Stars

Review originally at Fantasy Book Critic

ANALYSIS: The Written is a debut book that I had no clue about but thanks to Mark Lawrence, I was clued to its existence. Usually it’s said never judge a book by its cover but in this case, I was ready to make an exception. The understated cover really drew my eye with its stark color usage, so in this case I was ready to make an exception. The book blurb didn’t really do justice or give any idea about the plot content.
The Written is the debut novel from British author Ben Galley. It's a typical fantasy story with the usually expected characters that go with the genre. The book is a little rough in places with some silly typos and grammatical mistakes that should be caught with tighter editing. However it does get progressively better as Galley grows more confident in his writing.

Farden is a member of the Written, a group of elite mages with special words of power tattooed on their backs. He is charged with th
Jul 10, 2012 David added it
I was already getting that old 2 star feeling when Dark Elves were mentioned, and then on page 13:

'Haha, and without you, old fools, I would have nothing.' The smile was instantly gone, replaced by thin lips and a narrowed gaze. With a sudden burst of immense speed the mage drew his sword in a silver blur and furiously slammed the blade into Innel's chest."

I expect this is the single worst book I will read this year. No stars, and my Cino help the soul of Ben Galley.
Martin Belcher
I have to say I haven't enjoyed a fantasy book as much as this one in absolutely ages! This is one hell of a stomping read, I guess you get the idea I loved it, hell, I bloody loved it and would give it six stars if I could. I'm so thankful that I walked into Waterstones bookshop in West Quay, Southampton and this book stared me in the face and something made me pick it up and I thought "I like the look of this book" I'm so glad I did!
This is not your usual hum drum usual template fantasy (you
I read the first three chapters of this book, and couldn't go further. There's some real potential here, it looks like there could be some good world building, and it seems like the book will deal with some interesting themes, like drug use, which is almost never dealt with in fantasy writing. But two things bugged me enough to put the book down:

1. the writing. Word choices were repetitive and uninspired. If the main character was referred to as "the mage" in basic prose one more time, I would h
Tess Burton
If you are a fan of indie high fantasy and a plethora of adjectives, then this is the book for you!

I first came across this book at the beginning of the year when Ben Galley ambushed a friend of mine in Waterstones begging her to buy his book. She was terrified, but I was amused and yes, intrigued. The book seemed to tick all of my boxes and the cover art is really amazing. I kind of hate the matte-type feeling, but I let that one slide. Needless to say, it has taken me a long time to finish it,
Bruce Arthurs
Ben Galley's The Written is graced by a spectacularly striking cover. Rather than trying to dummy up a cover himself, as a lot of self-published writers do, he went to a crowdsourcing site, Crowdspring, where he was able to offer a precis of his book and have a number of designers submit book cover proposals. The one he accepted, by designer Mikael Westman and artist Claudia West, really stands out from the crowd of self-published books and would be no surprise coming from any leading publisher. ...more
I have to agree with other reviewers - the book has both strong and weak points.

Aside from the various grammatical errors throughout the book, at the beginning the story itself was too much like a straight up D&D campaign. Thankfully, as the story progresses, the author does start to move the story in a more original direction.

The use of tattoos as the source of power was done very well. There were a lot of typical fantasy elements thrown in here, but they work well. The dream sequences we
Sam Leeves
As a fantasy author, I often find the genre slightly difficult to read. I've read so much of by now that a few works seem to merge together and anything that stands out is an instant favourite. 'The Written', Ben Galley's debut novel, is a novel that stood out from the first page.

Firstly, Emaneska is a richly imagined and highly original world. From the many different races to the exposition of the world itself I struggled to find anything derivative. Okay, so elves are one of the older races th
Ben Galley's The Written was my first experience of a self-published Fantasy title. And it was quite a ride!

I've got to open with the most obvious comment, the cover art for this title (and indeed the for next in the series) is Stunning. It completely sold the book to me, which I know is awful on my part. My Shallow is showing. Not only that, but the quality of the book itself, it's genuinely a thing of beauty. I've been reading this one at work quite a bit, and the number of colleagues who aske

Excellent! A powerful and well-written debut.

Farden is a Written, a Mage who exists to serve the Arka and its surrounding areas. After a tragedy and a horrific betrayal, he finds himself becoming weaker and weaker at the hands of a very evil man indeed. How will Farden get out of it?

Finding his strength coming from an unexpected source, Farden battles his daemons, external and internal alike, and finds out just how strong he can truly be.

This fantasy has everything, epic battles and fights,

I don't feel like spending a long time tearing this book apart, so I'll just say it briefly. The writing is just very poor.

"All of a sudden" and its like are overused. The drama is summarized and told rather than shown. The characters are flat and seem to be the author's favorite D&D personas, not real people. Descriptions are filled with mad-lib-esque adjectives of a poor, and often repetitive, nature. Nothing pops.

I'll be honest. I picked it up because of the cover art, and it just wasn't

Thomas Ranney
Given this is his debut novel, I was thoroughly impressed with Mr. Galley's level of writing. I've started far more books then i've finished, and this one kept me going right until the end. Seeking new talent in the Fantasy genre? Well add Ben Galley to the likes of Mark Lawrence.

Farden, our my character, put me in mind of a fantasy version of James Bond. He is part of a special breed, whom has endured a horrendously painful procedure which kills a a high percentage of those attempting it. The W
Oct 15, 2012 Kate added it
Tried to read this several times and just could not get into it. The writing is confusing. It's hard to tell who is saying what when the paragraphs don't change with the speakers. It may be the greatest story ever told, but I may never know. For now anyway, I'm giving up on this one.
Summer Peterson
I couldn't finish this book. I couldn't stand how it would say "the Mage did this..." or " the stranger looked..." even though you knew who the character is. This book might get interesting but I don't want to waste my time reading it if it hasn't caught my attention so far.
Nancy Clark
An excellent book. I love the rich, beautiful writing. Ben creates true word pictures that I can see. The characters are so real and the main character is a wonderful psychological study. The book is a real page turner and kept me guessing until the end.
The Written is the first book in the Emaneska series. All of Emaneska books were self-published by their author Ben Galley. The Written opens with a mysterious mage murdering some librarians to steal a book for some nefarious purpose. From their readers are introduced to Farden a sword wield, fire-flinging gauntlet wearing mage known for his temper and the fact that his father’s mind buckled under the power of his magics. Farden, we quickly learn is tasked (by his vampire mentor) with tracking d ...more
I normally don't accept self-published novels for review for all the usual reasons given, but the most important one is time. With work, the girls, and Wiebe, my reading and blogging time is limited and if I'm going to read and review something do I want to risk reading a lot of not so good books to find that one gem or stick with non-self-published work and run less of a risk that at least the writing is up to scratch? I chose to go with the latter even though I realise I might miss out on some ...more
Nick Reys
Don’t judge a book by its cover. It’s something I’ve been taught and I try to apply that to my book buying as well – and judging from the monstrous covers that flourish on my shelves, I seem to do a pretty good job at that. However, when it came to the Emaneska Series, I let the cover seduce me into buying. I first came across Mr. Galley’s novels on a blog and the beautiful simplicity of these covers for both The Written and Pale Kings stood out to me. The blurb seemed alright, so I just had to ...more
Adam Smith
Something terrible is stirring in the lands of Emaneska. An ancient tome with the power to summon a create known only as the "Mouths of Darkness" has been stolen. Can the mages of Arka retrieve the book before its dark power is unleashed?

First up, I don't often read high-fantasy; the worlds are usually too dense to easily get into. The world in this book was interesting, but I'm not sure how much of that was actually intended and how much of it was me projecting onto the scaffolds. I ended up pl
I picked this book up because I loved the cover, my interest was piqued by the blurb, and because I read good things about it. I really wanted to like it, but… at best I came away with mixed feelings. Galley has made use of some truly beautiful prose, but it is unfortunately buried in a hailstorm of adjectives and repetition that tangled the flow rather than moving it along. He tells an interesting story about an unusual character, but… his choice of wording put a distance between me and the cha ...more
Kevin Richard

I only stumbled across Ben Galley and this, his first book by chance and to be honest this is the first 'fantasy genre' book I have read. I have always been a reader of detective and crime novels and also of classics by Thomas Hardy, Elizabeth Gaskell and so on. Fantasy books had never really appealed to me, however after reading a small sample of Ben's work (just a few pages) I decided to take a chance, try something different and so purchased a copy ofThe Written.

Ben's passion for his work,
I'm a sucker for this genre, I admit, but this book was head and
shoulders above many of the others in the genre, and it's an impressive
feat for such a new author. Before I wax eloquent with praise, I should
get some of the issues I had with the book out. I enjoyed Galley's
writing style, though at times it could become a bit tedious. Repititions
of "the mage" were used a bit too often, and the fight scenes seemed just
a bit too forced, like the author had the battle playing in his head and
was try
I had been reading this on my lunch breaks for the past several weeks. Why was I taking so long? Mostly because only sheer stubbornness was making me continue along with the hope that it had to get better.

I got a bit more than half way through and now I'm throwing in the towel. I don't want to read it anymore. I don't care if the characters live or die. My favorite characters were the ship's cat and the big dragon Farfallen and they just weren't there enough to hold my interest.

Farden was bland
Maja Majdak


When Ben sent me this book to read and share my review with you the first thing I noticed was THE MOST AMAZING AND EPIC cover ever! I absolutely loved it, and if I was about to buy a book merely based on its cover I would definitely buy this one.

His name is Farden and he lives in icy cold Emaneska. They call him dangerous, but that is only half of the truth. Then one day something goes missing from the libraries of Arfell, and five scholar kids are fo
I'm writing this review without having read the whole book, I'm at 18% (on a Kobo Glo)...
I see a lot of praise and high ratings for this book but a lot of those mention the potential of the book and even the series. And I agree with that. But putting that aside and only rating this book, as it stands, so far I cannot give it more than two stars.

Possible spoilers below. The second star is mostly due to my fondness of the mythical and how a lot of that seems to be in this book. The problem is, as
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Ben Galley is a best-selling purveyor of tall tales and dark fantasy from the UK. He is the author behind the gritty and epic Emaneska Series, as well as the upcoming western fantasy series, the Scarlet Star Trilogy.

Aside from writing and dreaming up lies to tell his readers, Ben works as a self-publishing consultant and Guardian Masterclass tutor, helping fellow authors from all over the world to
More about Ben Galley...

Other Books in the Series

Emaneska (4 books)
  • Pale Kings (Emaneska #2)
  • Dead Stars - Part One (Emaneska #3)
  • Dead Stars - Part Two (Emaneska #4)
Pale Kings (Emaneska #2) Dead Stars - Part One (Emaneska #3) Dead Stars - Part Two (Emaneska #4) Bloodrush (The Scarlet Star Trilogy #1) Choosing A Self Publishing Service 2013: The Alliance of Independent Authors Guide

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