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The Written

(Emaneska #1)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,566 ratings  ·  210 reviews
“★★★★★. Galley's imagination is a truly beautiful thing. The plot here is rich and intricate, and the characters are a delight... I believe Mr Galley may well be one to watch.”
– Fantasy Bytes

“★★★★★. Galley is not yet as good an author as Gemmell but the thing that I find exciting is that I honestly think that he could be.”
– Fantasy Book Review


His name is Farden.
They wh
Paperback, Second Edition, 418 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by (first published October 25th 2010)
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  1,566 ratings  ·  210 reviews

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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
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Giving this a 3.5* rounded up to 4*. Very good concept, good world building, nice use of 🐉 and vampires 🧛‍♂️. Nice to see different magic performed by the various magic users.

Liking the maturing character but waiting to see which way he’s going by the author.

Will be buying the other books in this series and I will be adding the author to my keep me informed shelf.
Bruce Arthurs
May 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: All fans of fantasy
Recommended to Michael by: JP. Ashman
I got a free e-book copy of The Written by signing up for Ben Galley's VIP mailing list and I'm pleased to say that I enjoyed the book.

For a debut novel, I thought this was well done. The storyline was good, though the characters are somewhat over-powerful but then why have a hero if he or she can be killed by the flick of the wrist? Early on in the tale, the travelling is very fast, though this is later explained by 'quick-doors' which enable fast travel.

I like the involvement of dragons in th
May 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

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. But
Queen Terrible Timy
Actual rating: 4.5
This review was written for my blog, RockStarlit BookAsylum!

The Written was the 4th book I’ve read from Ben Galley and I managed to do that in about 7 months. I think it was only the first 5 Harry Potter books that I’ve read in less time. Interestingly, I’ve read Galley’s latest trilogy, The Chasing Graves first, then continued with his debut. Normally people do it in reverse order. On the other hand, it gives me the opportunity to see how far he had come in the past 10 years o
Paul Nelson
May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-books-read
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 undertake
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Written was tough for me to get into at first for a couple of reasons: 1) we are immediately thrown into fast paced action, but there isn’t much background information to orient us to the story and 2) the explanation of what Farden is as a Written mage doesn’t come for a few chapters, so it was unclear to what his role was.

The story takes place in the world of Emaneska, which consists of all sorts of magical creatures from lycans to vampyres to dragons, etc. Amongst these magical creatures a
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
Damien Black
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I liked this book for very simple reasons: it is a thoroughly unpretentious, unashamedly florid punt at a good old-fashioned sword and sorcery/high fantasy novel. Yes, it could have used a copy editor, but as a fellow indie author I was really encouraged by this valiant attempt at a first novel on a self-publishing ticket. Ben Galley's success in this department has been well documented elsewhere, and he is clearly going from strength to strength as a writer and consultant.

As for a round-up of t
Bookish Ayushi
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it

Ben Galley’s debut novel from almost a decade ago, The Written, is a fine specimen of his powerful writing. I was provided an electronic copy of this book by @bengalley and @thewritereads in exchange for my honest review.

The plot of this novel is extremely fascinating and is full of a lot of mystical creatures – dragons, vampires, warewolves, mages, etc. The writer’s imagination and creativity is definitely commendable. The world building is so detailed tha
Jun 05, 2015 rated it liked it
The main reason I bought & read this book was the cover... I mean just look at it O.O! It just looks good in my small personal library. Besides that, the story was a bit average. Action packed with a lot of cliffhangers, but still average. I couldn't really connect with any of the main characters. They all felt so distant. It was to be expected from a young author making a debut in the fantasy genre.
Did I like reading it? Yes.
Did I like it enough to continue the other books? Nop.
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I have had this one for a wee while and I thought I had better give it a go.Well this is a brilliant debut that had me hooked from the beginning.

Mr Galley has written a wonderful start to what could be such a brilliant series.

It flowed seamlessly and at times beautifully and I couldn't put it down.The main characters are brilliant and drawn quite wonderfully by someone who knows how to write a good story.On my way now to get book 2.
Jan 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
LJ (On The Shelf Reviews)
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Farden is a member of The Written, an elite group of magicians. When a book of dark magic is stolen from a group of scholars, it brings Emaneska to the brink of war. Farden is tasked with finding who is behind it. But who can he trust?

Goodness me, The Written is a rip roaring adventure, full of magic, mayhem and talking dragons!

I feel like it’s a real balancing act with the start of a fantasy series, getting the right amount of world building coupled with introduction of characters and leaving e
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, indie-author
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
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.
Lisa Greiner Maughan
This story is intriguing and fast paced. The magic in this book is a different concept from what I have read in the past. The world building is strong, some characters have great depths written about them whilst others don't really need to which is a positive thing. Ben's writing is clear, and he doesn't repeat himself in sentences by using different words to explain the same thing just to fill up the page.
By using your imagination you should not have a problem at all envisioning this story.
Sep 26, 2013 marked it as to-read
I have hard such great things about this book that I can't believe I've not gotten around to it yet. Ah well, so many books, so little time. Got a friend invite from the author and that will definitely move it up on my TBR stack.
A good debut, albeit with a familiar story which we get to read in many other fantasy novels. The worlbuilding was great, and the mythology interesting. This is old style traditional epic fantasy, but, done with an easy flair of narrative more suited to the contemporary readers. The writing was uneven at places, and a few spelling errors and typos, but, it was fun reading this escapist novel.

There are wizards, dragons, dark elves, vampires, daemons, werewolves, and other tropes meshed into the s
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,
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Written are Mage warriors with their chosen magic tattooed on their backs.
Farden the main protagonist is a Written, dragged into a deadly game of politics when he is sent as an emissary to Nelska to seek help from an ancient race of dragons and to prevent war, but there is treachery around every corner.
This is a good old fashioned fantasy. We have Wizards, Vampyres, Dragons and a few Elves and Daemons thrown in.
I loved the characters so much that I went straight into book two.
Oct 31, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A very flawed character but in a good way. He lightly battles a budding drug addiction and is trusting for a loner.
Katie (Melting Pages)

This is Ben Galley's debut novel, and while you can tell he really wanted to tackle a lot of different fantasy elements, I think it was done really well for a debut! There were werewolves, vamyres, dragons, elves, mages, prophecies, and a giant world! As a huge lover of fantasy, I loved the different magics that were included, and the idea of the Written was something that I don't think I've come across yet as a magic system. The Written are powerful mages that have a spellbook of sorts inked in
Sam Leeves
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book took a while to get going, but once it did I enjoyed it.

I would say though that there was too much time spent on building certain story lines when it would have been better to move things on at a quicker pace this keeping me the reader engaged throughout.

I would have also appreciated a deeper dive into the action and battle scenes as these parts of the story felt like they didn't last very long and with such a lengthy buildup to it I would have liked to be rewarded with a more substant
Jul 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, own, ebook, 2012
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 were p
Martin Belcher
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
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
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Get The Iron Keys, an exclusive, FREE short story set in the world of Emaneska when you sign up to Ben’s Guild Newsletter.

Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut Emaneska Series, Ben has released a range of epic and dark fantasy novels, including the award-winning weird western Bloodrush and standalone novel The

Other books in the series

Emaneska (4 books)
  • Pale Kings (Emaneska #2)
  • Dead Stars - Part One (Emaneska #3)
  • Dead Stars - Part Two (Emaneska #4)

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