"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R Martin

06 February 2012

Review: A Dream of Storms; In the Shadow of the Black Sun, Book 1 - William Kenney

I recieved this book as an ARR (author requesting reviews) and I am so glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I urge other fantasy lovers to buy it for your kindle or when it is released in paperback form because it will be well worth it! It is a true fantasy novel, with a great storyline, interesting characters and a believable setting. This novel is the first in a series of books called 'In the Shadow of the Black Sun' written by author/artist/musician William Kenney and click here for his goodreads page or here to be directed to his blog! 

So here's the description of the book given by goodreads: 
The leaves were falling in Elfwhere, but autumn had never come to the land of the Elves. It was a sign. The dark one, Mournenhile had returned, reborn into the world of Kirkaldin. He was thought destroyed twelve years ago during the Battle of the Black Sun.

Hagan Marindel had emerged from that battle a hero. The world sang his praises and showered him with gifts. He had rejected it all, instead returning home and going into a drunken seclusion. He had become a hollow, wretched shell of his former self.
Until now.

The Stone Troll, Gorin, carried out an impossible quest, to retrieve Hagan and return him to Harquinn, where the mages rule. Hagan had sworn an oath, all those years ago, and Gorin would hold him to it.

Reluctantly, Hagan sets out once again for that ancient city and the coming war, pulled back into the life he had vowed to forget. This time, he has his younger, inexperienced brother D'Pharin to protect and a small group of companions: Windenn, the Woodwarden, Vasparian, Wood Elven General from Elfwhere and Shindire, arrogant High Elf from across the Sleeping Sea.

Armies march across the Edge of an unimaginable size, filled with unknown creatures and the vile Pith, determined to destroy their world. The servants of Mournenhile are everywhere, always hunting, searching for the hero of the Black Sun.

Can Hagan become that hero once more, redeeming himself and protecting the land from the coming horde?

Artist and Graphic Novelist William Kenney, turns his powerful imagination to storytelling in his first Fantasy Fiction publication. A vivid rendition of the classic story of the battle between good and evil. Strong characterization and a compelling storyline keep the reader riveted and the pages turning in his first full-length novel, A Dream of Storms, book one of the In the Shadow of the Black Sun series.

And here is my review: 

5/5 - Loved it! Just what I enjoy!

Wow. This book was so not what I was expecting. It was so much better. So much better, that I instantly want a paperback version so that I can re-read it whenever I want. I have given this book five stars because it is simply a great, great read, a book that I personally enjoyed thoroughly. I love fantasy novels and this book contains all the things that I love: adventure, mystery, great characters, a believable world and most of all a damn good story. It is obvious that the author, William Kenney dedicated so much time to this book because every single bit slots into place perfectly; the characters, the world, the storyline, the dialogue etc, all done brilliantly.

The one thing I enjoyed about this book; the originality. It deals with the good versus evil theme but there are some characters introduced who are not all that they seem, and I do enjoy reading about complicated characters. I know that all fantasy novels are similar, as I believe they all draw inspiration from one another but I do enjoy when the author takes time to bring to life new races, new creatures, new types of characters etc. There are elves and there are mentions of the dwarves (which I very much hope to hear more of, please!) but there is also the monstrous creatures of evil – the Pith and their savage lizard mounts; the Inquitis, vile and evil magical creatures, the servants of their malevolent master Mournenhile. My favourite depiction by the author is the characterisation of Gorin, a Stone Troll. In many novels Trolls are described as being wicked, evil creatures mainly used by evil, but not in this book (and I love it). They are the servants of good, and you don’t get a more friendly, loyal Troll than Gorin. He is the epitome of loyalty and friendship evident in his protection over D’pharin and his love and worry for Windenn the Woodwarden. And just because he is made of stone doesn’t mean his heart is; numerous events throughout this novel reflect his humanity, a great technique by the author in my opinion.

I thoroughly enjoyed the evolution of the great, heroic character of Hagan Marindel. At the beginning of the novel we hear of his great deeds and heroic qualities during the Battle of the Black Sun but this is highly contrasted by his status as a reclusive drunkard, who hides away in the hills with only dogs and women as his companions. He is whisked away (well it does take some persuasion) by Gorin at the command of CouncilCrane, to be brought to the city of Harquinn, an obvious dark omen of war in the near future. Throughout the journey he begins to experience a renewal, a rebirth and begins to accept his status as ‘Lord’ Hagan, the saviour of good. I really liked how the author used a simple mercenary man as the prominent protagonist, who has to conquer his inner demons to become the man that he used to be; the valiant hero that he was inevitably born to be. He is loyal and brave and these qualities are constantly shown in his interactions with the other characters.

The authenticity of this book really astounded me. Everything just seemed flawlessly believable, and the dialogue especially added to this. It just seemed to flow effortlessly, the language suited the text and the storyline perfectly, things that I appreciate in a fantasy novel. This is a brilliant effort on the part of the author and I truly believe that this should be read by eager fantasy fans as they will surely enjoy it. I am very glad that I got to read this book, and got to know about it because it was brilliant. A great story that had me sitting on the edge of my seat, worrying over the characters and the ending (what an ending!) has made me very, very eager to read the next novel in this new (and promising!) series, a series that deserves its place on my bookshelf next to my fantasy favourites. 

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