Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Twilight Reign #1

The Stormcaller

Rate this book
Isak is a white-eye, feared and despised in equal measure. Trapped in a life of poverty, hated and abused by his father, Isak dreams of escape, but when his chance comes, it isn't to a place in the army as he'd expected. Instead, the Gods have marked him out as heir-elect to the brooding Lord Bahl, the Lord of the Fahlan.
Lord Bahl is also a white-eye, a genetic rarity that produces men stronger, more savage and more charismatic than their normal counterparts. Their magnetic charm and brute strength both inspires and oppresses others.
Now is the time for revenge, and the forging of empires. With mounting envy and malice the men who would themselves be kings watch Isak, chosen by Gods as flawed as the humans who serve them, as he is shaped and moulded to fulfil the prophecies that are encircling him like scavenger birds. The various factions jostle for the upper hand, and that means violence, but the Gods have been silent too long and that violence is about to spill over and paint the world the colour of spilled blood and guts and pain and anguish . . .

438 pages, Paperback

First published March 16, 2006

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Tom Lloyd

28 books426 followers
Tom Lloyd was born in 1979 and showed almost no interest in writing until the age of eighteen. I blame the teachers myself.

Nevertheless he did eventually find himself with a long summer to spare before university, and decided to start a novel when it was suggested he get a job to pass the time. This tells you much of what there is to know about him. The rest can be derived from the fact that he first had the idea of writing a book to annoy a schoolfriend by getting published before him.

No, honestly; he's actually that shallow.

It was swiftly apparent that this was not the quick route to fame and fortune that he’d hoped for. The first sign of this was the realisation that being good at writing was required, but he managed to surprise everyone by not giving up on something he didn’t show immediate promise in.

Studying Politics and International Relations at Southampton University had very little appreciable effect on him, beyond giving him a couple of ideas for future novels, but that was largely due to spending most of those three years in London shacked up with the god-daughter of an Asian dictator. Upon leaving university he decided – along with what seemed like half of all other graduates, some of whom had had the temerity to study English – that doing “book stuff” sounded like a fun alternative to working out what sort of job he wanted to do. There was also the intriguing suggestion of literary talent being passed on by some osmosis-like process. As a result of a little work experience at Simon and Schuster - combined with some shameless flirting with the HR manager - he got a job as an editorial assistant on the Scribner list, which allowed him to mistype letters to a whole host of talented writers.

Certain luminary examples there made it clear that before he became a fantasy editor he was going to have to spend several years iron-cladding his liver. Towards this goal, he decamped to the A M Heath Literary Agency by way of Random House, which was silly because walking down Longacre would have been a lot quicker, to work in foreign rights while also freelancing for writersservices.com and constantly revising what was slowly becoming The Stormcaller.

A three year litany of madcap adventures in the crazy world of agenting ensued, but it would be far too time-consuming to detail any of that so suffice to say that his hangover cleared sufficiently one morning in 2004 for him to realise that he wasn’t quite so bad at writing now. Maybe there was something to this osmosis thing after all - although if that’s true Katie Fforde and Dave Hill might get a surprise at the effect they’d had.

Securing the services of John Richard Parker at MBA Literary Agents proved a surprisingly painless experience – despite being previously rejected by one of John’s colleagues, which just goes to show how persistent one has to be – and soon he was sat in the office of Jo Fletcher at Gollancz trying to persuade her how much of a geek he was. After four years as contracts manager at Blake Friedmann Literary Agency he decided he didn't like other authors that much so he swapped his dark corner of Camden for one at Atlantic Books where it quickly became apparent that he prefers winning arguments to scruples.

Writing part-time, also known as watching loads more TV, he also manages to play a little sport in between trips to the pub and battering his next book - into a semblance of shape.

http://tomlloyd.livejournal.com/ http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?...

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
865 (25%)
4 stars
1,241 (36%)
3 stars
921 (26%)
2 stars
300 (8%)
1 star
119 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 165 reviews
Profile Image for Phoenixfalls.
147 reviews79 followers
September 29, 2010
This first novel does show some promise, but overall there were too many missteps, large and small, for me to really enjoy it. The missteps fall into a couple categories: first, problems with authorial control over the narrative, and second, aspects of the book that I object to but other readers may not.

In the first category, I had four problems with the narrative. First, Lloyd was not consistent with point of view. The book was written with an omniscient narrator that jumped from character to character all over the map. These jumps in perspective almost always were accompanied by a jump to a new scene and the reader was cued in to them by a line or chapter break. However, at random points in the narrative Lloyd also jumped to a new character within the same scene -- which is a perfectly acceptable authorial tactic, but the reader HAS to be given a clue in the first sentence of the new perspective to avoid confusion. Several times when this happened, I only caught on that he had switched perspectives after he had already switched back. Making this even more difficult was the fact that most of the characters performing actions away from the main narrative of Isak's maturation were never properly introduced or placed in their larger context. Even using the index of characters at the back (which was organized alphabetically, rather than usefully by tribe or race) I still have no clue who some of the "bad" characters are -- I don't know what tribe they belong to; I don't even know if they are human, elf, god, or some other race; I don't know if anyone else even knows of them.

Second, the characters were very inconsistent. Isak starts the novel as the requisite young boy from a humble background that is chosen by the gods and destined for great things, and he is still pretty much that same person at the end of the book -- juvenile, petulant, short-tempered. But there are about 150 pages in the middle where is a different person altogether: practical-minded, unemotional, wise, and somehow good at politics even though he states at various other points that he refuses on principle to wheeling and dealing and obeying the forms of etiquette. The whole idea of the white-eyes was very inconsistent throughout as well; they are introduced as beings created by the gods to be leaders of men, and therefore given superhuman strength, speed, size, and charm. We see the strength, speed, and size (at length), but the charm is shown exactly once at the very beginning. Now in my opinion, even in a warrior-driven culture like this one appears to be, it is the charm that would be most important in forming a leader, and the short-temper that apparently also goes along with being a white-eye would be a significant stumbling block (and therefore not one the gods would have included).

Third, the pacing was extremely uneven. There were quite a few battle scenes, and those moved along so quickly that I had trouble keeping track of what was going on; there were dialogue-driven scenes that actually were quite interesting (though I wished there was some humor in the book; I get tired of grim men doing grim things); and then there were stretches 50 pages long or more where no one was doing anything at all and I was so bored that I put the book down in the middle of a paragraph to do chores.

Fourth, the descriptive passages made little sense. There were pages and pages of descriptions of clothing and livery (and anyone who thinks that clothing is a purely female fascination is hereby disproved decidedly); the fact that Isak shaved his head was practically hammered into my brain; but I never got any sense at all for the landscape or the people. I wanted a map to fill me in on the geography (and normally I'm not a reader that pays attention to maps in books), but I doubt the publisher would have been able to find someone to draw one, because there were no clues in the text. At the end of the novel I still have no idea if the terrain was mountainous or flat, forests or plains, or even if there was any weather -- which is very peculiar, since the god most of the characters worship is the god of storms.

All those were problems that I think any reader would find with Lloyd's narrative. I found four other aspects of the narrative objectionable, but other readers may not be bothered by them.

First, Lloyd belongs to a new generation of male fantasy authors that wants to appear enlightened, but deep down is just as white-male oriented as fantasy authors of 60 years ago. He mentions that there are tribes that are brown-skinned -- but they are far away, not powers in the land, and have no actual relevance to the story. He has a female supporting character that is a trusted adviser to the hero and respected by all the other characters, and he states (as if defending himself) that intelligent women are sought out as wives by powerful men because they can run the estates and help their men succeed in politics -- but there are no women in the book. In five pages of cast list there are seven women (not counting the goddesses, who are still outnumbered by the gods and who none of the characters actually worship). There is a mention of female white-eyes, but apparently there aren't any in any of the armies. There is a mention of town whores, but even they aren't ever shown. Handily, white-eyes kill their mothers in childbirth, so Isak doesn't even have a mother to remember. A female author could never simply erase men from her worlds, but plenty of male fantasy authors still give no thought to where women would be.

Second, it is very much a black and white struggle. There are obviously evil characters -- they're the ones raising the dead and sacrificing soldiers to daemons. Everyone else is good, and what's more, everyone else agrees with each other on the proper course of action. There is no politics, despite what Isak whines about; there is absolutely no evidence that there is such a thing as dissent. Anyone that doesn't agree with what Isak and Lord Bahl believe is a traitor or a necromancer. Everyone who does agree with Isak and Lord Bahl also agrees on exactly what must be done -- no one ever thinks that maybe they are mistaken in their actions, or even misinformed in any respect. And apparently Lesarl knows everyone and everything in the world, and is completely informed as to their motivations and even what THEY know about everyone else. It's very handy to have such an effective spy network, but I've never believed one could actually exist.

Third, the mythical aspects of the world seemed rather jumbled. There were apparently elves, trolls, dragons, unicorns, harlequins, and gods, but I never got a sense for what role any of those races of beings played in the world. Were they common or uncommon? Intelligent or not? Human or not, in the case of harlequins? Actually, were the white-eyes human or not? They apparently cannot breed with regular humans, which would tend to make me think they are no longer human, but it is not something addressed in the text.

Finally, the book had absolutely no sense of humor. It is full of grim purpose, and "looming presences" as Time Out mentions, but I cannot call a world realistic if no one ever cracks a smile. Even LotR, which every fantasy author since seems to want to emulate, takes a break from its battle between good and evil to smoke a pipe, tell stories, and joke. How am I supposed to enjoy the characters when they so clearly don't enjoy themselves?

Given all this, I doubt I will be picking up any of the sequels to this novel, but ten years from now if Lloyd is still around and getting rave reviews I may try him again to see if he's gotten any better.
Profile Image for Jason.
1,179 reviews256 followers
April 30, 2016
4.5 Stars

After my reread, I have kept my rating the same. There is a lot to like about this story. Isak is a complex and sometimes scary protagonist. The book is somewhat long but it is paced well and it never felt dragged out. I wanted a second read through as I want to move on with the series. I needed the second reread to remember and familiarize myself with the people, the places, and the plot.

The Stormcaller was worth my time again...

Original review.....................................................................

Tom Llyod's Twilight Reign series has been in my reading queue for many years, I just never made the time to start it. Finally, I devoured book one, and loved every minute of it. This mature dark fantasy does not read like a first. It is gritty, dirty, and quite imaginative. Sure this book is the typical coming of age story of our main protagonist Iask, but it is done in a dark world and centers on a pretty bad ass man. Isak is a Whiteeye, a very large, angry, magically adept loner, who has a short fuse of a temper, and a passion for violence and killing.

The magic in this story, although not really explained or defined, is a treat in that it is violent and scary. Isak is a war Mage and even cooler yet, he is also a Mage-Smith, but he does not realize it.

Iask is a fully realized hero that Llyod does a great job at filling him out. He gives us enough to like and to cheer for, all the while balancing it with his darker, uncontrollable, killer side. I liked him from the start.

I liked the supporting cast. Lord Bahl was a larger than life force for Isak to deal with and to bond with. This somewhat long novel reads fast even though it really is not all action and fighting.

I really enjoyed this first book in the series and fans of Dark Fantasy and authors like Joe Abercrombie will sure find alot to like here...
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,004 reviews2,597 followers
January 27, 2014
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.blogspot.com/201...

I have to say I did things a little bit backwards when it came to this series. It all started with The God Tattoo, Tom Lloyd's anthology of stories from the Twilight Reign that I read last year. Needless to say, I enjoyed it very much. Furthermore, it made me want to explore everything else this world had to offer, so when Pyr gave me the opportunity to read and review The Stormcaller, the first book of the series that began it all, I very enthusiastically accepted.

That collection of tales had given me a taste of the Twilight Reign universe, and piqued my interest with its promise of a dark and epic fantasy. Here was the world I had been introduced to, one of white-eyes, ancient deities and terrible magic. Now I was finally able to see the wider context, getting the full depth of the story filled with gods and demons, clandestine politics and violent clashes between warring peoples. I feel like what I'd gotten from the anthology was just a nibble. And here, this was the whole cake.

Born into a life of poverty, our main protagonist Isak is a white-eye, a genetic rarity known to make those with the condition bigger, stronger, and more aggressive. Feared and mistrusted by those around him, Isak had resigned to the fact that he would never be accepted, until fate intervenes and raises him to a position of power as the heir to the Lord of the Fahlan. In some ways, I feel the book comprises of several distinct parts, and this section of the story would be the first of them, focusing on Isak's transition from a simple peasant to someone with status.

Now, while it's true that a lot of fantasy stories begin this way, I thought Isak's background was a big part of what set his tale apart. For one thing, I find the lore and history behind white-eyes fascinating. Purported to be stronger, faster and more charming than normal men because they are god-touched and divinely chosen to be leaders, white-eyes are still no less shunned and despised by many. Because of this, Isak has to prove himself twice over to satisfy his detractors.

Regrettably, I also think this part of the book was the most difficult to get through. As Isak learns the ropes, this section of the story is mostly filled with descriptions of the things he learns and the people he meets, and it's the most slow-moving part of the story. Add to that, the writing style took some time for me to get used to. I thought the prose came across rather stark and ponderous, and while I wouldn't say I disliked the writing, it still felt like it was missing something -- lightness or emotion, perhaps, though to be fair, the story is meant to be quite dark and heavy. To get through this first part of the book, I did feel I had to work at it.

The action didn't come until later, but I have to say the plot picks up considerably once we follow Isak and his people into war against the elves. This section of the story is driven by several pitched battles, and here the author also starts fleshing out his world in earnest, giving it history and depth. As the layers were filled in one by one (culture, religions, politics, etc) I finally began to feel the full weight of the Twilight Reign universe.

I ended up loving the second half of this novel. It encompassed the final section of the story, in which Isak travels to Narkang with his retinue, and they meet the celebrated King Emin. I won't deny this probably had to do with having read The God Tattoo first; Emin was a character that featured prominently in a couple of the stories in the anthology, and so in a way, I felt like I already knew him and had a good grasp of the setting of Narkang. And lastly, this part of the book also featured the climax of the final battle, which was a great way to bring everything to a close.

All told, it took me a while to read The Stormcaller, partly because it's such a long book but also because I had to settle in to the writing style. Still, I enjoyed this one. I may have come to this series in a roundabout way, but further exploring a world that fascinated and intrigued me was so worth it.
Profile Image for THE BIBLIOPHILE (Rituranjan).
523 reviews75 followers
July 28, 2020
A complex epic fantasy that's gritty and has a brooding quality. The narrative is quite dense, as we are thrown into the world quite abruptly without any explanation. While I enjoyed reading the story, I can't say that I loved it. May be it's because this is the first book, or may be I wasn't quite hooked into the grand tale that Lloyd is trying to tell. However, I firmly believe that the book has potential to carry on and establish itself a strong imaginative epic fantasy series besides the masterworks of the genre.

In terms of worldbuilding this book somewhat goes into a misty niche between the LOTR and WOT. Lloyd draws from a number of tropes and subverts them to fit his narrative. There is the backdrop of an ancient magical war, the chosen ones, gods & immortals, a dragon, elves, trolls, sorcery, and all the standard elements of classic epic fantasy. I would have liked a more detailed map of the world, and, I've to say that the map is of very poor quality, an amateur work.

Lloyd's writing is elegant in fact. He isn't overly descriptive, neither poetically indulgent while dealing with the mythology, or the emotional spectrum of the story. The action was well written in my opinion. Lloyd captures the chaotic bloodshed and violence and war in a grim way. He doesn't go into details, but paints the scene with a few broad strokes that gives a very pretty (?) picture of the situation. I also enjoyed the political machinations, conspiracies that was weaved into the grand narrative, which I believe will have wide scale ramifications.

Regarding characters, I will say that I disliked the protagonist. Isak is a white-eye, a sort of a mutant blessed by the gods with power, magic, and strength. Isak is one arrogant asshole. Okay, he had a abusive father, but, after a change of fortune, coming into power, he frequently throws his temper tantrums, not to mention he is cold-blooded killer. I didn't care about him a twit. Lord Bahl was more interesting than him. But, sadly he doesn't remain in the picture for long. I liked the side characters more. Tila was beautiful and has a strength of her own. Count Vesna was charming with a dose of humor. Mihn and Carel, I would like to see them in action more. King Emin is intriguing, and I would love to know more about him. Other than that, I don't find anyone worth mentioning in this book.

This is a big book bordering on some 500 pages, and it definitely took some time while getting into it. Lloyd keeps building the tension, and some mysteries are kept hanging until the end. This makes the pacing of the story quite good, and, as epic fantasy it's justified in terms of the overarching plot, because this first book just scratched the surface of a world that has tons of secrets, lore, undiscovered history, and the prophecy is just beginning. I'll definitely be reading the rest of the books.
Profile Image for Daniel Kelly.
Author 2 books124 followers
January 16, 2021
If you were looking for a book to make you fall in love with fantasy again, this is it. I really can't express how much I enjoyed this book except to say that 6-7 years after reading it, it's still sits on top of my favourite books pile alongside tolkiens children of hurin, Lawrence red sister and Robert Jordan's series. And that is some high company

#audible - #thestormcaller by Tom Lloyd 5 🌟

I first read this book about 12 years ago, randomly finding it in chapters bookstore sometime after it was released and listening to it on audible now the same thing strikes me, if this had been properly marketed and promoted, it would stand today seen as one of the greatest fantasy series ever written. Unfortunately because audible wasn't standard when this was released, only the first book is availableon audible
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,548 reviews2,934 followers
December 1, 2018
Not going to lie, I DNF-ed this at about 80% and I was pretty underwhelmed. I think that there was a distinct lack of connection to the main character and I found myself just not caring about what happened in the story because it was so underwhelming. I know this is a book I have wanted to get to for ages, so maybe I built it up a bit on my head, but personally it just didn't wow me and I can't say I would recommend it hugely.
I would probably still try the author's later work as I believe this was his debut, but I couldn't get into this even with the audio version too. Oh well!
Profile Image for Kati.
1,710 reviews64 followers
March 28, 2009
I had to re-read this one for work-related purposes and I have to say that the second time around, I liked it much better. I mean, there are still too many characters/places and it's hard to keep track of who is who and related to whom and why but the story itself is rather intriguing and I really liked Isak, Vesna and Mingh and even Lord Bahl himself. It's a good book and I hope that the rest of the "The Twilight Reign" series will be just as good and that the author will actually use all the characters and plotlines that he introduced and weave them together somehow in the end.
Profile Image for Mike.
656 reviews41 followers
February 27, 2009
Full review at my blog.

Tom Lloyd’s Stormcaller, the first book in the Twilight Reign series first saw publication in the U.K. in March….of 2006. If my previous rants haven’t hammered home the disparity between the U.K. and American fantasy market maybe that will. I don’t know. Regardless The Stormcaller is a fascinating entry into the fantasy genre that sparkles with originality while at the same time paying homage to the works that have come before. The story centers around Isak, a white-eye, a creature touched by the gods and gifted with superhuman strenght, speed, and other magical abilities but cursed with a quick temper. Isak, as it turns out is the Chosen of Nartis, the hunter god and chosen deity of the Farlan people, and thus is heir to the enigmatic and powerful Lord Bahl. But there are greater things afoot and Isak finds himself drawn into a web of prophecy and power.

4 reviews
July 10, 2009
Excellent debut novel by an upcoming fantasy writer in Tom Lloyd, his writing style during battle scenes was immense. Incorporating everything you could imagine into the battle.

This book has everything you expect from a fantasy book. Witches, daemons, magic, gods, politics, the list goes on. Its all in there, the only problem I found with the book was the sheer amount of characters that were introduced, perhaps too many, making it hard to keep with who was from where and doing what. But if you can get past this small issue then the rest of the book is outstanding.

I never wanted to put this down, it starts on a high, and just keeps on getting higher. And the ending, wow! Lloyd has set up an epic for his second book, which I am about to go out and buy. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Overall, an outstanding debut from a young, British author. Lets hope the second book lives up to the same level of the first...
Profile Image for Jay Zes.
50 reviews7 followers
October 21, 2014
This book was written in 2006.
It has slipped past the media despite how amazing it truly is.
High fantasy is a very challenging genre but this one sails through. 1 lac 75th words, and I was still hooked.
There are flaws, certainly. But not enough for me to disregard the ambition and expanse of the story.
If you love fantasy, I would highly recommend this one.
One of my new favourites.
Profile Image for M.D. Lachlan.
Author 13 books152 followers
November 18, 2013
A rattling good fantasy tale. If you're looking for fantasy, this is it. Magic, gods, prophecy, intertwining plots, big battles. Top stuff.
Profile Image for Laura.
170 reviews9 followers
February 14, 2010
The Stormcaller is the debut of Tom Lloyd, and first in his Twilight Reign series. It takes place in a world of Gods amongst men, fantastical creatures, epic battles, magic, prophecies, and temperamental deities.
The story begins with Isak, a white-eye (a powerful race created by the Gods to lead the people) who is born stronger, faster, and more charismatic than humans; a natural leader of men. Hated by his father, feared by his peers, and treated like a slave, Isak dreams of becoming a soldier in the army of the Lord of the Farlan. His life changes when he is chosen by the Gods to become the heir to the throne, destined to defend and protect the people with his life. The only problem is that white-eyes are born with an unnatural temper and an inner rage that Isak is finding harder to control day by day.
The modern fantasy genre is crowded with box-breaking, convention-subverting writers such as Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch. New and gritty areas of fantasy are being explored, steering it away from the archetypes used by JRR Tolkein, and in its place leaving broken characters who are raw, bloodied, and complex.
Tom Lloyd’s attempt to emulate their success fails miserably. The Stormcaller tries too hard and too earnestly to be dark and twisted. Instead, Lloyd has produced a work that is a strange amalgam of cookie-cutter fantasy (bitter old mentor- check; a beautiful maiden- check; swashbuckling companion- check; a prophecy- check) and interesting ideas poorly executed.
The savage nature of the white-eyes is an intriguing concept that never reaches the heights of brutality it promises. Isak is more like a whiney teenager than a powerful being with an apocalyptic inner rage, and one can’t help but wonder what an author more inventive would have done with such an idea.
The world that Lloyd has created is complex, but poorly delivered. After reading 300 pages, I still had no idea who was who, nor a good understanding of how Isak’s world works. Characters are introduced then immediately disappear, great battles are built up to fizzle out, and romances are developed just for Lloyd to change his mind half way through. Events aren’t given time to breathe, whizzing by so fast that they are meaningless, and what should be dramatic moments are instead underwhelming. It left me feeling lost and frustrated, and I threw the book across the room more than once.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Melanie.
398 reviews70 followers
March 9, 2014
After starting this book nearly two months ago, I finally forced myself to sit down and read it properly to finish it off, and I think the main problem I have with this book can be summed up quite easily: it's too big.

Now, I don't mean that it's too long. Or rather, I don't just mean it was too long. There was too many threads, too much going on, and you're thrown into a great big world without enough knowledge. There are things and people and places and stuff and terms which were introduced with little or no background or explanation, and this happened a lot. It got to the point that I wouldn't even try and work out what something was if I couldn't remember it. Though, to be fair, this maybe wouldn't have been such a problem if I hadn't been reading it in such a piecemeal fashion.

I appreciate that Tom Lloyd is trying to create an intricate story, but I think it could have been done much better. He's trying to show not tell, which is commendable, but when the telling plops you down in some unknown place with a whole bunch of unknown (or "once mentioned in passing") people doing unknown things for unknown reasons it's just confusing. Some authors can do this (Brandon Sanderson comes to mind), but this time around it just didn't come off for me.

The underlying story is interesting, and I love the idea of people born with super-human abilities, and the fact that it isn't all fun and games. There are negatives: their temper, the distrust everyone else regards them with, and the fact that their very birth is fatal to their mother. With less going on, maybe concentrating this story more within the capital city (the name of which I've already forgotten) I think this would have been a lot more enjoyable, a lot less disjointed, and would have served as a better introduction to what is an interesting world. There are man and fae creatures, some familiar and some unique to the world, all of the latter inventive. There's a good mythology and a lot of thought and work has obviously gone into the background of the cultures, the Farlan especially, and the Gods and how they interact with the world.

The ending was interesting, and definitely not what I was expecting. Indeed it was almost good enough to convince me to read the next in the series. Almost. But as yet I'm undecided.
Profile Image for General Dicer.
5 reviews
October 18, 2012
This book isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it sets a fine starting point for one of the better fantasy series out there, and it is a solid novel in and of itself.
It has a great front villain in Kastan Styrax, a well-defined and 3D hero in Isak, and an angry king/mentor that manages to pull the role off without being a stereotype in Lord Bahl. The book is packed with action, magic and intrigue, and the battle scenes are smoothly written, dynamic and easy to follow.
My number one complaint with the book is that there are too many characters (a flaw that gets worse as the series moves on). Between all the dukes, lords, priests, knights, suzerains and captains, I often found myself looking for the reference that reminded me who a character was whenever he showed up, and taking the author's word for it without double-checking.
A complaint I often hear from other readers is that the magic in the book is never clearly defined in a boring sit-down-and-talk-it-out scene. I don't think this is a problem, myself. It leaves something to the imagination, unlike most modern book that have to give you every single detail about the world in one 500 page book. I personally found it refreshing to actually think about something like magic, rather than having an explanation handed to me.
As an overview though, it was a great book with huge amount of carnage, a little too much political maneuvering, and extremely few mandatory romance scenes. All-in-all, definitely worth the time and very enjoyable. The series is a must for serious fantasy readers.

General Dicer
Profile Image for Daniel Burton.
406 reviews86 followers
October 6, 2009
I was completely surprised by this book. Recommended by the guys over at http://elitistbookreviews.blogspot.com/, it sat on my bed stand for over a month before I finally got into it, and then I couldn't put it down.

Lloyd writes unlike so many other sci-fi or fantasy writers. Instead of massive info dumps filling us in on the background of the world they've created, Lloyd just hitches us to the characters like a reality cam and takes the reader along for the ride. We start to see the world, its mythology, lore, politics, and personalities first hand, in a patchwork fashion. Only occasionally does a character fill in blanks, and when it happens, it is never full or thorough, but smacks of the reality that this is how people talk, giving some information, never in encyclopedic manner, but just enough to make conversation work.

Piled into this is a colorful network of loosely connected characters, countries, creatures, and gods. Instead of the stereotypical swords and sorcery, Lloyd turns types on their head, makes his own types, and recreates old ones. All through-out, however, is the classic hero motif and the accompanying companions and wise old mentor.

It's a fun ride, and while I don't know that it will find itself in the upper echelons of fantasy fiction, it isn't due to any failure on the part of the writer. I think Lloyd is definitely showing himself to be a creative and talented pen with a future in front of him.
Profile Image for Ruth.
3,900 reviews
July 23, 2011
c2006. Fantastic, tremendous, thrilling. Count myself lucky to have found this book. Everything you could want from a speculative fiction novel, There are heroes and villians although it is difficult to tell who is who! Characters are well drawn and the world building is thorough. Loved it, loved it and there is a DRAGON! All manners of fantasy elements, gods, ghosts, elves, trolls, centaurs, witches etc are all seamlessly included in the story. This man is just a great great storyteller. I have already ordered the next one in the series as I think that Isak is going to have plenty more of experiences. (I was a bit taken aback towards the end of the book when I suddenly realised that the hero was only 18 years old! Comforting though as it leaves plenty of scope for the future. ) Highly recommended."Now he saw a powerful man with a harsh face, solid features all sharp lines and blunt corners. His brow was thick and strong, and his nose, but his features had an abrupt look, as if a craftsman had been interrupted in his work. The shape was there, the basic lines hewn with skill, but there had been no time to smooth the edges."

Profile Image for Stretch's Books.
148 reviews15 followers
November 19, 2013
Another audio book down, and another enjoyable experience. Maybe some wonder why all the books I read or listen to get 3 stars at least. Well, that is because I don't attempt to negatively impact anyone's work. Authors work hard on their work, and if I don't care for it, I keep it to myself. Now on to the review......

"The Stormcaller" is the first in a five book series from author Tom Lloyd called "The Twilight Reign", and does a good job at being just that. "The Stormcaller" does an excellent job of introducing the reader(listener) to all the characters, laying out the plot and the back story, and being entertaining at the same time.

The book is filled with brutal action, magic galore and political intrigue. There are elves and trolls, witches and mages, demons, fortunetellers, and Tom Lloyd does a terrific job of weaving it all together without the story becoming convoluted.

"The Stormcaller" is an entertaining fantasy tale. The book can get a little complicated at some points, but nothing major if the reader(listener) pays attention. Check it out.
Profile Image for Stacey O'Neale.
Author 14 books846 followers
December 21, 2012
This review was written by Michael Cummings, senior reviewer with the Fantasy Book Addict.

What could have been a four star book compromises its way up to three stars. First, the good. Tom Lloyd presents us with a world filled with gods and men, and all the fantastical tropes that walk in between. Lloyd tugs at all of the familiar strings – prophetically proclaimed saviors, curses, even vampires, and of course, the question of whether our protagonist will turn out to be the hero or the doom foretold. While a simple enough story, it is often the simple ones that speak truest to us. There is an appeal to these modern fairy tale, and Lloyd makes sure to pepper his story with just enough of these elements to intrigue us and keep us flipping pages.

You can read the rest of the review here: http://www.fantasybookaddict.com/2012...
Profile Image for Jerry.
4,631 reviews57 followers
April 15, 2012
The Stormcaller, in my opinion, was standard fantasy novel fare aside from one key difference: very vivid descriptions. The sights, sounds, sensations, and other sensory items of the fantastical land were very well-described. The only problems I had were the space-wasting format and the overuse of profanity. If you're a fantasy fan looking for something other than Harry Potter or Tolkien, you might want to check The Stormcaller out.
Profile Image for Harry.
18 reviews1 follower
October 6, 2014
The Stormcaller is a solid, old fashioned epic fantasy, in the vein of Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule. It's jam-packed with lore-based juiciness and while this isn't always delivered flawlessly it is always satisfying. An entertaining read throughout.
Profile Image for Brett Spicer.
2 reviews
February 5, 2018
I disliked this book at first. I found isak a very unlikable character but as with any good book the development of his character is excellent and I found the further I read the harder it was to put the book down.
Profile Image for Ευθυμία Δεσποτάκη.
Author 26 books217 followers
August 14, 2014
Ομολογώ ότι δεν ξέρω τι να σας πω ακριβώς γι’ αυτό.

Ξεκινάει πολύ καλά. Ο κεντρικός ήρωας, ένας έφηβος που λέγεται Isak, είναι white-eye. Πρόκειται για ανθρώπους που γεννιούνται τυχαία μέσα στον πληθυσμό, κι έχουν τρομερές ικανότητες (ψηλότεροι, πιο δυνατοί, με δυνατότητες να γίνουν μάγοι, με πολύ μεγάλη διάρκεια ζωής) αλλά και το ελάττωμα να μην μπορούν να ελέγξουν εύκολα τα νεύρα τους. Επίσης είναι οι white-eyes που επιλέγονται από τους θεούς για να διοικούν τις φυλές, και πάντα ο κάθε Lord έχει κι έναν Krann, δηλαδή έναν διάδοχο. Γενικά η κατάσταση είναι αρκετά μπερδεμένη (τουλάχιστον στο δικό μου μυαλό): Οι θεοί έχουν αποσυρθεί ( ; ) ή εξορισθεί ( ; ) από κάποιο αρχαίο μάγο-ξωτικό κι οι προφητείες -που σιγά μη δεν υπήρχαν προφητείες- λένε ότι θα γεννηθεί κάποτε ένας white-eye που θα τους επαναφέρει, ο Savior.

Και σιγά που δε μαντεύετε τη συνέχεια: ο Isak, από παραπαίδι και του κλώτσου και του μπάτσου (διότι οι white-eyes είναι μισητοί στο γενικό πληθυσμό και τους φοβούνται κι επιπλέον ο πατέρας του θέλει να τον φάει λάχανο που η μανά του πέθανε στη γέννα),επιλέγεται από το θεό του θανάτου, το Nartis να γίνει Krann της φυλής των Farlan, υπό τις διαταγές του Lord Bahl. Κι εκεί ανακαλύπτει ότι πιθανόν να είναι ο Savior που περιμένουν οι θεοί…

Από πλευράς μυθοπλασίας είναι εξαιρετικό. Είναι γεμάτο με όμορφα σημεία, με ιδέες που σε κάποιες στιγμές ζήλεψα. Από πλευράς αληθοφάνειας επίσης, είναι αρκετά καλό, κι ο κόσμος που περιγράφει είναι βαριά ψευδομεσαιωνικός, με counts, suzerains, dukes και chaperons για τις άγαμες δεσποσύνες. Η γλώσσα είναι αρκετά απλή, αλλά δεν τις λείπουν κάποιες μικρές φιοριτούρες, που όμως τη νοστιμίζουν αντί να τη βαραίνουν ή να φαίνονται παράταιρες.

Τότε λοιπόν, τι με χαλάει εμένα; Χμ. Οι διάλογοι σίγουρα. Είναι πιο ξύλινοι κι από το Δούρειο Ίππο (κάπου το είδα αυτό, δεν είναι δικό μου, αλλά δε θυμάμαι πού). Στη μέση της μάχης, οι πύλες της πόλης πάνε να κλείσουν κι ο Isak είναι απ’ έξω, πρέπει να τρέξει να προλάβει να μπει μέσα, πριν μείνει απ’ έξω και τον σφάξουν κι αυτός τι κάνει; Κουβεντούλα με μια μάγισσα, στην οποία κουβεντούλα κάθε φράση είναι 5-10 σειρές. Επίσης, όλοι μα όλοι, νέοι, γέροι και παιδιά, μιλάνε με τον ίδιο τρόπο, εκτός ίσως από την Tila, τη γυναίκα της παρέας, η οποία πού και πού κάνει μικρά τσουχτερά σχόλια. Οι άλλοι, είτε είναι χωριάτες, είτε μάγοι, είτε δούκες και κόντηδες, είτε παλιοί στρατιώτες, μιλάνε με τον ίδιο ακριβώς τρόπο, ακόμη κι ο Isak που πολλές φορές ξεχνάς ότι είναι 17 στα 18 όταν τον γνωρίζεις.

Κι ακόμη ένα πράγμα, που ίδρωσα να καταλάβω ότι είναι το κύριο πρόβλημα του βιβλίου: ο ρυθμός του. Είναι υποτονικός, κι όταν πάει να γίνει κάτι ξεπετιέται μέσα σε ελάχιστες αράδες. Μετά ο Isak θα πέσει αναίσθητος («Everything turned black», μια πολύ αγαπημένη φράση-κατακλείδα-κεφαλαίου του συγγραφέα) κι όταν ξυπνήσει θα τον έχουν σώσει οι υπόλοιποι και θα πάμε σε νέο γύρο συνομιλιών. Επίσης οι σκηνές μάχης που έχει (μια μάχη πεδίου, μια πολιορκία και μια περιγραφή γκιόστρας) είναι τρομερά έντονες, σε σημείο να μην αντέχεις να τις διαβάσεις μονοκοπανιά, να πρέπει να τις σπάσεις σε μικρότερες αναγνώσεις, γιατί τόσο η πληροφορία, όσο και το ίδιο το συναίσθημα που σου βγάζει ο σκοτωμός είναι τρομερά έντονα.

Μου άρεσε; Δεν ξέρω, υποθέτω πως ναι. Δε μου άρεσε; Θα δυσκολευτώ να διαβάσω το δεύτερο, γιατί υπολογίζω και το μαρτύριο του υποτονικού ρυθμού. Θα το πρότεινα; Ίσως, για την αληθοφάνειά του και την εκρηκτική του φαντασία.
Profile Image for Tanabrus.
1,829 reviews156 followers
July 8, 2018
Si tratta del primo libro di Lloyd, e francamente si vede.

Malgrado ci siano spunti interessanti e un progetto ambizioso, il libro presenta molte pecche che ne minano la piacevolezza. Probabilmente troppe, immagino che se fosse il primo libro che leggo di questo autore non so se mi prenderei altri suoi testi. Invece avendo già letto alcune sue opere più recenti posso dirmi rassicurato sulla sua avvenuta maturazione, e quindi confidare che già nel secondo volume della saga le cose migliorino.

La storia è un fantasy abbastanza classico, con un respiro ampio vagamente alla Robert Jordan pur essendo su un livello completamente differente.
Abbiamo promesse di epicità e di antieroi, profezie a non finire e gente che gioca sul fatto che ci sia chi crede alle profezie, tradizioni radicate, regni in guerra tra loro, divinità in contrasto tra loro e che in passato hanno combattuto con gli uomini.
Abbiamo umani, elfi, troll, draghi e un'infinità di altre razze.

Ma abbiamo tutto questo in modo caotico.

Il difetto maggiore del libro è che spesso non riusciamo a capire dove siamo e con chi siamo.
I salti verso nuovi personaggi da seguire sono repentini, senza preavviso. Se siamo fortunati la cosa avviene con l'arrivo di un nuovo capitolo (ma comunque niente indica dove saremo, invece di essere al fianco del protagonista), altrimenti può succedere anche nello stesso capitolo, alla fine di un paragrafo. E, almeno nella versione digitale, niente di niente separa il nuovo punto di vista dal precedente.
Spesso si rasenta l'incomprensibilità, e qui non è solo colpa dello scrittore esordiente, gli editor hanno latitato colpevolmente.

Poi le caratterizzazioni non sono granché, vanno bene a grandi linee ma quando si cerca di entrare più nel dettaglio si scopre che i personaggi sono abbozzati e basta. Protagonista compreso, che è sempre e solo un ragazzo immaturo dotato di grandi poteri inespressi e soggetto a sbalzi d'ira. A parte quando, in maniera apparentemente casuale, sembra avere un cervello, ragiona e pare una persona civile.

Insomma, molto buona l'idea, non altrettanto lo svolgimento. Con grande colpa di chi ha editato il testo, e di chi ha creato l'edizione digitale della storia.
Profile Image for Terri.
529 reviews252 followers
January 4, 2011
The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd. Hmm, what can I say about The Stormcaller without overtly offending the author and his fans.
You know, I too could have been a fan of this book. A big fan. My three star rating doesn't reflect that I realise, but it was not the story itself that brought that on, it was the writing.
I enjoyed, for the most part, the story of Isak. I enjoyed the world building, the characters, the creative fantasy that Lloyd has shared with us. And for that reason, I will recommend others who haven't read this book to go ahead and give it a go. Don't make your decision on whether or not to read this book based on anything I say, because I am not the easiest to please when it comes to writing quality.
And in The Stormcaller, I found the writing quality to be quite up and down.
The style of writing felt like a book the author wrote in highschool or college and then decided to rework in his twenties for publication. Now, I understand that. I do.
It is how most writers come to publish their first book. The problem with reworking the stories we wrote when we were younger is that they generally lack maturity and the finesse of life experience.
There are portions of this book that did not have that feeling. Portions that seemed written in a different hand, in a different frame of mind. The majority of the Isak (the main character) scenes were not very good, but when the author moved onto other characters the writing was more than decent.
I will read the next book in this series at some stage. I do trust that the author has the ability to write better with more experience.
Judging debut fantasy fiction books from young writers (and Lloyd was when he wrote this first instalment) can sometimes be unfair to the other books in the series as they are usually written differently. From the aspect of a grown up. This is why I don't want to slay this book and author too much. I expect he can do better and will do better as the series progresses.
Profile Image for proxyfish.
92 reviews32 followers
August 2, 2015
Reviewed on my blog - Books by Proxy

4.5 Stars

Having bought The Stormcaller a number of years ago and after reading only the first few chapters, it somehow found its way to the dark and dusty recesses of my bookcase where it has remained until resurfacing this year - an event owing more to my forgetfulness than to the quality of the writing. Following the unearthing, reading, brief vacation abandonment and ultimate completion of the first of The Twilight Reign series, I am now on a mission to track down and read them all!

The Stormcaller is, in simplistic terms, a coming of age fantasy. Isak is a White-Eye, a boy who is gifted (though most in The Land would say cursed) with superhuman strength, innate prowess in battle and more than a handful of magic. From humble beginnings, Isak's life is changed completely when he meets the legendary Lord Bahl. As he fights for the people who would have once shunned him; Elves, Dragons and the Gods themselves become embroiled in the battle to fulfil or destroy prophecy.

Tom Lloyd's debut is a gripping read which (if you ignore the part where I put it down) I couldn't put down. Though I would have enjoyed more development into the motivations of the characters in the opening chapters, the novel sets a good pace and every moment moves the story along. Similarly, I would have enjoyed pulling at the tangled web of intrigue which develops throughout the book, or being fully immersed in scenes which, though only mentioned in passing, remain crucial to the plot. But true to the pace set I was whisked along with Isak, and through blood, battles and the gathering of the storms found myself deposited at a satisfying conclusion which ultimately left me wanting more.

Now I better get my hands on The Twilight Herald.... before it slips my mind.
Profile Image for Victoria Osborne.
Author 10 books17 followers
April 26, 2014
It took me longer than usual to read this book, but I felt that the author deserved a review. Sometimes they just need more.

The bad.
single quotation marks to mark off dialogue. It makes it really difficult to read. He uses a lot of British spelling so I think he must be from England or Australia. But, as far as I know, it is still grammatically correct to use double quote ".

He has many passages of dense prose that you must struggle through. I found those lumps, with paragraphs two pages long, jolted me out of the book and I found myself daydreaming while I read.

The growth of the protagonist, Isak, was too rushed. He goes from kid and then less than a chapter later he is a great war general, and in less than a chapter, the wise leader of his group. All the while having white eyes which makes him more tempermental, and inclined to growth spurts.

The good
The story was a fun one. A young man with white eyes destined to be the savior. His struggles as he grows, and some very humorous moments kept me reading.

If you are a big fan of epic fantasies I would say this is worth the read, but due to some very bad formatting and writing decisions I can't recommend it for the casual reader. I will be keeping an eye on the author though, as he has a lot of promise.
Profile Image for Jennifer Wheeler.
535 reviews70 followers
March 18, 2016
Hated it. Too many names, titles, plot lines, etc, tossed at the reader with not enough attention given to each. The author writes as if the reader should automatically understand his veiled references to events which have happened in the past - almost written as if this wasn't the first book in the series, so the reader should be familiar. Too many inconsistencies within the rambling storyline, and many switches in character perspectives within the same chapter without warning, so the reader is left scrambling to catch up with what is going on. My final complaint, and most probably one that other readers wouldn't even have picked up on - the authors interchangeable use of the words "ground" and "floor". As far as I am concerned "floor" should be used only in the context of the characters being indoors, while the use of "ground" should indicate being outdoors. But no, quite often the author uses the word "floor" within an outdoor setting - ex "Isak fell to the floor" (not actually a direct quote) while the character is actually outdoors. I'm pretty sure my eye started twitch around the second time the author did this.
Profile Image for Rea.
702 reviews48 followers
November 9, 2010
There's been a lot of praise for this first book in a series and I can readily see where it's coming from. My only problem with the book is that the author really needs to learn to cut down on characters. I've always believed in the idea that if a character doesn't serve a specific important purpose then don't use it. I imagine that some of The Stormcaller's characters will play bigger roles in later books, but having all their names at once is just tiring and makes them all hard to keep track of. For example, an antagonist's name that's introduced relatively early on in the story makes another appearance about half way through and by that time I had absolutely no clue who they were anymore. Five pages worth of names in your character list (most only taking one line) = bad idea.

I will, in time, read the next book in the series. First, however, my brain needs a bit of time to recuperate!
Profile Image for Wolfgarr.
272 reviews17 followers
December 6, 2015
This book is sadly a jumbled mess of incompleteness.. The author jumps from character to character like he was throwing darts randomly at a white board with said characters names on it. In some cases leaving you wondering what the hell just happened when he does so.

Case in point.. Isak is brought to see a guy who is going to test him. Room blows up and he has a nimbus of light above his head. poof off to a completely totally different group of characters and the book never explains why the room blew up etc... like it never happened.

I do not usually rate a book 1 star..even bad ones. I only do this for books that i just couldn't finish due to such poor writing.
Profile Image for Vince.
172 reviews4 followers
October 13, 2012
This series has been on my to-read lists for years, but for one reason or another....
Had a difficult time with the first half until I realized this is the first of five and that this is the "ground work" for the following books. Lots of people, but by the end, you're have the story lines down. In review of the rest, it seems the praise for each keeps rising! I like Lloyd's writing and his ability to let you into the character's head as well as what they're actually doing. Guess I'll give The Twilight Herald a go.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 165 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.