Top positive review
Epic adventure and a quest to save the Kingdom in Pantego! Great new Fantasy Series!
Reviewed in the United States on February 4, 2018
Web of Eyes is a new offering from the combined talents of Rhett C. Bruno and Steve Beaulieu writing as Jaime Castle and Rhett Bruno. This is the first book in The Buried Goddess Saga, and it is extremely well written, engaging, and does not disappoint.
Readers are taken to the Glass Kingdom in Pantego, where Great King Liam lies dying. The Queen, a bride stolen from a heathen land of sorcerers to the far North, the Drav Cra, which King Liam once conquered, is a beauty, but by no means a leader. Queen Oleander bore the great king a son to continue the lineage, but her treacherous brother, Redstar the sorcerer steals the child’s soul talisman, and sets the scene for this first adventure and quest in Pantego.
Main Character Torsten Unger is the Wearer of White, the Captain of the King’s Shieldsmen, a huge dark-skinned knight. Like Worf the Klingon, a man of absolute honor. King Liam took him in as a child hooligan and raised him. Whitney is a rogue and a thief; quick tongued, quick witted, and fast-fingered. He decides in a bored and drunken moment, in a bet with a dwarf, to try to steal the dying king’s crown. Along the way they encounter Whitney’s childhood friend, Sora, a sort of witch-in-training with some pretty handy skills developing. Some of Whitney’s comments, quirks and dialogues are laugh out loud good; they will definitely remind readers of sharp-tongued characters that Lindsay Buroker writes. Not to be missed.
The Pantheon for the land of Pantego is very interesting and well-crafted by the authors, rich and complex, including God theories, creation tales, legends and prophecies, and some real live magic thrown in.
The story moves along at a pretty good pace after setting up the characters and the scenario. It is a little slow at first to get through as you start to see who the characters are, what the lay of the land is, and what the meaning of it all is. But it is not boring by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it tedious. It is engaging, absorbing, well-paced and interesting. About halfway through the book Rhett and Steve kick in the afterburners, superchargers and turbo, and it takes off like a Donzi speedboat at full throttle. Hold on! What a ride!
It really starts moving from interesting, absorbing, wanting to know who lives, what happens next, will the kingdom be saved to Whoa, Baby! The pace accelerates to breakneck can’t-put-it-down-going-to-lose-sleep speed.
This book represents a newer genre and a really interesting change of pace and direction for the collaboration between the two authors. I am a huge fan of Rhett Bruno for his story telling ability, his literary prowess and his skills as a sci-fi author. It just is stunning to me that the same mind and keyboard that brought us The Circuit Trilogy and the Titanborn series can change gears, worlds, millennia and genres and still produce excellent prose.
Steve Beaulieu for me I will admit has been hot and cold. I have liked some things by Steve, others not so much. But this collaboration admittedly seems to bring out the best in both authors. I am not typically a fan of fantasy nearly as much as I am a fan of hard science fiction, military sci-fi and space opera. I’m from the Heinlein/Simak/Asimov era, to be sure. But I have long been a fan of Tolkien, LeGuin, Pratchett, McCaffrey and many others, and I can certainly appreciate good writing and world and character building when I experience it. Jamie Castle and Rhett Bruno have accomplished that. The book is a success. And you will quickly find yourself a fan of Steve Beaulieu.
If Amazon allowed decimals I would give it a 4.5 star. Alas, it does not so I plant my flag at 4, not 5 stars. While the prose is clean and engaging and the editing good, I see some room for improvement in this author collaboration duo – and a lot of promise.
For me the litmus test is three-fold: Did I enjoy it? Was it engaging and believable? Did it make me want more and want to know what happens next? The answer to all of these questions for me is yes. Lastly, would I buy the next book? And the answer here is yes again.
So: Should you buy it?
The book is on sale right now, and at a ridiculous less-than-a-cup-of-coffee price for something that leaves me thinking and wanting more for a long time. I really do want to know more about the characters, the lands, the Gods, the magic, and especially, since we’re left on a wee-bit of a cliffhanger, what happens next! So, dear reader, there are a lot more stories to be told about Torsten and Pantego. There’s a lot of promise to Whitney and Sora. And many, many questions about what will befall the embattled Kingdom of Glass.
Jaime Castle and Rhett Bruno will only get better as an author and story teller, and so they will go from good – very good - to great in my opinion. Get it.