Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review of Herald of the Storm by Richard Ford

Herald of the StormHerald of the Storm by Richard Ford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Writing 4/5
Imagination 4/5
Plot 4/5
Setting 3.5/5
Characters 4/5
Grimdark 4.5/5

My Overall Enjoyment 4.5/5

Goodreads Description-

Welcome to Steelhaven... Under the reign of King Cael the Uniter, this vast cityport on the southern coast has for years been a symbol of strength, maintaining an uneasy peace throughout the Free States. But now a long shadow hangs over the city, in the form of the dread Elharim warlord, Amon Tugha. When his herald infiltrates the city, looking to exploit its dangerous criminal underworld, and a terrible dark magick that has long been buried once again begins to rise, it could be the beginning of the end.
I wish I stuck with this last year because it's great. After a bit of a slow start, which was why I set it aside last year, the different story-lines really hooked me and I found myself anxiously turning pages awaiting what happens next. I think there are 5 main characters, and with the exception of one of them, which was well done just not for me, I enjoyed them all immensely which is rare for me. Even in ASoIaF, I might like half the viewpoint characters and could just as soon leave the rest. I most enjoyed the apprentice magicker Waylian because through him we learn a lot about the history of the world and how magic has played a part. The scene with the Archmages was one of my favorites and it included my other favorite character, the "herald" who was really mysterious but had too few scenes. I would be interested in learning more about him.

Overall pretty grim world and characters, excellently written actions scenes, some unexpected twists, characters you thought might become good that didn't and ones you thought wouldn't did, and all of the characters threads converged to a believable and satisfying conclusion while setting up for what I hope will be a long series. The worldbuiding was good, just right for a reader who doesn't want to invest a huge chunk of time learning religions, factions, tribes, etc in yet another epic tome, as was the magic system, which I enjoyed exploring. This book has a sword and sorcery feel to me, less emphasis on the world and more on the characters, not at all to say the former was lacking, but it seemed pretty character driven. The writing is great and I flew through this book, it was very fun and easy to read. Great character and place names which always increases my reading enjoyment. This is the third time this year that giving a book a second try has paid off huge. The second book in this series comes out later this year, The Shattered Crown and I can't wait to read more Richard Ford!

Highly recommended! If the first few chapters seem a little slow, don't give up. It is well worth sticking with it for this excellent book. Grimdark readers should enjoy this book. It is a bit less grimdark than some others so those new to the genre should enjoy but it also has the brutalness that typifies the genre. The following video captures the feel for this book very well.

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