A sword-and-sorcery novel that features alternative universes, characters in medieval-esque garb, magic, and heroic, cataclysmic struggles.
The hero for most of the book is Aeven Lionrose, though some chapters feature August Lor’odin and Arma Lionrose, his supposed siblings. Aeven, a knight-turned-mercenary, is on the trail of a thief named Aneiyerin for a simple contract job. But Aneiyerin turns out to be Secladrin Gauge, a very bad piece of work indeed, and the plot, as they say, thickens. Gauge carried out the unjust hanging of Aeven’s putative father, Sir Anthrim, and as a result, it turns out that the whole future of the planet hangs in the balance—and the only warriors who can save the planet are Aeven and his doughty band. Even though they pick up stalwart allies as they slog on with their quest, they’re still outnumbered. (Readers may think of Star Wars, with its similarly impossible odds.) There once was a race called the Aor’sii, a virtuous people, but that was in the past, and the characters now deal with a fallen world, a common theme in sword-and-sorcery books (and in all epic literature). Now the heroes must defeat the evil enemies and safeguard the infant Princess Lacretia, who will carry on the line when justice is restored and the world set aright. During all of this, Scott offers timequakes, magic orbs (“Sky’UnGrael”) that can harness the energies of the cosmos, and other devices beyond imagining. In this novel, his first outing, he shows a thorough understanding of the genre. The characters are appropriately motivated, and there are a slew of them by book’s end; it’s epic, for sure. He also tries hard to make his characters appealing and often succeeds. However, the prose is simply not up to snuff, with poor word choice (including an overuse of the word “very”), clichés, and relentless, overheated drama. Readers may sometimes find themselves too overwhelmed by characters, devices, and back story to keep things straight.
Die-hard fantasy fans will probably enjoy this uneven tale more than general readers.