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The Written

(Emaneska #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,281 ratings  ·  163 reviews

His name is Farden.
They whisper that he’s dangerous.
Dangerous is only the half of it.

"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

"Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings."
– NottingHarp, Amazon Reviewer

"There are cer
Paperback, Second Edition, 418 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by (first published October 25th 2010)
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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,281 ratings  ·  163 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.
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.
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
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 undert
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Rituranjan Gogoi
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
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
Sep 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
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
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
Jul 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, fantasy, 2012, own
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
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
Tom Lloyd
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
A bit of a surprise for me this actually - it's absolutely straight down the line traditional fantasy and didn't start that promisingly really, mostly due to rookie mistakes (I'm not sure if it was Galley's first book or not but the editing wasn't great and words were occasionally just used incorrectly) and not really showing me anything to get very excited about. But it was an easy read (bearing in mind trad fantasy is my comfort reading) and as it went on I found myself happily sinking in to t ...more
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy

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,
Apr 17, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

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

Nancy Clark
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Summer Peterson
May 07, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
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.
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.
Nov 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, fantasy
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
Adam Smith
May 31, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: terrible
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
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Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.

When he isn’t conjuring up strange new stories or ar

Other books in the series

Emaneska (4 books)
  • Pale Kings (Emaneska #2)
  • Dead Stars - Part One (Emaneska #3)
  • Dead Stars - Part Two (Emaneska #4)
“You can't hammer in a nail with words..."
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