Ah the difficult second book. More like the horrendously difficult second-half of the second book - no one warns you about that!
This trilogy is tightAh the difficult second book. More like the horrendously difficult second-half of the second book - no one warns you about that!
This trilogy is tightly knitted in its time frame. It's the Lord of the Rings model, so really one giant story broken into three. I knew where to begin the series. I knew where to end it. That bit in the middle though....
They say that good writing can only come from adversity, and this book was certainly more of a challenge than the first. In part, I believe this was the case because I was growing and learning. I tried to push myself further, dig deeper, edit more critically. I think it was all worth it.
If I can build and improve this much with every book, I'll be a very happy author :)...more
Darnuir made many mistakes. Death is his redemption. Reborn, and secretly raised by humans, this former dragon prince must become the king his past-seDarnuir made many mistakes. Death is his redemption. Reborn, and secretly raised by humans, this former dragon prince must become the king his past-self never was....
It wasn't until early 2017, over a year after publication, that I was able to condense this book into the above pitch. It felt strange to do so, if only because this world and story have been with me for so long. Looking back on the first shaky attempts at Dragon's Blade, I'm not sure what kept me going. God those early drafts were terrible.
I'll likely never write a book quite like this one again.
It was the first book I ever wrote and looking back there is much I'd change if I could wave a magic wand. Hindsight is glorious. But back in the summer of 2015 this was the best I could produce. I sweated, poured in tears and blood, and chased the story that had been forming in my head since I was 9 years old.
The Reborn King is very special because of that.
What has stunned me the most is that other people have loved it too. The effort all seems worth it when you hear that a school kid read this book first and then went on to read the Hobbit - frankly I can think of no higher honour.
I can only hope that years from now, people will still be coming to this story with fresh eyes and find the same enjoyment and passion in it, as I did in creating it....more
Task is a 400-year-old golem; a ‘wind cut’ stone war machine who has served countless masters and foughThis is Ben’s best book yet. Plain and simple.
Task is a 400-year-old golem; a ‘wind cut’ stone war machine who has served countless masters and fought their wars. Yet Task was always something more. His very first word, spoken just after his creation, is ‘why?’ This baffles Task’s creator:
“Fourteen golems, and you’re the first to ask ‘why’.”
And this aptly draws Task character.
Yes, he is a war machine, yes he can be brutal, but this golem has a brain inside that head and a better heart than most in his chest. Though beaten down by the magic that binds him to his masters, and very nearly numb to the world after centuries of fighting, when Task is thrown into the middle of the Hartlund civil war he begins to question again: why? Luckily for Task he is befriended by Lesky. She’s a little girl with a whoppingly large foul mouth and plenty of wit besides. Right from the get go you understand what she is all about and her stubborn attempts to befriend Task account for some of the most heart touching parts of this story. Throw in the half-drunken, shell of a legend that is Alabast, a man living in his own shadow, and you’ve got quite the solid trio of POV characters. This was just as well, for the first half of the novel is a slow simmering build towards the explosive end third. It might be a touch slow for some but I felt the characters were interesting and enough on their own to draw me in. There’s a lot to like in this regard.
I said this is Galley’s best book and this carries into the writing as well. Galley has a unique style which some might find rich but I found the prose to be his most refined yet while still maintaining that distinctiveness.
As a standalone story I wonder whether so much world building was required. It’s not overbearing but I wonder if we needed some of those foreign nations and tidbits of history added to the mix. More attention to the people of Hartlund fighting this civil war might have served better, but this is more a pondering thought than a critique. While we get a lot more information on Hartlund later on, it comes close to the end and being spread throughout the story might have helped build the intrigue about certain events which kick started the war.
There is magic in this world (obviously, there is a nine-foot talking golem running around) but it’s low key. Many will enjoy this stripped back, grittier fantasy but those who like a sprinkle of magic will find some as the book progresses. But make no mistake, this is closer to grimdark than epic or heroic fantasy. The civil war (which I like to imagine is modelled off of the English Civil War) is absolutely brutal. There is no glory in it. There are no heroes basking in it. There is only death, incompetent leadership, death, hard living, oh, and death. BUT there is laughter too. Grim laughter but the dark humour is a welcome relief throughout the novel.
If it isn’t clear already, I think the Heart of Stone is more than worth your time and money. If this is your first-time hearing about Ben Galley, then what better book to start on than a standalone story about a wind-cut golem with a tender heart.
(I was lucky enough to receive an advanced review copy of this book)...more