Yarrh! If it isn't another of them sword and slash and cut and run epic fantasies.....
Now this really is up my street. I love epically laden stories....Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, The Iron Fey series.....too many to mention really.
Hegemonian, by Tom Reinhart, was one of two books I won in a giveaway. Now, in approaching my own take on the genre with Stormling, I had the same fears as Tom, and still do, in that 'would I do the genre justice'.
It's a big worry. If you are writing a book that could be shelved alongside JRR Tolkien's works, dang....you better be good.
So where does Tom's book stack up?
I'll admit that the last fantasy I read of this kind was Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind and....I couldn't finish it, friends. I really tried to like it, but it fell on its face, I am sorry to say.
From the off, Tom gets us into the action straight away. There's a view that maybe you have to world build from the off, and of course, you can. But our hero, Lucan, is a fighter, a warrior, a savage, a nobleman. And does he know how to use a sword.
The initial chapters feature bloody encounters which were a little strong for me (given I wrote a horror...hello pot, hello kettle!!) but it is in the context of the story. We cannot expect Lucan to wander the lands without anything happening. It's clear that this book is not the total story, and that there is more to come. Good...because this story uses the fantasy genre to its full strength, mixing in the kind of creatures I would struggle to detail...like minotaurs, for instance!
Tom's writing is easy to follow but I don't mean that in a demeaning way. This is an author who has a handle on his subject, and I commend him for writing different book genres in this, also Das Vampyr (go team fang!) and Saint Monolith (which I am currently reading).
Naturally, we can't cheer for Lucan unless he has a total nutjob to face off against, and in Vargas, we have our man.
What happens in the end? Does Lucan win, and what does he do then? Sit on the spoils of his victory? Or seek more adventures. Yaarrrh...I'm your huckleberry....let's go on another adventure then.
This is a great tale, and I think I'd give it the full five stars if not for the bloody detail in the book. I get it...it's in context, but I think younger readers might balk at reading this because of the gore, which would be a shame, as it is a rip roaring fantasy adventure.
Great stuff from Tom Reinhart!