I enjoyed this debut work by Thomas Meyers thoroughly. This is a coming of age story that does not fully realize itself within the pages of this book....moreI enjoyed this debut work by Thomas Meyers thoroughly. This is a coming of age story that does not fully realize itself within the pages of this book. Mr. Meyers does a FANTASTIC job of dropping breadcrumbs throughout the story as to the implied importance of the main character, Eric Elmoor, an outcast, half-breed elf-human, who is trying finding to find out information about his dead father that he never met. His quest takes him to his father's homeland where he is branded as an outcast, but allowed to stay and be trained in the Elven ways because the higher ups understand his place. He finds a girl and battles the enemy as he learns that he has magical powers. They return back home only to find that death has left its mark on their village yet again.
I am anxious to see what adventures Mr. Meyers has in store for young Elmoor and really to see why he is so important to the the fate of the Elves.(less)
This was the first Canavan book that i have read. I have been looking at The Magician's Guild for a while, and saw Magician's Apprentice in the librar...moreThis was the first Canavan book that i have read. I have been looking at The Magician's Guild for a while, and saw Magician's Apprentice in the library and picked it up.
I have no knowledge of Canavan's world, but found it very intriguing as I was reading Apprentice. There were three main story lines and i found each of them highly interesting at times, and extremely boring at some times. I got to the middle of the book and it seemed that all three storylines were not keeping me interested, but I worked through it and really enjoyed the ensuing war that progressed. Canavan's idea of war was highly interesting to me and I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect.
The ending of the story intrigued me enough to pick up The Magician's Guild series.(less)
Some more is revealed in the 4th year at Hogwarts. I have to admit that I had to put it down for a couple of days in the middle because it was draggin...moreSome more is revealed in the 4th year at Hogwarts. I have to admit that I had to put it down for a couple of days in the middle because it was dragging so much. But I am glad that I did not give up. The second half of the book reveals much that sets up the final three books (I don't know, but can guess from watching movie ads). I am glad that I pushed through and finished it. The final 5 chapters...i could not put it down!(less)
This is my first reading of any kind in the world of Michael Sullivan. I really liked the characters a lot and I found it humorous enough to want to l...moreThis is my first reading of any kind in the world of Michael Sullivan. I really liked the characters a lot and I found it humorous enough to want to learn more about them...and I plan on doing that by reading Theft of Swords.(less)
Elantris is the 2nd book that I have read from Brandon Sanderson. I fell in love with his writing after reading Mistborn for the first time. I am in a...moreElantris is the 2nd book that I have read from Brandon Sanderson. I fell in love with his writing after reading Mistborn for the first time. I am in absolute awe of the magic systems that he is able to create, and Elantris delivers as well. As the first novel that Sanderson wrote, you can see a different writing style than what appears in Mistborn. He writes Elantris in chapter triads where every third chapter focuses on one of the main character's point of view. This is a very ingenious form of writing and really read quite easily throughout most of the book. The chapter triad breaks down later in the book, but that does not affect the ease to follow the story. This is a great book, though you might get more out of the genius that is Brandon Sanderson if you read one of his later novels first.(less)
The Hand of Andulain is the debut novel from Aaron Mahnke, who is, by trade, a graphic artist and designer. He was introduced to me in mid-2010 by our...moreThe Hand of Andulain is the debut novel from Aaron Mahnke, who is, by trade, a graphic artist and designer. He was introduced to me in mid-2010 by our mutual friend, Patrick Rhone, for his long form writing at his blog. Over the last month or so, we have struck up a friendship through our love of fantasy fiction. I have been a huge fan of his blog for sometime and was very excited when he announced that he was releasing The Hand of Andulain in the Kindle store. I think that I may have been the first sale that Aaron made as I woke up on the Saturday morning it was supposed to be available, and I bought it before I even got out of bed.
The Hand of Andulain tells a very rich story that takes place in an ancient land. It details the journey of an unwitting adventurer and his best friend as they embark across their land to find the story behind a mysterious piece of jewelry that has come into their possession. We also learn how the prince of a neighboring kingdom gets involved to help the friends on their journey, while trying to wrestle control of his father, the King, and their Kingdom away from a growing evil that is takign over the land.
Bran and his best friend, Callidus, live in the small town of Landermal, where their families are farmers by trade. They were coming home from hunting one day when someone comes running out the forest in front of them. It is clear that this person is being chased and he is running for his life. Suddenly, a pack of hideous creatures break through the forest and resume their chase of the man. Bran and Cal take up their bows in an effort to protect the stranger as he begged for help. Suddenly the stranger falls with an arrow in his back and just as Bran is about to attack the three creatures, they disappear. With his dying breaths, the stranger gives the boy the pouch that he is carrying, which he is trying to protect, and tells him not to let it fall into the enemy. Thus begins the journey that Bran and Cal must undertake to find the meaning and origins of the mysterious contents of the pouch.
Mahnke has developed a rich world for the friends to travel in. There seems to be two main races of beings, Men and Eki. The mysterious stranger turns out to be a member of the Eki royal house. Eki seem to be almost elf-like in their descriptions. Mahnke describes them as cat-like with movements that were “graceful and fluid”. We find out that seem to be immortal as well. The world is filled with small towns and large cities and treacherous mountainous regions and protective waystops, which were “small, concealed holes that were built and maintained by the Eki”. I had no problem visualizing the terrain that he would describe as the party crisscrossed the land.
Mahnke does a great job by not inundating us with a lot of characters to keep up with throughout the story. There are two story arcs that are running concurrently. There is Bran and Cal, along with Bran’s tutor, Auctoris, traveling at the direction of Auctoris and his limited knowledge on what he thinks is in the pouch. Then there is Prince Malach, who is framed for a crime that he did not commit and escapes his own father’s army and searches out his best friend, Elos, who himself is an Eki. Then there are a couple of people in the enemies camp to watch (but I won't discuss them so that I don’t spoil the story). At most there is probably seven main characters to keep up with and three or four minor characters that aid in the party’s adventure.
The story starts off a little slow as Mahnke builds the world and introduces the characters to us. This is the first book in a proposed trilogy titled The Tapestry Saga (and I happen to know that some prequel type material is in the works as well!). Setting the stage for an epic fantasy of this caliber is very important, and Mahnke does a great job at it. He smatters in some history of the world, as well as how each of the main players relates in the big picture. Not since the late 80s with Star Wars have I been so interested in knowing the history of the work that I was reading.
J.R.R. Tolkien is an obvious influence in Mahnke’s writing. That is ok for me since Tolkien is my all-time favorite writer. I did see a number of similarities to The Lord of the Rings, but it did not bother me. (Unlike when I attempted to read Eye of the World when I was in my late teens…I could not finish it, and I have not read any of the Wheel of Time books since.) I could probably compare each of Mahnke’s characters with a character in Lord of the Rings and be pretty close about it. Again, there is just enough of a difference with The Hand of Andulain that I do not mind the comparisons.
The magic system, or the Art as it is called, is not very fleshed out in book 1. The magic is my favorite part of reading fantasy novels, and I was a little disappointed by not knowing more about the Art. Hopefully, book 2 will provide more background to the Art than was mentioned in The Hand of Andulain. It is very powerful both offensively and defensively. It seems people have different levels of ability to use the Art, and I am not sure if everyone can access its abilities or it is a select few. Again, hopefully it will be spelled out in book 2.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Hand of Andulain, especially as a debut work. I have enjoyed Aaron’s non-fantasy fiction writing for awhile, and I am glad that his talent extends into yet another genre that I enjoy. I am very excited at the prequel material and to see what adventures lie ahead in books 2 and 3. The Hand of Andulain is available on Kindle, nook, epub and paperback. You can find links to all available formats at Aaron’s book site.(less)