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Welcome to the Alithoras universe brought by resourceful author Robert Ryan. Robert takes us to a weird and wonderful ride. Excellent storyline, teeth gripping action and suspense, and a story you don't want to end. I have found the following passages very well written and attractive:
1. Aranloth is in death-sleep where dreams meet magic.
2. Savanest summons the dead from the depths of a lake.
3. Savanest uses sorcery to transform one of his warriors into a were-hound.
4. Kubodin talks about the history of his people, of their religion and magic, and of the magic contained in his axe.
5. Ferla talks about the essence of propaganda and revolutionary emotion.
6. Savanest spirit walks and appears before Ferla, Asadan and Kubodin.
7. Through meditation, Ferla spirit-walks towards Savanest camp.
8. Night at Faladir city. Menendril and Caludreth go out and topple a king's statue and leave a revolutionary message. They fight attacking eludraks.
9. With the help of Aranloth, Ferla runs away from Savanest and escapes the spirit world.
10. Using the sorcery of the Morleth Stone, Savanest transforms his warriors into were-hounds and other were-beasts.
11. Menendil is almost seduced by the truly irresistible charms of an eludrak.
12. Battle with the were-beasts.
I cannot leave this review, without mentioning the elegance used by Robert Ryan when dealing with the feeling of love. Two of his protagonists, Faran and Ferla, love each other. There is sexual tension and emotional tension too. But the love never explodes into passion. It remains unconfessed and stays as still one more element in the suspense that characterizes this epic fantasy story.
I've enjoyed the series so far even though there's nothing particularly new in terms of plot. The author has done an excellent job of maintaining interest throughout and the pacing is very good as well. The only blemish, if you can call it that, is the author's constant confusion regarding past and present tense. Over and over he fails to opt for the proper usage. It's not fatal to the book's entertainment value, but it's jarring when encountered and interrupts the flow. He either needs instruction in proper use of tense, or he needs to employ an editor with facility in its use.
Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2020
Started a little slow but then went into high adventure mode with plenty of heart pounding action. My only disappointment was how fast it ended, seemed like it just got rolling and then was over. No real cliff hanger thank goodness but story is obviously still on the middle of the good versus evil war with much more to come. I will be anxiously awaiting the next installment. I was torn between four and five stars but went with four due to the somewhat slow start and what felt like a bit of an abrupt ending but was really enjoying the heck out of the story right before it suddenly ended so would go with four and a half stars if I could do that.
The universe he's created is fun, and even if it's YA, the books are enjoyable at any age. However, it's the fourth book, and it's getting long in the tooth. His previous series have been trilogies, and I think the change is revealing some pacing problems.
I am definitely a fan of noble bright fantasy. This definitely has undertones reminiscent of Tolkien but this author has made it his own! These books are never long enough for me but he writes them quickly so I can persevere!